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Sorry, de Encyclopedie (Sorry, The Encyclopedia, 2020) is a satirical dictionairy in which all kinds of sorries are explained, criticized and categorized, to help readers make their way through the apology-jungle that exists in modern society. Examples are the ‘sorry-sorry-sorry’, the ‘turtle-sorry’, the ‘never-too-late-to-sorry-sorry’ and the ‘chunk-of-meat-sorry’.

Sorry: a word that can change lives and a word that can be blurted out unconsciously. Or both at the same time. It can mean the difference between hate and love, the reputation of a president or the length of a prison sentence. Perhaps it is one of the most commonly used words around the world and, at the same time, one of the most mysterious. What does it really mean?

The answer to that question, we don’t know either. All we do know is that there are countless different types of sorries to recognize, if you pay attention close enough. Sorry, The Encyclopedia is a guide to that.
Foreword from ‘Sorry, de Encyclopedie’ - translated from Dutch

A lovely summer day. You’re at a terrace-café with a group of friends enjoying a well-filled glass of wine. Nothing to worry about. Life is good. Until you stand up to go to the bathroom. As you rise, a friend turns around. You accidentally bump into her, emptying her full glass of red wine over her white blouse in the process. Your first reaction: SHIT. “Sorry, sorry, sorry!!!”, is what you blurt out and perhaps an “Oh god, are you okay?!”. The group of friends reacts with shock and the victim, gasping for breath, exclaims that it’s no big deal, but a big bummer of course, because, well, the blouse was brand new and quite expensive. You don’t know what to do and rush to the hostess to get a cloth.

A situation like this is probably recognizable for many people. A situation where you accidentally harm someone, followed by a series of sorries and an attempt to resolve it immediately. You would think that you are ‘just’ saying sorry, but this is a typical ‘Sorry-sorry-sorry’. A very common form of apologizing.

In the apology society, where sorry is said too often in different ways and with different intentions, one can easily get lost. Nevertheless, there are patterns to be recognized by the trained listener in this jungle of sorries. Not only on a personal level, such as the ‘Sorry-sorry-sorry’, but also on a much larger scale, such as by the government or large companies. Sorry is said everywhere and by everyone, there is no avoiding it.

These patterns can be approached in different ways. Sometimes a sorry can be identified by the way the incident is handled, other times the sorry is distinguished by the medium through which the sorry is expressed. Yet other times it is down to certain words that are woven into the sorry. Sometimes the word sorry is not even specifically mentioned, but it is in fact a sorry.

Because sorry is said so frequently and in so many different ways, it is understandable to forget what people really mean when they use the word sorry. After all, every sorry is different; every allusion, wording of words, body language and action that accompanies the sorry makes a sorry unique.

The reason sorry is being said is also indicative of the sorry itself. In doing so, different types of sorry are often applied in the same excuse, or different sorries can be applied in the same situation. One sorry does not exclude the other. So which sorry do you use in which situation? And which one works better than the other? It’s a matter of practice.

So, welcome to this book. Are you sorry for your mismanaged festival, your drunken rant, your meddling in foreign conflicts, your forgotten thank you, your privacy violation, or a statement from the past? Or do you want to practice with your understanding of apologies and saying sorry yourself? This book is your solution. A sorry-summary, an apology-epistle, an regret-resumé, a guilt-synopsis, and a repentance-bible all in one. A humble reference book on the ins and outs of the sorry industry.”

In addition, each sorry is provided with a dead sparrow score, entirely according to the dead sparrow index. This scoring system is used to review how good - or bad - a particular sorry is. The worse the sorry, the more the recipient is made happy with a dead sparrow, and thus the more dead sparrows the sorry is rated.
︎︎︎Dode mussen-index - SETUP
This book was commissioned by SETUP Utrecht and part of their 2020 theme ‘sorry in the tech-industry’. It was presented at the Dutch Design Week 2020.
︎︎︎Sorry, de Encyclopedie - SETUP

AUTHORS Joeri Boelhouwer, Steven de Breet, Saskia de Jong, Juliette Koster, Frank Kroeze, Huig Markus, Sam ten Thij, Ids Timmerije, Jonne Verheij, Pepijn Zuiderveld CONCEPT Jonne Verheij EDITORS Saskia de Jong, Ids Timmerije, Jonne Verheij, Pepijn Zuiderveld GRAPHIC DESIGN Steven de Breet, Frank Kroeze ILLUSTRATORS Juliette Koster, Huig Markus FOREWORD & INTRODUCTION Jonne Verheij, Frank Kroeze COMMISSIONED FOR SETUP Utrecht

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