Too often the media and politicians ask inconsequential questions and confuse listeners into believing that they will produce meaningful answers. Between the hucksters and the intellectually challenged members of our society we almost never get to the crux of issues and struggle instead in the hardscrabble of half-baked ideas and dead-end politics.

During his campaign George W. Bush was asked who his favorite philosopher was and he replied “Jesus” – – a strange answer many of us thought. Still voters and TV pundits pondered at length what was basically a silly question. What if he had replied that his favorite philosopher was Epictetus? Would most people have known who that was and what earthly difference would such an answer have made in any case? Much is still being made of the Katy Couric-Sarah Palin interview in which Couric asked what publications the potential vice president read. It might have been mildly interesting to hear a straightforward response but in the end who really cared what she read or that her answer that she read “all of them” was patently absurd? Meanwhile right wingers strove mightily to depict the interview as some kind of ‘gotcha’ exercise.