Today in traditional media nonsense, Vice President Kamala Harris emphasized the word “the” to make a point, and it is NEWS.
No, I’m not kidding.
This must be a parody, right? Right?? https://t.co/Ie3nLy2Db7
— Anand Giridharadas @ The.Ink (@AnandWrites) November 12, 2021
It is not a parody. Jennifer Jacobs is a senior White House reporter for Bloomberg News. She is tweeting about how the vice president of the United States pronounced one of the most common words in the English language.
It is true that some people, including Sean Hannity, did attack Harris for supposedly using a fake French accent on another stop of her trip to France. That was false—she said “THE plan,” for emphasis—and did not bear repeating and validating outside of right-wing circles. Jacobs might maybe possibly claim that what she’s doing here is showing that Harris employs that usage of “the” regularly. Instead, Jacobs elevated partisan attacks and rather than explicitly discrediting them, turned them into an inspection of Harris’ pronunciation more generally. It’s a kind of scrutiny that somehow keeps getting disproportionately applied to women and people of color. So mysterious.
And Jennifer Jacobs made herself absolutely a part of that pattern. She might not have come up with the line of attack, but she treated it as worthy of repetition and consideration.
What Harris was doing will be familiar to anyone who has ever watched NFL player intros. THE Ohio State University, anyone?
This is a fake French accent:
That is … not what Harris was doing, not even a little bit, not even at all. Using a long E for emphasis in “the” is both entirely normal and not what anyone would do to sound French, at least if they’d ever heard French spoken.
But by repeating the bad-faith attacks of people dedicated to tearing down a Democratic vice president—who is, very importantly, the first woman to be vice president and the first Black vice president and the first Asian vice president—Jacobs, a prominent reporter for an ostensibly neutral news organization, suggested that not only were the attacks legitimate news, but that Harris’ speech patterns did bear watching for any hints that there might be some kind of pattern. It’s all too telling about how the media operates.
Jacobs was rightly ratioed and roasted:
Tell me you're trying to distract from the policy victories of the Biden Admin without telling me.
If you want to write a process piece, contrast the Biden Administration's approach - work with allies to formulate a substantive proposal, work to pass it- with the Trump approach https://t.co/6B69iCZLml
— Ned Staebler (@NedStaebler) November 12, 2021
Enunciating articles while Black https://t.co/a0She5ddji
— THEE California Dem™️ (@DudeMoonbeam) November 12, 2021
I'm sorry what is the observation here? American English speakers routinely insert "thee" when trying to emphasize a specific point, whether its climate change, a restaurant order, or the midwestern research university where they played football. https://t.co/hpRowRXY0b
— Benjamin Freed (@brfreed) November 12, 2021
Did a schwa write this tweet? https://t.co/6CVpaBwJWu
— My Own Private NaNoWriMo (@wampusreynolds) November 12, 2021
This is so, so funny to me
a) Imagine emphasizing “the” but still pronouncing it “thu.” Do it out loud
b) ah yes the French accent, wherein the definite article has a long E sound, as in “Lee Monde” and “Lee Tour Eiffel” https://t.co/qaayvuScPw
— Jess Zimmerman (@j_zimms) November 12, 2021
megan thee stallion is a subset of critical theory that began with immanuel kant in the 1790s. it was a response to—and rejection of—the principles of the enlightenment and the age of reason upon which the american republic was founded. https://t.co/UWQfFpNOL9
— Adam Serwer 🍝 (@AdamSerwer) November 12, 2021
“Some critics,” in my view, should:
a) know that “thé” in French is pronounced “tay” — as in “whew, Tay just dissed the bejesus out of Jake Gyllenhaal”;
b) be told “nique tes mères” — in which “tes” is also pronounced “tay.” https://t.co/pBh2hWR5si
— Greg Greene (@ggreeneva) November 12, 2021
Republished with permission from Daily Kos.