Monday, February 14, 2011

pretentious countries

My day was getting too productive, so I made a list of countries with definite articles in their names. Cause that's such a cool thing for a country to do. I imagine they're having arguments at the UN, and they're like, "Do you know who you're talking to? This is The Gambia!" Don't tell me that doesn't happen. Also, I spent more time explaining my criteria for making the list than making the list. So here it is:

The Bahamas
The Comoros
The Congo
The Gambia
The Netherlands
The Philippines
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
The Sudan
The Union of Myanmar (that's Burma)
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
The United States of America
The Vatican

I got my info from here.

I did not include countries such as "The Demagogic Republic of X", "The X Islands", or "The Xian National Authority", because those "the"s are referring to "Islands", or "Republic", or something other than the countries' own unique names.

For the same reason, countries like "Democratic Republic of the Congo" are included because the "the" does refer to the country's name. There are actually two Congoes, but they only get one spot on the list because, you know, how pretentious can you get?

I wasn't sure about "The Union of Myanmar" because "The Union of..." doesn't sound like a unique title. But it is, according to my source.

Same with "The United States of America". I thought there was a "United States of Mexico", but it turns out it's "United Mexican States". I don't know if that one commonly has a "the" attached, but if I find out it does, I will let it into the list.

"Saint Vincent and the Grenadines" is a borderline case, because "Grenadines" isn't the main name for the whole country. But I gave it the green light because it sounds like a rock band.

Meanwhile, I noticed that Wikipedia has a "weasel words" tag.
The other states section lists 10 states which have de facto sovereignty or independence but are not widely recognised diplomatically[weasel words] by other states.
Just when I thought that site's warnings and self-deprecations couldn't get any worse.

But then I thought this must be the future of writing. Imagine the courage it takes to admit you're using weasel words. Right now, that courage is merely a result of the collaborative process[citation needed][fuck you!] at Wikipedia. But one day, individuals will be free to use all the emotive rhetoric and shaky original research that's so vital to real communication, and it'll be okay because they'll have warning labels. Articles will be judged by their honesty, not their pull quotes.

I'm always looking for the next big direction the moral zeitgeist will take, and think honesty is that direction. In the age of information and uploaded brains and stuff, the integrity of information will be the highest of virtues. Speaking of which, stop calling it "human trafficing", idiots! It's slavery.

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