The Great the/The Debate

For those of you who ever wondered what goes on behind the scenes at our site, here's a small sample of the insanity that we MI.netters go through on a daily basis. Recently, we got the chance to write an annotated song list for the Veronica Mars TV Soundtrack. This is a small snippet of the discussion that occurred on our message board that day.

5:31 pm Inigo: When in the middle of a sentence, should it be The Perishers or the Perishers?

5:32 pm grim squeaker: But their name is The Perishers, not Perishers.

5:34 pm Polter-Cow: I was wondering about that myself. I was all set to uncapitalize the The. I think "the Perishers" looks better and matches up with what I'm used to seeing.

Okay, nevermind. It looks like The White Stripes are capitalized more places than not.

5:37 pm Inigo: I know but we have it two different ways. I also am not sure if there is a rule about it, or more particularly, an exception to it. For example, have a look at the first line here or the review here. For my part, I believe it is correct not to capitalise the "the" (who coincidentally are a great band).

5:40 pm Polter-Cow: Yeah, I don't know. I usually don't even put the The in my filenames, and I don't go around capitalizing mid-sentence The's because it looks funny and unnecessary. I mean, when you talk about the Perishers, you say, "Have you heard the new Perishers song?" Not "the new The Perishers song." And when you say, "Do you like the Perishers?" I don't consider that "the" to be the band's The but your the before your shortening of the name to Perishers.

5:40 pm grim squeaker: changed The Ps to the Ps.

Hey, cool, you were still discussing while I already had done it.

5:43 pm wyk: The press reviews on their website uses "The Perishers" when it comes in the middle of a sentence.

5:45 pm grim squeaker: So, should I change it back?

5:46 pm Inigo: Press releases are designed to emphasize what they are paid to be touting. I think the convention is not to in normal speak and P-C's example - "Have you heard the new Perishers song?" Not "the new The Perishers song." - clinches it for me.

5:48 pm grim squeaker: I concur. Besides, I now can't get that song out of my head, so I'm feeling depressed again.

5:50 pm funky-donut: Dude, the first thing I thought of when reading the the vs The debate was The The.

I loved The The. My dad always insisted on calling them "thuh thee" rather than "thuh thuh."

Why do I always start my posts with "Dude,"

6:10 pm wyk: But the way grim phrases the sentence, "the" is part of the band's name and should be capitalized. If "the" was being used solely as an article then it should be lowercase.

Let's say we treat "the" as solely an article and insert another band name in the sentence.

add a generous dose of melancholy and hopefully get the 46bliss lots of new listeners.

More about the 46bliss, including a really colorful biography, can be found at their main website.

Those sentences don't make sense. The only reason why "the" is in the original blurb is because the group is named "The Perishers," therefore "the" should be "The."

6:16 pm grim squeaker: changed.

6:19 pm Inigo: wyk, if we were putting the band's name in quotes, it would be "The Perishers." But we are not and the convention, I believe, notwithstanding the press release, is to not capitalise. Anybody know if any of the national media have music pages they put online? That might clarify what the norm is. Allmusic.com is the largest music site I know and they don't capitalise "the" in the middle of a sentence, but it is an internet site, and, as we all know, the people who make them don't always know what they are doing.

By the way, your example doesn't work because 46Bliss is the proper name of the band. It would be like you saying... we heard the new the George Michael album and it was...

6:20 pm Polter-Cow: Noooo, change it baaaaack!

wyk, didn't you see this?

And when you say, "Do you like the Perishers?" I don't consider that "the" to be the band's The but your the before your shortening of the name to Perishers.

My rationale is AWESOME.

6:20 pm grim squeaker: *begins to truly hate the Perishers*
*and The Perishers too*

6:22 pm Inigo: Okay. Where would you put

The Perishers

in an alphabetical list?

6:23 pm grim squeaker: Nettwerk, their publisher, puts them at "T".

6:25 pm funky-donut: The Washington Post has a review of a band called "The Rippingtons" in their music section. They say "the Rippingtons" midsentence.

6:27 pm Polter-Cow:

Nettwerk, their publisher, puts them at "T".

Are you kidding?

Also, lookee here, from geniusblonde:

This is the first song by The Format used on the show.

D'oh! But in this case, it kind of has to be The Format, because even though I would shorten the filename to Format, when you talk about them, they have to be The Format, just like you talk about The Bravery. Or maybe I do just call them the Bravery. And the Arcade Fire. And the Fire Theft. Maybe it's only with one-word nouns. Goddamn everything.

6:29 pm Inigo: Whatever we do, we need to do the same for all of them.

I vote the.

6:30 pm grim squeaker: Okay.

Most of us seem to think that it is "the Perishers", right?
So I suggest we go with the majority and try to do it like that with all the entries.

Inigo is faster than me

The is my vote.

6:32 pm funky-donut: "I went to the The The concert."
"I went to the Rolling Stones concert."
"I went to the 46Bliss concert."
"I went to the Perishers concert."

Gah, I can't find a rule. But I don't think it should be capitalized, and "The The" fucks everything all up.

6:32 pm Inigo: This is from Garbl's Editorial Style Manual:

Follow the rules of subject-verb agreement when using the proper names of athletic teams and musical bands or groups: The Beatles were wonderful at the old Seattle Center Coliseum and so were the Rolling Stones. The Who is still terrific.

6:34 pm wyk:

But we are not and the convention, I believe, notwithstanding the press release, is to not capitalise.

Those weren't press releases; they were reviews from other writers. They used The Perishers in the middle on sentences, therefore I assumed that those writers knew the correct grammar rule, but I could be wrong.

6:36 pm grim squeaker: "The" looks better to me, but I'm perfectly willing to take "the". And it's not like I'm a grammar expert, I'm doing this purely by instinct.

6:39 pm funky-donut: I can ask my boss, who was my journalism professor that taught me how to do things newspaper-style, at work tomorrow which is the preferred journalism way. But for now, I vote for "the."

6:43 pm Polter-Cow: download.com has, in its guidelines:

Remember to include the if it is part of the band name ("The Bangs" vs. "Bangs"), but make it searchable without "the" in the Sort by field ("Bangs, The").

If possible, capitalize all the words in the name except articles ("the," "an") and prepositions under three letters ("but," "and"), unless the article or preposition is at the start or end of the name ("Moon Over Miami," "Boogie and the Woogies," "A Minor Forest").

The Chicago Manual of Style has this to say:

Q. For rock fans, such as myself, it is sometimes important to know whether one is to capitalize the "the" preceding a rock group's name. For instance, the group "the Who." In the middle of a sentence, do I say "the Who" or "The Who," given that the "the" is an integral part of the title and furthermore is the first word in the title?

A. When the name of a band requires the definite article, lowercase it in running text:

When I first saw the Who, they had short hair; when I last saw them, that was again true.

I can't believe the Rolling Stones didn't retire with all their money years ago.

The day I was introduced to the The was the day I learned that irony was finished.

It is true that "the" often gets capitalized on album covers, but our rule is to capitalize the first and last word in any title, which fits in with that practice (the The has usually employed a lowercase "the" nested above an uppercase "The" on its covers). Exceptions to the proper the rule are names that are captured within italics or quotation marks within running text. Hence,

Have you ever heard "The Real Me," that song by the Who?

I have three copies of The Soft Parade, one of the Doors' lesser-known albums.

but

Hey! Where did you put my Soft Parade LP?

The very last example illustrates the dropping of the article when it is grammatically subsumed by the rest of the sentence. Now what about that much newer group called tha Eastsidaz—capital Tha Eastsidaz? Probably best. On a final note, future bands may want to choose their names more wisely than did the The and the Who. There's a tendency for search engines to ignore articles and common pronouns.

Looks like it's all "the," all the time. Which is cool by me. Who listens to the Format anyway?

6:49 pm funky-donut: yeah, how would you find "the The" in a search engine? I just tried it on google, in quotes, and got a couple sponsored links hits for music sites, but the rest of the hits were pages that had typos.

I think P-C has the evidence.

6:50 pm marks of love: I say "the," and here's what clinched it for me: freaking *iTunes* is smart enough to sort my music ignoring "the"s, because they're irrelevant.

6:50 pm grim squeaker: I've changed it to "the".

yeah, how would you find "the The" in a search engine?

The, the?

6:52 pm Polter-Cow: We should preserve grim's post and label it The Most Edited Post Ever in the History of Ever.

6:53 pm grim squeaker: We should definitely preserve this discussion.

6:53 pm funky-donut: "The Great the/The Debate of 2005"

6:54 pm Polter-Cow: freaking *iTunes* is smart enough to sort my music ignoring "the"s, because they're irrelevant.

My brother discovered that iTunes sorts Le Tigre by T. Which is really funny.

6:55 pm Inigo: iTunes speaks French. Who knew?

6:56 pm marks of love: My iTunes is apparently not francophone, because Le Tigre is firmly in L.

7:11 pm wyk: Since we settled The Great the/The Debate of 2005, we still need to vote on whether or not to use photos for the songs. I think P-C voted yes, and Inigo voted no.

We should post The Great the/The Debate of 2005 on one of our LJ accounts.

7:21 pm Polter-Cow:

in 1.09 Drinking the Koolaid

1.9, Kool-Aid

Actually, she's asleep and won't be able to make more edits. I'm going to repost them all to make it easier to look over.

No, weird. Okay, the old character pages have 1.1 and shit, as does the schedule, but the Who's Who has it like 1.06 and all that. Goddammit.

7:28 pm wyk:

No, weird. Okay, the old character pages have 1.1 and shit, as does the schedule, but the Who's Who has it like 1.06 and all that. Goddammit.

We need to vote on this too.

-wyk

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