Loren, I was going to flame you, but I seem to have misplaced my flamethrower tonight...
Those aren't unreasonable questions at all. The problem is that the dirtier the filter gets, the more it restricts airflow. Unrestricted airflow was the reason you buy the thing to begin with and why it has whatever benefits it's alleged to have.
Eventually though, the oil just kind of dries up and it doesn't filter nearly as well as with the tiny amount of oil on the filter medium. I think the filter on my Excursion uses some huge amount of oil like 1.8oz per cleaning.