In a brilliant attempt to confirm the vague suspicions of much of the country that the Deep South remains a hotbed of retrograde racist sentiment, GOP activist and ex-chair of South Carolina's elections commission, Rusty DePass, recently joked on Facebook that an escaped gorilla from the local zoo must be an ancestor of FLOTUS Michelle Obama. 

When confronted, DePass responded with a non-apology even more pathetic than most: "I am as sorry as I can be if I offended anyone. The comment was clearly in jest."

Well d'uh. Of course it was "in jest." No one thinks DePass actually believes the gorilla to be a relative of the First Lady. I'm sure even the Obamas recognize the crack as a joke--and a thuddingly racist one at that.

In my repressive society, all apologies of the goodness-me-I-never-dreamed-anyone-would-be-so-delicate-as-to-be-offended-by-my-grosteque-behavior variety would be punishable by hard labor. Those that failed to make a lick of sense would call for something considerably more medieval.

--Michelle Cottle