Be the definite article

Staying at my friend’s house for some reason means spending far too much time in front of the massively large high definition TV they have there.  Why?  I have no idea.  I don’t even like TV, and I curmudgeonly bitch about whatever is on.  Still, it beats YouTube.
But I’ve been subject to a particularly irritating commercial for the new (failure of a) Batman game.
The commercial itself is fine – a rather ordinary commercial as far as these things go.  At best I have a problem with two lines, one spoken and the other written.
I can’t find the video online, although I’m not trying terribly hard.
Anyway, the lines are ‘This is how the Batman dies’ and ‘Be the Batman’, and the problem distills to the two words repeated in each line; ‘The Batman’.  This pisses me off, about as much as people who refer to ‘the Ukraine’, except that example is both politically and grammatically wrong.  Equally egregious are the people who refer to ‘the reddit’.
I don’t understand how people can fuck up the articles so much.  Its pretty simple; you use the definite article for all count nouns – that is nouns for things that you can count.  Proper nouns, such as Batman, Ukraine, and Reddit, are not a subset of count nouns. Part of the qualification to be a proper noun is that it is unique, and thus uncountable.  There is no point in counting what there is only one of.  
But what does that have to do with articles?  We sue articles do distinguish common things from each other.  We say things like “The man who kicked the ball” to distinguish ‘the man’ in question from all the other, non ball-kicking men.  Similarly ‘A man kicked the ball’  tells us that one man did the action, though it isn’t important which man it was.
Which brings us back to Batman.  There is no need to distinguish him from any of the other Batmen out there, because there is only one Batman.  If there were a multitude of other Batmen in the same place, then maybe we would have a reason to use articles; “The batman to the left is taller than than one on the right”
I take these things to seriously.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s