I’m sorry about sorry; I can see that in a recent post I used it twice, within a few lines of each other. I do think it is a fit description of a lot of what we see around us and I must say, for example, that New Gingrich’s late public airing of his own dirty linen (phew!) is one of the sorriest spectacles in the whole sorry extravaganza.
I plead not guilty to evil: I find I’ve used it only a couple of times lately, once quoting somebody else, and once with clear (if heavy handed) irony. In fact, I am not nuts about “evil;” a word which seems in general to have lost too much of its bite—probably has something to do with “Evil Empire,” and perhaps “Evel Knievel,” and the general overuse of the term in popular media (search Amazon for a DVD’s with “Evil” in the title, you get 327 hits).
Indeed, I’d rather like to give wickedness a try. Mary Midgley did a nice job of tryinig to rehabilitate this somewhat antique term:
We have somehow to understand, without accepting, what goes on in the hearts of the wicked. And since human hearts are not made in factories, but grow, this means taking seriously the natural emotional constitution which people are born with, as well as their social conditions. If we confine out attention to outside causes, we are led to think of wickedness as a set of peculiar behaviour-patterns belonging only to people with a distinctive history, people wearing, as it were, black hats like those which identify the villains in cowboy films. But that is fantasy.
--Mary Midgley, Wickedness: A Philosophical Essay 7 (1987)