Do we take our own words seriously?

Conor Friedersdorf, writing about the rhetoric of Palin & Co., gets at what I think I was trying to get at the other day.

They’re in a tough spot these days partly because it’s impossible for them to mount the defense of their rhetoric that is true: “I am a frivolous person, and I don’t choose my words based on their meaning. Rather, I behave like the worst caricature of a politician. If you think my rhetoric logically implies that people should behave violently, you’re mistaken – neither my audience nor my peers in the conservative movement are engaged in a logical enterprise, and it’s unfair of you to imply that people take what I say so seriously that I can be blamed for a real world event. Don’t you see that this is all a big game? This is how politics works. Stop pretending you’re not in on the joke.”

Though the specifics and subjects are different, that sense of “humour” feels familiar. Read those last three sentences and consider how often they could be applied as a post script to what’s said here.

More from Chris Selley, Heather MacDonald, Matt Taibbi, and Keith Olbermann.