Even Howard Stern Seems More Capable of Sincere Remorse Than Romney
There's an article in the New York Times today about Howard Stern, who's cut back on his radio shock-jockery (he's no longer on radio five days a week) and is now a judge on America's Got Talent. To Bill Carter of the Times, Stern said this about dialing down the nastiness:
"It would be really pathetic if I was still in the same space as when I was 20 or 30, when I felt threatened by everyone, and there was no room for anyone else on the radio," he said. "I've come to appreciate other people's talents."
That would include competitors Mr. Stern once eviscerated. "I've actually apologized to some people I was a real jerk to, because I feel ashamed," he said. "I didn't need to be that hungry. There was something going on inside me when I was angry and feeling very threatened and not feeling good about myself."
Is Stern being self-serving, as he shifts gears in his career? I'm sure he is to some extent. But he at least seems to have grasped that people were hurt by things he said. It seems quite possible that he's got sincere regrets. He doesn't just say, as Mitt Romney did when asked about teenage bullying, that he did "stupid things," some of which may have been hurtful or offensive (who can possibly remember?) Stern says flat out that he was a jerk. Stern says that it was unhealthy for him to have been that much of a jerk.
I've never been a Stern fan -- he and I may have happened to agree about a few things, and I've always thought he has serious skills as a comic and broadcaster, but in his heyday I found him far too sexist, homophobic, and racist. (Stern on Rodney King: "He should be beaten every time he reaches for his car keys.") But he comes off here as more of a grown-up, more of a human, than Mitt Romney.
Also see Tommy Christopher on the difference between Barack Obama's feelings about a ten-year-old girl he shoved and Romney's feelings about John Lauber.