Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Roberta Speaks to You of ‘The Inequality”

Lend your ear. “The Roberta” has something to say.

To start with it amazes me how we beat away at the pendulum of racial bias, social injustice, political incorrectness, etc. and seems the more we beat it, the farther out of whack it becomes.

We push it and push it away from the bad, towards the perceived good, never mindful that it can be pushed too far the other way. And then, in the end, there is no balance, no sensible sway, and it is way out of perpendicular.

But one thing about it, it has left us all with a truly refined understanding of social injustice and discrimination. No one can deny that. The media daily reviews and renews our understanding of inequality and injustice. And the schools incorporate this mind-set into students whether the discussion be centered around communication, living skills, history, or anti-bullying.

Should be good, should be well. Should make all of society the best it can be -- should it not?

But now, there is a new style of discriminatory address, nomenclature, that I feel compelled to discuss. Saw it on television two days in a row. So, seems to me, it is catching on fast.

First it was Donald Trump. In case you are unaware, Donald Trump is no longer Donald Trump. He is now “The Donald”. And furthermore, Oprah is no longer Oprah, she is “The Oprah”.

And so, why should it matter? I’ll tell you why it matters. It creates a status, a bias, a separation, an inequality of these people with the rest of us. Maybe not in a negative way for them, but in a negative way for the rest of us. Why? Because “The”, (simple word that it is) means very distinct, unlike any other.

The distinctiveness of ‘the’ speaks of a uniqueness unequalled. Even titles of “Queen”, “President”, and “Duchess” are less powerful or separating, because there are more than one of them. They belong to a group, a rather large group if the history of the world is taken into account.

But with “the”, there is no group, no fraternity, brotherhood, or even clan. “The” specifies something completely unique. Simple example would be if I direct your attention to ‘the pen’ I hold in my hand, ‘the’ signifies no other though there may be many pens equal and alike in every respect.


Now I don’t know Donald Trump well enough to know if he could ever get it. His forte, according to him, is being able to spot a beautiful woman and “inappropriate” speaks to him of a sexual act rather than anything else. With that kind of restrictive thinking, I don’t think he would get it.

But Oprah? That is a whole different story. She has heart and spirit and human understanding, and I am truly disappointed in her if she can’t see that this kind of thing speaks of discrimination and inequality of persons. I would have thought she’d have no part of it.

And that’s ‘The Roberta’s’ spiel for today.


joared said...

I surely do agree with you about "The's" misappropriation sometimes signifying undeserved unique importance when preceding certain people's name.

Could "The" before a name also
suggest a very negative inference is implied?

In which case, both speaker and listener would have to carefully attend to tone of voice, inflection and other non-verbal language features to determine whether "The" person named was being revered or ridiculed.

How are those subtle differences conveyed in written words, other than by coming right out and directly stating the intent?

Just a thought for The Roberta! (Infer revered here.) :-)

Roberta S said...

Addressing "The Joared" with all good humor and delight...I thank you for these thoughts. There is a strange enigma here because in thinking about this I've realized that although living things are more endeared when preceded by 'the', at the same time inanimate objects become less appreciated. i.e. When Hub drops the 'the' and says to me, 'Car is running nicely', I certainly hear more appreciation for his car then when he simply says 'the car is running nicely'. Yet when 'the' precedes a persons name, quite the reverse is true if there is no sneer or ridicule in the voice.
This reverse meaning/connotation, quite surprises me.