Familiar with this line? It was a song originally written in 1964. It became part of the popular vernacular when rapper Silkk the Shocker made it a hip-hop hit in 1998. The song even made it to the country music scene, done by The Brothers Osborne.
I bring it up now because I think it really fits as a description of an issue in modern culture. I call it the Ain’t My Fault Syndrome. People have always devised ways to divert attention away from themselves when they make mistakes. It seems to have exploded in the past 20-30 years. The McDonald’s coffee case seemed to lead the way. Now, a lot of myths have spread about the case. Google it if you haven’t heard the full story. The old lady actually wasn’t driving, and the coffee really was hot enough to create 3rd-degree burns. She was entitled to compensation for her medical expenses. But thanks to the instant news world we now live in, a small portion of the story mushroomed into its own story, and people saw actual gain in blame-shifting. The real story shows some major blame-shifting also, as McDonald’s claimed no responsibility for serving coffee hot enough to put 3rd-degree burns on its customers. Our society has become a “sue first, ask questions later” society, and now we have products that are designed more for preventing lawsuits than the function intended. Toys are designed less about teaching or entertaining children and more about preventing lawsuits from rotten parents who don’t want to parent their kids – give them this toy and if they hurt themselves, just sue the toy manufacturer.
How about that Super Bowl in New Orleans in February 2014? The Ravens were destroying the 49ers, then early in the 3rd quarter, half the lights in the Superdome went out. The game was stopped. Within 5 minutes, every company that is responsible for producing even 1 kilowatt of electricity in the state of Louisiana had put out a statement that “we are not responsible for the outage at the Super Bowl.” Hey, ya think you might want to wait until the cause is discovered before you start shirking responsibility?
This past week, we saw 2 NFL head coaches blame-shift to explain their teams’ poor performances. After being dismantled by Denver, Cowboys coach Jason Garrett called out Zeke Elliott for lack of effort and blamed offensive inefficiencies on QB Dak Prescott. After getting whipped at home by Detroit, Giants coach Bob McAdoo blamed the offensive woes on QB Eli Manning. Yeah, I’m sure the only reason you lost was because the players botched your perfect coaching, and that poor coaching had nothing to do with the final score. What, did these guys take cues from Bruce Arians or something?
(For anyone who isn’t aware, Cardinals coach Bruce Arians believes he is the greatest coach that ever walked the Earth. Don’t believe it? Just ask him. He regularly raves about how awesome he is. It wouldn’t be so irritating if he had ever won anything as a head coach. Which he hasn’t.)
Regardless of political ideology, surely everyone recognizes how completely pathetic Hillary Clinton looks right now, having endlessly bloviated for 8 solid months about how she should be in the White House, and everyone in the world is to blame except herself. Her new book has provided show material for every standup comedian in America for years to come. It doesn’t matter if you hate the person who won – and I understand if you do – this “it ain’t my fault” book and tour is sad and annoying.
I’m not sure what to say to women, but to the guys, I can say, MAN UP. If you make a mistake, own it, and correct it. Let’s get away from a default response of “It Ain’t My Fault.”