It starts in the morning with the automated announcer at the train station: 'We are sorry to announce the 8:45 train from Windsor and Eton Riverside will be five minutes late. We are sorry for the delay this will cause to your journey.' Followed a minute later by: 'We are sorry to announce the 8:45 train from Windsor and Eton Riverside will be seven minutes late. We are sorry for the delay this will cause to your journey.' The voice just doesn't sound sorry. At all.
When I was a boy I was always taught saying sorry meant never doing it again. Now it means the exact opposite – do whatever you like, apologise afterwards, then do it again, if you want (and apologise again). As both the BBC and The Daily Mail have recently pointed out, since Elton John sang Sorry Seems to be the Hardest Word in 1976, sorry nowadays seems to be the easiest word. (Word meanings are so relative: you can literally see my post about the word literally right here.)
Everyone's at it, not just automated train announcers. Recent celebrities, politicians (who, from Nixon to Clinton and onwards, have a fine linage of saying sorry) and sports personalities apologising include Justin Bieber, John Galliano, Charlie Sheen, Mel Gibson, Tiger Woods, Kristen Stewart, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Gary Lineker, John Terry, Steve Bruce, Liam Fox, Bryan Ferry, Ryan Bertrand and of course, Lance Armstrong.
Having to apologise can of course be for a multitude of sins, including lying, cheating, stealing, beating your partner or having an affair, but the biggest sin seems to be being found out. Without the getting caught, the apology wouldn't be needed.
A (usually forced) apology at a hastily arranged press conference or celeb magazine interview will more than do the job but many celebrities use social media such as Twitter and Facebook, where an insincere apology can be expressed in a matter of seconds. Apologies are so frequent in the media nowadays as to become meaningless. A recent study showed that the public only forgives celebrities and politicians their indiscretions if they say sorry with sincerity and without being forced to (actually doing the wrong deed in the first place didn't seem to prove a problem; we all make mistakes I guess).
But forced or not forced apologies, I don't know, people just seem to lack the courage of their convictions nowadays. Ok, you beat your wife/had an affair with a maid/made a racist remark/embezzled billions. You did it cos you wanted to, idiot. You may as well be proud of it. Get a backbone.