The group had been reading my book American Music in the 20th Century, and he had each person prepare a question, the questions all asked in turn without being immediately answered; after which discussion could proceed with all the questions in mind.
I agree with Kyle that this sounds like a great way to structure an appearance by a guest scholar. It forces (or rather guides) the lecturer to relate the questions to each other and to answer them as a whole. The questions Kyle got led him to think about our current situation, which can be described as "music under corporatism":
We used to think the state was the government, but it's now become obvious that the state, in the U.S. at least, is the corporations that own and control the government, and the state's only interest, musically speaking, is in providing mass distribution to the music that can make the most exorbitant short-term profit, and squelching any musical outlet that threatens to pose competition to that profit.
I think this is a spot-on and very creative response. Corporatism dominates public life in the United States these days, and its effect on the arts is far from salutary. I don't have much to add to Kyle's analysis, I really just wanted to make sure you didn't miss it.
If I were to quibble, I would only object to the use of "populist" and "elitist" in this:
An elitist and a populist would certainly choose different paths through the socio-musical pinball machine, and there's little reason one might not be as successful as the other.
I know what he means, or rather what he means to mean, but I think it's a little sloppy, but not enough so as to undercut his very important argument.