Apologies ain’t what they used to be. In the olden days, when we walked a hundred miles in the snow with no shoes to get to school, when you said sorry you were supposed to apologise to the person you offended and you were supposed to mean it.
These days, public figures say sorry IF anyone was offended. They’re not sorry they offended anyone. “Sorry if anyone was offended” is like saying “I’m sure no one was offended, but if some sooky la-la gets their knickers in a knot then I’m sorry they can’t hack it”.
Today’s “new apology” is from New Zealand’s PM, John Key, who made a dumb joke about cannibalism:
“It was a lighthearted joke, a bit of self-deprecating humour,” he said.
“But if anyone is offended, then I deeply apologise.”
It’s a subtle difference, but an important one.