November 21, 2006 · Lessig
I love examples where ontology is necessarily trumped by epistemology. The Richards case is one of those.
On Letterman, Richards says he’s not a racist. Is that possibly true?
Well sure. He’s a brilliant stream of consciousness comic. That requires constantly putting your head into the heads of the audience, and tweaking it. He blows his top, and then begins to watch himself and the scene through the eyes of the audience. He sees them see him and his targets — two African Americans. He then gives voice to what at least some in the audience are likely — he believes — to believe: all the racist stuff. And then he sees that no one would see him as expressing anything except his own ideas, and he’s trapped. He shuts down, and leaves the stage.
All possibly true. But totally impossible to credit. Even if true, no way for us to know it’s true. Look for examples like this. There are millions.