A friend of my said, in the course of a conversation of a political nature, that, since politics is in its current state with the strength of extreme characterizations of partisan positions, providing ample fodder for humorists, Colbert is successful; and he would not be as successful if this were not the case.
My first thought was this was a tautological (petitio principii, begging the question, or circulus in probando, circular reasoning) because it sounded like he was saying, “Colbert is successful in the current circumstances that allow him to be funny, but under different circumstances, he would not be successful.” The circle would happen by unconsciously accepting the assumption that the requirement for his success is due to the extremes in political positions, actions, statements, etc. If there were not extremes, which create comedic fodder, Colbert would not be “successful.”
But I wasn’t sure, so I peppered him with an opening salvo of queries. The exercise was to try pealing back the layers of assumption for some sort of insight into why he would make such a statement and reveal what he was “really saying.”
Note: when I say “humor”, I mean humor, comedy, and satire; by humorist, I mean humorist, comedian, and satirist.