Indulge me, please, for just a moment in the expression of a pet peeve. How I dislike the affectation of the journalistic explainers or their editors, who with increasing frequency offer in their headlines to tell me why this or that is the case or how that or this came to be. There is a charmless, school-masterish self-importance about the formula that would be annoying even if the promised explanations were all accurate and demonstrable, but it is almost always the case that the more insistent the whys and hows the less likely they are to explain anything but some thinly disguised opinion or conjecture of the author. Moreover, many of them fall into the category of what James Taranto of the Wall Street Journal’s “Best of the Web Today” column calls “Answers to Questions Nobody Is Asking.” Such, for instance, was the Journal’s own headline:...


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