by Joe Buonfiglio
Defined in grammar as the “definite article,” it is deployed before a noun when the speaker or writer believes that the listener or reader already knows to what he or she is referring:
THE kinky whip-n-chains playset with bonus nipple-clamps.
(Sorry. Just rented 50 Shades of Grey on Netflix.)
Anyway, to my point, “the” is the wonderful little team player of the English language; willing to bring up the rear of any noun. (THE rear. See how I did that?)
However, it hasn’t always been sunshine and roses for our old friend THE. There were dark times, too; hopeless, wicked, lost times.
THE drug addiction.
And dare I say it? That evil association with THE Nazis.
These were terrible, shameful, loathsome times in a shadowy chapter of the language arts.
For example, how will people remember the 2016 presidential primaries and dear little “the”?
In 2016, the world is less concerned with all the good little “the” can do. Instead, we are drawn into the controversy surrounding the’s seedier side; the dark truth that makes “a” and “an” grateful to be mere indefinite articles.
2016 was the year that a certain rat-haired presidential candidate was saying so many — so fucking many — outrageous statements on the campaign trail, the news media and blogosphere alike were able to dig up a quote by said rodent-maned mogul on an Albany, NY talk-radio show before he formally announced that he had decided not to pursue the Republican nomination for the 2012 presidential election. And while only one of many heinous and reprehensible statements made by this indisputable narcissist, “I have a great relationship with the blacks. I’ve always had a great relationship with the blacks” is probably right up there on the Appalling Hit Parade.
What … THE … fuck?!
Is THE a willing accomplice to this not-so subtle evidence of racist tendencies? Is it just passively complicit by way of its own apathy?
Sure, we’ve taken our friend “The” for granted for far too long. We assume he’ll always be there when we need him, because … well … he is. This is exactly why it is this author’s sincere hope, overwhelming desire and linguistic need that THE not be found wanton in this nasty business that reared its ugly head during our great nation’s electoral exhibition, our demonstration of democracy; that THE is sincere in its efforts to overcome “this” hurdle, “this” humiliation, by “this” utterly disgraceful bit of unpleasantness….
… Which is why THIS is taking over for a while. Perhaps THE will be able to get THE relief it deserves as the rest of English takes on the idiosyncratic blathering of THIS billionaire butt-plug….
… of whom from this point on we will refer to as just THE butt-plug.
Who knows? Maybe redemption will be found in the pages of a gently crafted children’s book; Donny THE Butt-Plug has picture-book title written all over it.
© 2016 Joseph P. Buonfiglio All Rights Reserved.