This is an age in which people can screw up on a large scale, then issue an apology through their press agent and quickly fade back into neutral in the eyes of the public. A simple "I'm sorry" lets them slip out of our minds, and even though we may not necessarily forgive them, their apology allows us to stop caring and move on. For some of those people, sure: continue to live your life of assholeary. But there are others whose apologies we shouldn't accept -- people whose sorries aren't good enough. We should generally be forgiving of our fellow humans, but not when it comes to ...
#4. The Guy Who Invented Pop-Up Ads
Back in 1995, a man almost ruined the Internet before it became the wonder it is today. He was attempting to do something nice, but his creation went nuts, took over the world, and made visiting a common website in the early, Wild West days of the Internet a truly terrifying prospect. That man is Ethan Zuckerman, and he recently apologized for creating pop-up ads.
And by "creating," I mean he spilled the contents of an ad executive's head onto the Internet.
In a lengthy article in The Atlantic about the state of modern Internet advertising, Zuckerman outed himself as the man responsible for making sure that every website is basically a digital landmine that explodes with ads for dick-expanding drugs from the moment you land on it.
Advertising is intensely pervasive, yet there was a time when it could be ignored. So what did you do, Zuckerman? You created a form of advertising that abandons the placid, mostly ignorable ubiquity of traditional advertising and replaces it with commercials that explode onto eyeballs like poorly aimed cumshots. Your grand advertising scheme was to take the thing we all already thought was annoying and ram it into our heads like a demented older brother trying to touch a sibling with a finger covered in snot.
Difference is, you can't tell mom why all the pop-ups have boobs and vaginas.
There was once a time when trying to close a single pop-up would spawn even more pop-ups. Attempting to close those would open more, and so on, until the computer became paralyzed by an onslaught of advertising. We had to hack away at pop-up after pop-up like we were traversing a jungle thick with foliage to reach a lost city. But there was no lost city at the end, just our email account, or some run-of-the-mill porn. Your creation made the simple, intuitive nature of the Internet a massive, obnoxious chore. For that, you can blow your sorries out of your ass.
#3. J.J. Abrams and His Lens Flares
J.J. Abrams' reboot of Star Trek was damn good. He took a franchise that had meandered into irrelevance and injected it with much needed excitement and fun. He made Star Trek interesting again, and not just with strong characters and a twisty, nonstop plot. He made the series visually interesting, which it almost never was. Before, the camera setups in a Star Trek episode or movie were about as dynamic as the camera work on an amateur sex tape. There was never any artistry attempted. Everything was stiff and lifeless, devoid of color and creativity. Before Abrams, Star Trek was a rice cake for your eyes.
Forty years of cinematography summed up with one shitty snack.
Yet, a lot of people walked out of that really fun, exciting movie unable to do anything but complain about lens flare. Ultimately, that's a good thing: Abrams made such a good movie that the biggest problem most viewers had is that the lights did a stretchy thing across the screen. That's a complaint most could live with ... other than Abrams, who apologized for the lens flares.
J.J., we shouldn't accept that apology because you shouldn't have apologized to begin with. Do you realize what's at the core of all the complaints about lens flare? What these people are really saying is, "I get distracted by lights. You know, like a baby or a cat." These are people who are admitting, in a roundabout way, that their attention spans can be obliterated by shiny things. They're telling you that if you were to find yourself in a torturous conversation with them, you could jingle your keys and throw them a few feet away and they'd chase them down, giving you the opportunity to get the hell out of there.
Admit it: you stared at this picture for seven minutes.
But all things in moderation, of course. Later in that same interview where you apologized for the lens flares, you said that in Star Trek Into Darkness there was a scene so loaded with lens flares your own wife couldn't understand what was happening. You had Industrial Light & Magic digitally remove some of them, which is a level of computer wizardry I can't comprehend. If someone as close as your wife is telling you to rein it in a little, listen and accept that maybe you've gone too far. But you don't have to apologize to random Internet people who drop what they're doing and frantically grab at a wall every time a passing car inadvertently reflects light into their home.