print logo

Articles by Robert McHenry

The Truth, Probably Sunday, August 31, 2014
We will never attain certainty about our concerns, but with care and luck we approach it by increments. Above all, we learn to be skeptical of grand visions ...
Lost, in Theory Thursday, May 1, 2014
A new book holds that full and faithful translation from one language to another is not possible, hence World Literature cannot be.
Books vs. Literature Tuesday, January 21, 2014
Publishers and postmodernism are contributing to the death of the humanities.
‘Because’ Is the New ‘Whatever’ Tuesday, December 10, 2013
The emergence of a new grammatical entity signifies an elision not of words but of the orderly thought that is the precondition of orderly expression. We see a ...
The Words, They Are A-Changing Thursday, August 1, 2013
What is the role of the humble dictionary in an era when word usage changes by the hour?
A Dream Delayed: Man’s Mission to Mars Friday, March 15, 2013
NASA has decided that private enterprise will have to take on the job of reaching Mars. A new generation of space-minded tycoons is ready for the mission. We ...
Sweat and Honor Friday, January 25, 2013
Is a genuine sports hero possible in our fallen but oh-so-very-knowing times?
Death Panels, Revisited Friday, December 7, 2012
When it comes to doling out medical care, especially life-preserving care, we all begin to get a little squeamish. No one wants to be the one who says no. We ...
Reflections of a Casual Fan Wednesday, November 21, 2012
I have but one love in sports and it is an unfortunate one. I love Northwestern football.
On the Origins of Bunk Saturday, August 25, 2012
As Representative Todd Akin’s recent statement shows, we all don’t know lots of things. But no matter how much we don’t know, saying ‘I don’t know’ is never ...
‘Despair, Destitution, and Undiluted Evil’ Friday, May 18, 2012
What a difference a century makes in the portrayal of country folk.
Science vs. PR Friday, May 11, 2012
How a piece of journeyman work is turned into patently junk science.
Rule Britannica Friday, March 16, 2012
Encyclopædia Britannica has decided to stop printing the paper version—a move that's been in the works for over two decades.
The Problem with Bambi-nomics Friday, January 27, 2012
On Mitt Romney, Bain Capital, and modern political discourse.
Bringing Mr. Smith to Washington Saturday, September 24, 2011
As a nation we insist on maintaining a fiction that any citizen is qualified to legislate.
Et in Arcade Ego Friday, March 25, 2011
Could video games develop some skills that can solve real-world problems? Probably not.
Culture and Its Discontents Friday, November 5, 2010
Matthew Arnold understood that culture is a permanent invitation to all to stand upon the shoulders of giants who have gone before.
The Creedalists Thursday, March 25, 2010
Like the poor, we seem always to have with us those who insist upon their own views. They are never less than certain. And, knowing, they feel ...
A Man and His Plan Wednesday, December 30, 2009
You have probably never heard of Francis Everett Townsend, but his enormous and controversial legacy is with us today.
The Death of the Cool Friday, November 20, 2009
Cool was once associated with reticence, savoir-faire, and irony, none of which is much practiced or regarded these days.
Marx, Hubbard, and the Totalitarian Impulse Thursday, August 20, 2009
An overweening philosopher and a scam artist. What brings them together in an intelligible category? Each man proposed, without embarrassment, a total ...
Lincoln and Inaugurations Past and Present Friday, January 16, 2009
It is part of our common inherited good fortune to be of one of those ages to which Lincoln belongs.
About That Message to Garcia... Wednesday, November 26, 2008
A signature American homily offers lessons on initiative, loyalty, hard work, and enterprise.
When an Epoch Began Wednesday, October 15, 2008
How IBM, the census, and Emily Dickinson define an epoch.
What’s in a Name? Tuesday, July 22, 2008
A declaration of identity was once a declaration of responsibility. What does that mean in an age of mass anonymity?