Thursday, 24 May 2012

Conrad Black and the DON’T BLAME ME syndrome

Conrad Black is unrepentant and unbowed. After all, the mess that landed him in prison wasn’t his fault. “I was shafted,” he told the CBC. (

Terry Jones was likewise unrepentant and unbowed. The Koran-burning pastor was saddened by the violent protests his actions sparked in Afghanistan last year, but he was not to blame. Someone had to “stir the pot,” he said. ( )

Ditto Idi Amin. He couldn’t help himself. He had too many enemies. I just “ate them before they ate me,” he explained. (

Pinochet almost forgot himself and apologized for his actions, but pulled back at the last moment: “[God] will pardon me if I committed excesses, but I didn’t think I did.” – Whew that was close! (

The DON’T BLAME ME syndrome isn’t new, but in the sixties people blamed their mothers. That was the default mode then, the preferred way people (or their psychologists) accounted for crimes, misdemeanors, and shortcomings. Okay, maybe it wasn’t entirely the fault of my mother, they said. Maybe the rest of my family was guilty too, not to forget my teachers. One thing is for sure: it’s not my fault that I turned out the way I did. My brain was warped by the environment and Mrs. Crammer who crushed my soul in Grade One.

The net of culprits has widened considerably in the last decade or so. Consider the case of the patient whose shrink started snoring while she was on the couch, baring her soul, and it wasn’t the first time he nodded off. She wrote to an advice column ( Should she confront her shrink? He was billing her for those naps after all. No, no! Do not wake him, tape him, confront or blame him. Work it through. “He will want to explore how this has affected [your] relationship… he will need to seek strategies to stay awake and may enlist you to tell him when he nods off.” My question is: can the patient bill the shrink for her therapeutic work? The advice column didn’t say.

DON’T BLAME ME has become a cultural meme. If you are overweight, would eating less help? No,no!  What’s needed is “a change of the environment”, sidewalks, for example, to make the overweight more comfortable. No, I’m not making it up. Check it out ("Weight Stigma Hard to Oversome," The Globe & Mail, 14 May). But perhaps there are medical reasons for a person’s obesity, which require medical treatment? No, we need to change the “messaging”: fewer ads for calorie-dense foods, a ban on sugary drinks in schools. It’s the fault of our surroundings that we aren’t perfect. Society gives us too many choices.

Poor Bristol Palin! She knows what’s the right choice. She’s all in favour of the nuclear family. “Kids do better growing up in a mother/father home,” she says in her blog ( Is it her fault that she couldn’t provide that blissful setting for her child? No, no. Blame alcohol and Levi Johnston. Bristol wasn’t the victim of date drug rape. She just got royally pissed and blacked out, and Levi took advantage of the situation. So it wasn’t her fault. Was Levi drunk, too, by any chance? Oh, then it wasn’t his fault either. I would call it immaculate conception if the theologians weren’t hogging that term.

What’s your favourite “Don’t blame me” story?

If you like my stuff, you'll like

1 comment:

  1. Funny stories. And so true.
    I hate the ones I hear from countrymen/women in Austria (more from the past generations), saying 'Hitler? well, it's not our fault. We didn't even know about it.'

    And on an everyday level, you get a small version of this in every country today. For instance, when you complain in a gym, or shop, say, about the loud mysogynist music they are playing: 'I am not responsible for it...'

    Give me a break...................