Below is a quote from DeLeon’s piece. I hadn’t heard “bold, brazen article” since it was used to describe me in high school by my English teacher Sister Marie Therese.
“You bold, brazen article! Yes, I am. For you younger SLCA members, a “bold, brazen article” is what the nuns used to call any schoolboy who had the temerity to challenge authority. It was a typical nun insult: specific, obscure, and freighted with delicious meaning known only to nuns.
I finally figured it out as an adult. “Bold, brazen article” is the equivalent of an ethnic joke about parts of speech. As we know from diagramming sentences, there are nouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs. And the low man on the grammatical totem pole is the article: a, an, or the. So to be a bold, brazen article is to be The An Who Would Be King.
I cherish Catholic school memories like that one. It’s our secret handshake. It’s the difference between a Catholic and a public. And in Philadelphia, when I was growing up, that difference was your identity.”