I was taken out of context


The line “I was taken out of context” is one of the more annoying lines I’ve ever heard. The reason that it’s so annoying is that it’s a get out of jail free card for those who issue it. When Janet Napolitano claimed that during the Christmas Terrorist incident “the system worked.” She later claimed that she was taken out of context. She then detailed for the American public the manner in which it should’ve been handled. In the deleted emails scandal East Anglia’s former Climate Research Unit Director Phil Jones claimed that his emails were taken out of context. The thing I don’t understand is why no one asks these people to put their statements back into context. It could be done in a non-combative manner too. The interviewer could say something like: “I understand that is the position now, based on the aftermath of your first quote, but I think we would all appreciate it if you could frame your original quote in such a manner that it is in proper context.” Of course, the subject would not fall for that, and they would fall back on the crutch that their handlers gave them. I would then say: “Listen, I’m as tired as you are of people misquoting me. It’s happened to the best of us, so was this quote taken out of context, or did you misspeak?”

Any psychologist worth a grain of salt will tell you that that which originally comes out of your mouth has more to do with a truth than anything that follows. Either you have no idea what you’re talking about, you accidentally let slip that which you really believe, or you haven’t been provided enough time to fashion a thorough, quality (see advised) answer that covers all the bases. We could do away with all of this, if we just asked people to put their quotes in context.

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