National Endowment for the Arts Chairman Rocco Landesman begins the inevitable backpedaling:
As for Julius Caesar? I made a deliberately outlandish remark, with the delicious (for me, anyway) twist that the last thing people think of with Julius Caesar is that he was a writer. I enjoyed the conceit and never imagined that it would be taken literally. If I have to edit every remark I make because someone somewhere might misunderstand, I’m going to become very dull very fast.
As Ace wrote a couple of years ago, “Lefties want a free reign to speak in absurdities, but also want us to go along with their calling verbal mulligans when their absurdities become punchlines.” The botched joke defense really is the get of jail free card for aging hipsters everywhere, isn’t it?