In political discourse and personal conversations, speakers often turn to jokes and other forms of indirect speech as a way to preserve ’plausible deniability’ about what they meant. Interlocutors typically let them get away with such evasions, even when the speaker’s intended meaning is palpably obvious to all parties. I distinguish several species of willfully manipulative speech; diagnose some common factors that help explain their rhetorical effectiveness; and suggest some ways in which resistant audiences can fight back.
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Jowett Society Organising Committee: Sophie Nagler | Jowett Society Website