Why is this apology so clever?

I am not a good reader. So I need your help in understanding why this newspaper apology is clever. (Of course, I have changed all the names.)

A local newspaper printed an apology that read something like:

"We stated that Mona and Patricia were ‘the envy of their classmates’ when they arrived for their school prom.

“However, Mrs. John Doe says that her daughter Julie was not ‘envious.’ We are happy to set the record straight and apologize for any embarrassment it may have caused.”

Someone who read this correction opines: “On reflection, Mrs. [Doe] may wish she had not complained. I imagine her face reddening as she reads that po-faced correction in the knowledge that fellow parents are reading it too.”

My question: Why should Mrs. Doe be embarrassed?

I need your help, for I am a very innocent soul who does not understand clever insults.

Thank you,


P.S. I must give credit to that someone who opined: He is a journalist named Mr. Greenslade.

I’m not sure that I’d call the apology ‘clever’

Explanation removed. It was incorrect.

Hi James,
From where I am, Mr. Greenslade’s worries about Mrs. Doe’s possible embarrassment look not-so significant a matter.
Anyhow, my guess she’s a kind of broken ranks with the others saying her Julie was not ‘envious’ (= didn’t admire Mona and Patricia—possibly role models/cheerleaders–that much as the others). She (Julia) acted a bit of snobbish and Mona’s and Patricia’s parents could count both Julia and her mother arrogant persons (to the best of my knowledge, Americans hate arrogance in relations.)

Having read Bev’s comments, I consider the apology really “po-faced”. Perhaps Mrs Doe could be twice embarassed (1–“the envy of”, 2–she’s jumped the gun…)

Hi Eugene,

Regarding message #3 and your ‘jump the gun’ comment, I realise now that I misread the original situation. I thought Mrs Doe was Mona’s mother.
Sorry, James. My answer above would mislead anyone, so I have removed it.

The ‘clever apology’ seems quite lame.

Thank you, Beeesneees and Eugene, VERY much.

Yes, Eugene, maybe Mrs. Doe is embarrassed because now Mona’s and Patricia’s parents know that Julia (and her mother) did not think very highly of their daughters’ dresses (?).

By the way, Eugene, the apology, which appeared in a small British newspaper, was mentioned in London’s famous Guardian newspaper. (I purposely changed “apologise” to “apologize.”)

Thanks again, Beeesneees and Eugene.

From innocent and naive little James, who is pure as the driven snow.

I wonder if calling the girls the toast of the class would’ve removed any misunderstanding and possible embarrassment.

Perhaps just, “My Julia is still young enough to do with toastes.”

That would have been very confusing.