Elevated Discourse

A: That pundit you like is a fascist.

B: What?! How can you buy into that kind of alarmist rhetoric?

A: Look, here’s a video from a lecture he gave:

Pundit: I would literally round these people up and put them in camps.

B: Ugh, I saw that went viral among his critics. But you can’t take something like that out of context. See this slightly longer clip:

Pundit: I’m going to tell a joke right now. I hate minorities. I would literally round these people up and put them in camps. That was the joke.

A: Who is taking things out of context now? See this just slightly longer than that clip:

Pundit: You can get away with saying anything, even if you literally believe it, if you just preface it by saying it’s a joke. Here’s an example of something I literally believe, but will pretend is a joke. I’m going to tell a joke right now. I hate minorities. I would literally round these people up and put them in camps. That was the joke. See how that is a great way to send coded messages in public for people who share your beliefs?

B: That’s still misleading. See this slightly—

A: Oh, enough already!

B: You’re right. We should just watch the whole lecture and see how it seems then.

A: But it’s two hours long…

B: Ugh, who has the time. And anyway, would the lecture by itself really suffice? We’d have to take into consideration his other works to really get where he’s coming from.

A: But what about the vile background his ideas come from?

B: I think you mean the reaction to the vile ideas, which is what he’s a part of.

A: Let’s just agree not to talk about it until we’ve at least watched the whole lecture.

B: I can’t agree to that, but I can agree to pretend to agree to that.

A: Good enough.

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