I've just been watching a press conference by French prime minister Dominique de Villepin and some of his ministers.
What I saw was a very impressive example of the art of political discourse at its worst. Here's how it goes:
1. A journalist asks a politician a clear and specific question.
2. As the politician answers it, you quickly forget what the question was as you try in vain to figure out the answer. It feels like you're fumbling with a bar of soap. The answer consists mostly of a series of vague, consensual statements with little or no relation to the question.
3. By the time the politician has answered, you're very lucky if you can remember what the question was, and you have no idea what the answer is. However, it looks like the question has been answered properly, mainly because of the politician's convincing tone of voice and body language, and because the journalists seem to think it's okay.
Right now I find this more depressing than amusing.