The coerciveness of the process is transparent when someone rebels, as Sheen did. But it is more insidious and layered when someone like Lance Armstrong complies. His ambivalent, semi-deferent apology exposes the paradox of the public confession. The accusation, inquisition, confession, and pardon must be grave enough to raise and satisfy our demand for retribution, but vacuous enough to remain a ritualistic ethical performance. The sin must be offensive enough to call for real punishment – and not some measly admission – while the confession must be vapid enough to prevent critical resistance. Hence the symbolic process is perverse: it must be heavy enough to coerce but light enough to entertain.
-“Sorry Not Sorry”, by Elliott Prasse-Freeman and Sayres Rudy

The coerciveness of the process is transparent when someone rebels, as Sheen did. But it is more insidious and layered when someone like Lance Armstrong complies. His ambivalent, semi-deferent apology exposes the paradox of the public confession. The accusation, inquisition, confession, and pardon must be grave enough to raise and satisfy our demand for retribution, but vacuous enough to remain a ritualistic ethical performance. The sin must be offensive enough to call for real punishment – and not some measly admission – while the confession must be vapid enough to prevent critical resistance. Hence the symbolic process is perverse: it must be heavy enough to coerce but light enough to entertain.

-“Sorry Not Sorry”, by Elliott Prasse-Freeman and Sayres Rudy

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