With something like three thousand years of philosopy in print of which all cannot be considered great, how has life survived. I did like the term "mental masturbation", because that is what it is but comedy is the same, in its own profane way. Television and reading fiction are no different.
Maybe I view Plato, not in the terms of a great mind whose wisdom and tale, changed the way we think but as the man who convinced us we could think for ourselves once we knew how. Plato is not the man who orated, "The Republic". Plato is the person who in your life convinces you to challenge yourself. A good friend can convince you to face the fear of heights by BASE jumping. Just like a rafter, kyacker who shoots the rapids. He does not necessarily pick the easiest path, rather that which will challenge the most. The rocks, the rips and maelstroms are the dangers they face and also the challenge.
I often struggled in class, not because I couldn't understand the topic but that I simply reduce themes into a layman's rhetoric. It is a funny look on the face of a learned reader, when I could reduce Plato to a doped up petrol head in an analogy.