Internet Questions That Confuse the Internet

8 min read
Pineapple Pizza

What’s up with humans? We fly into a rage when anyone disagrees with us about anything. But now we do the bulk of our rage-venting through the internet. This means fewer stabbed faces, but also untold human energy wasted on millions of words of total nonsense. Such as…

“Does Pineapple Belong On Pizza?”

Since Sam Panopoulos invented Hawaiian pizza in the 1960s, the validity of pineapple as a pizza topping has been a hotly-contested topic. Some insist that it’s enjoyable, while others are correct.

For something as subjective as taste, nothing stops people from obsessing over the question. The debate might have peaked when the president of Iceland was asked his thoughts on pineapple pizza, and said that if he had his way, he would ban it. The world promptly flipped its lid. Time had to specifically clarify that the guy was joking, because some people worried that a president might actually outlaw a pizza topping. The Washington Post happily threw fuel on the fire:
Picture1 1Other celebrities took sides. Jimmy Kimmel and Gordon Ramsay are rabidly anti-pineapple, while Justin Bieber and Paris Hilton like it. Yeah, you see the kind of company you’re keeping, Pineapple People.

“Is It Pronounced ‘GIF’ or ‘JIF’?”

Up until 2013, “GIF” was a nigh-exclusively online word which we all knew but rarely heard spoken aloud. We said it however we wanted, more worried about the shame of admitting that we used the internet than about the proper pronunciation. But according to the term’s inventor, there always was a correct way to pronounce “GIF.” Steve Wilhite used his Webby lifetime achievement award speech to formally state that it’s pronounced “JIF.”

The people who had always pronounced it that way probably shrugged and thought “Yeah, that’s what I’ve always said.” The rest of the world took the news like God Himself had come down from heaven and said, “It’s pronounced ‘Gesus Christ.'” Nobody was noncommittal. Even Barack Obama said his official presidential stance was “Hard G all the way.”

YouTube has thousands of videos debating it. There are entire websites analyzing it. You could lose an entire day trying to pull apart the Reddit thread alone. A common argument in favor of the hard G is that the first letter stands for graphics, not jraphics. Pretty solid reasoning. But here’s one of the many comments out there defending the creator-approved “JIF” pronunciation:

SCUBA stands for “Self-Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus.” You do not pronounce the U in SCUBA the same as the U in Underwater. LASER stands for “Light Amplification By Stimulated Emission of Radiation.” You don’t pronounce the A in LASER like you pronounce the A in Amplification, nor the S as you do in Stimulated, nor do you pronounce the E the same as in Emission.

The creator said it was pronounced like the peanut butter! The majority of people who read the acronym clearly thought it was pronounced as a hard G, or else they wouldn’t have needed correcting. Based on what the creator has been quoted saying on the topic, it sounds like the only reason he wanted it pronounced like the peanut butter was so that they could make jokes about it being like the peanut butter. Hilarious stuff. He was (is?) a programmer, not a linguist.

This argument has its own Know Your Meme page. The comment section is filled with people arguing about the pronunciation, using the exact same arguments listed on the page itself. My solution? Pronounce it like you pronounce the abbreviation for the Central Intelligence Agency – it’s G.I.F.

“Is Holding The Door Sexist?”

Hold The Door

Holding a door open for the next person seems like common courtesy, but it’s being insanely over-analyzed. The Huffington Post proclaims that 14 feet is the official distance that necessitates keeping a door open, while researchers at Penn State wasted time determining that the likelihood of holding a door increases the closer the follower is to the door. But the real question: Is holding a door open for a woman sexist?

The Huffington Post (they are super concerned about this) ran a piece on gender inequality in the workplace. It’s a very real issue that warrants concern, but the piece veered toward absurdity when it claimed that a man holding a door for a woman is a false symbol of gallantry that empowers inequality. Slate’s spin on the subject couldn’t resist throwing in a crack about women damaging their nail polish if they open their own doors, but women chimed in on the comment section to clarify things:

Men holding the door open for women has nothing to do with manners. It’s a power thing. A true gentleman would respect my wish not to have the door opened if I can open the damn thing myself. How does that not make sense?

People should hold doors for other people, regardless of sex or gender. The main problem with the practice is the Nice Guys (TM) who think they deserve some sort of sexual favor for observing a simple courtesy. This is Not Nice.

Always keen to knock down even the lowest bar, Nice Guys jumped in with fedoras spinning:

The study I do every day is whether or not the persons the door is held open for or given way to in our local High Street say thank you or ignore the courtesy. The survey, like the courtesy costs nothing but I believe contributes a lot. But more often the costless thank you is not made. Mainly mothers with pushchairs. I fear for their next generation.

In The Telegraph, an author explains why he no longer goes out of his way to let women go first. He says he doesn’t want to add to his daughter’s sense of vanity and conceitedness, which society is apparently imposing on her through the whole “ladies first” thing. But here comes the trusty comment section to make everything worse again:

I stopped offering my seat on the Tube when I was humiliated by the lady (?) who loudly informed me that pregnancy was not an illness and that I clearly needed the seat more than she did…….I’m sure I am not the only person who has had the offer refused and who has been left standing and feeling rather foolish

Clearly, we would be better off removing all doors entirely and converting to some sort of flap system. It has to be better than talking to any of these people.

“Should A Shirt Be Buttoned Top-To-Bottom Or Bottom-To-Top?”

Buttonup Shirt

How do you button your dress shirts: top-to-bottom or bottom-to-top? You probably had to think about that for a minute, since this is one of those things that nobody really cares about, unless they’re the heir to a mining conglomerate or something. The rest of us working-class folks simply start jamming buttons into holes until our shameful torsos are hidden from polite society.

But then along came the internet, and now everybody has to choose a side in this war. Pittsburgh Penguins forward Nick Bonino was shocked when he found out that some of his teammates button their shirts differently than he does. So he did the natural thing and took to Twitter to try to get to the bottom of the issue:

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He even arranged a vote, only to be further pretzel-twisted when some maniacs said they start buttoning their shirts from the middle.

As Twitter reeled from the shocking revelation that people sometimes do basic things differently, internet idiots were already firing up the hot-take machines. A writer for The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette fanned the flames by not only arguing for top-to-bottom, but also stating that he’d never heard of anyone who did it Bonino’s way. He even went the extra mile and grilled a random clothing store employee for his opinion. The guy was mainly baffled at the question. John Feitelberg of Barstool Sports saw Nick Bonino’s tweet and was filled with ruthless anger at those “top-to-bottom assholes.”

Nick never led me to believe he was an insane person… Today I learned he’s a crazy man with even less knowledge than hair follicles. Because, you see, Nick buttons his shirts top to bottom and, frankly, that’s certifiable. I can’t even fathom how that’s done. You know how women button shirts from the opposite side? I bet they go top to bottom too. Yeah, I just called Nick and all you other maniacs a girl, what are you gonna do about it?

It should be noted that Bonino is on the same side as Feitelberg. Feitelberg completely misread Bonino’s Tweet, and the steaming, white-hot rage that consumed him prevented simple reading comprehension.

“Do You Call It ‘Soda’ Or ‘Pop’?”

Soda Can

The “soda or pop” debate is pretty heated, and a lot of people are taking part. There’s even a webpage where you can enter your zip code and the word you prefer, and it displays the results on a map:

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Ignoring the Southerners who use “Coke” as their moniker of choice for all carbonated beverages (perhaps all fluids in general) “soda” and “pop” are mostly evenly matched. The former dominates the coasts, while the latter presides over the Midwest. Here’s a pro-pop person mixing some historical explanation with good old-fashioned name-calling:

Historically, the correct term is “phosphate,” which was defined by soda jerks as being a flavored syrup mixed with carbonated water. Sodas were what we today call floats. Therefore Soda is clearly WRONG and pop is more acceptable as a shortening of phosphate.

Soda lovers are just as passionate, and even more insulting:

Pop. is this word used to describe soda because of the carbonation or the noise it makes when the can is opened? i asked someone in Indiana once why she called it “pop” and that was her answer. well that’s just plain retarded. i don’t call a cat “meow”. i don’t call a baby “waaa.” As i look at my soda on my desk now.. it says plain as day on the can “A&W Cream Soda”. if the company that is producing the product has labeled it as soda, then my friends … it is (TM) and ready to go as soda. just accept it you northern hicks and toothless southern rednecks, pop is what you call “yer daddy”. soda is what you call your beverage. [sic everything]

This comment thread illustrates how frequently the pro-soda side claims that “pop” is an onomatopoetic term that comes from the sound the bottle makes when it’s opened. This makes it a stupid word, and you a stupid person for using it.

The pop camp counters by pointing out that “soda” doesn’t have anything to do with soft drinks, and means soda water. Their weapons of choice are historical terminology and, shockingly, calling the other side stupid:

People can name something whatever they want. SODA refers originally to SODA-WATER anyway chump. “Dumb-people” called soft drinks thereafter SODA which is inaccurate at best. SODA-POP or POP-SODA would be better and Soft Drink or Carbonated non-alcoholic beverage the most accurate.

So there you have it, we’re all idiots who should be saying “carbonated non-alcoholic beverage” instead. Or “CNAB,” for short. We like it. It’s catchy. So crack open a refreshing CNAB, folks. We’re done here.