Honor is Satisfied

A reader asked what I meant when I said, that as a matter of formality, Irene Gallo’s pro forma and possibly insincere apology for her pro-forma and possibly insincere insult satisfied my sense of honor.

It is difficult for me to explain something that is second nature to me, which is alien to the modern world at every point. In the military, the soldier is obligated to salute the uniform wore by officers of higher rank, not the man wearing it, and the man wearing it is obligated to behave as the uniform requires. The salute satisfies the formality.

If an apology is offered me, and I do not accept it, I am the one violating protocol. A gentleman, rather than fight a duel, will accept an apology for anything less than a blow.

An apology satisfies the demand for apology; if the person proffer it did so with deceptive intent, God Almighty, who sees and knows the hearts of the sinners, will punish the falsehood with penalties nightmarish, vehement, absolute, and infinite, that my heart quails to contemplate them. I cannot burn a disembodied soul in hell forever, and neither can I read minds and hearts. Hence, I am not in a position judge the sincerity of an apology, nor do I have the least desire to do so.

Honor is an external thing, a matter of form. If the form is satisfied, honor is satisfied. Refusing an apology on the grounds of its insincerity is a privilege reserved to women.

In the case of Irene Gallo, I do not need any further words from her, nor does she owe me anything more. I look forward to working with whomever Mr Doherty hires to replace her.

The honor of my readers, who were also equally or perhaps more gravely insulted, however, is theirs to look to.

I have heard that some of my readers are stacking up all their Tor books, photographing them, and sending the photo to the Tor and Macmillan management with a politely worded note mentioning how welcome the lady’s resignation will be when it comes.

I, for one, will regret the event, since a woman of such superlative skill will be hard to replace, but I am confident that Mr Doherty will not insist on keeping her at her tasks in the face of her own shame and regret.

How could she, in good conscience, design a book cover for authors she has so bitterly, absurdly and erratically libeled, and proffer it to book buyers for whom she equally has shone such scorn and mind-destroying hate? It would be cruel of Mr Doherty to insist on Irene Gallo continuing to labor under such adverse and unhappy conditions.