Some of the questioners were deliberately abusing their opportunity. That’s bad manners and an erosion of the civility that is needed for worthwhile public debate. But a good many of the questioners simply didn’t know how to ask a question. They were caught in the fog between wanting to communicate something that seemed to them urgent to declare and the need to ask.

Why has asking become so hard?

For surely we have all seen this. Events open to public response these days are swamped with people who don’t know how to ask questions. College campuses present some of the worst spectacles of faux-questioning prolixity and inconsequence. In principle, students and faculty members should have long since mastered the art or know enough not to display their incompetence. But no, they seem more and more possessed with a demon of self-expression that has recklessly discarded restraint.


garyb: While reading this I'm reminded of the utterly awful BBC television programme Question Time. The audience have the opportunity to question a panel of politicians, journalists and other public figures. This splendid opportunity is consistently wasted on statements instead. I'd like this article to be made required reading for such audiences in future.

posted by lessismore: 2354 days ago