we still remember mitch hedberg

A severed foot is the ultimate stocking stuffer.

Oct 30th 2003

the great pop vs. soda controversy

today, when i should’ve been writing a philosophy paper, i stumbled across this thing:


Since the earliest research into the the English Language as spoken in North America was begun by Noah Webster in the early 18th century, the regional variations in dialect have always been the most challenging and difficult to explain field. Since the development of carbonated beverage in 1886, one of linguistic geography’s most important and least investigated phenomena has been the sharp regional divisions in the use of the terms “pop” and “soda.”

this is something my displaced college friends (notably melissa) and i have been searching for long and hard: statistical evidence of regional differences in soft drink terminology. visit the official web site to participate in the one-question survey. at the site there is another, more useful map:

This research uses CGI scripts written in Perl to gather and process the incoming data, and displays the results on [a map like this] using a Java applet.

i just went and submitted myself to the survey. as a kentuckian, i was forced to admit that when faced with the choices “pop”, “soda”, “coke”, and “other”, i am most comfortable with the word “coke.”

the ugly truth has come out after all these years.

afterthought: perhaps we can use this data to show us the most culturally polarized areas of the country, or maybe predict where lines will be drawn for a future civil war. if the latter becomes us, we may need to look no further than the turbulent intersection of NW new mexico, NW texas, and SE colorado. [view]


there, you will notice, staunch pop, soda, and coke enthusiasts (respectively) are lined up in neighboring counties like rabid dogs separated by a precarious idealogical fence.

the same thing is happening in southwestern alaska with the “soda”, “coke”, and “other” lobbies. [view] i can hear the words of warning as if they were spoken yesterday…”an alaska divided against itself cannot stand!” and “a group of three podunk counties in the middle of nowhere divided against each other CAN. NOT. STAND!”

things are NOT looking good, people.

mark my words: prepare for the worst.

the writing is ON THE WALL.

One Response to “the great pop vs. soda controversy”

  1. This is funny because just two days ago I was at Smith’s searching desperately for something. Smith’s was recently rearranged so I couldn’t find this item for the life of me. I was reading every sign haning above each isle, one read “chips, bear, cold pop.” I stared at it in bewilderment and it finally came to me, it should have read “chips, beer, cold soda.” I had a little laugh to myself and was, at that moment, glad that I am from Californa and don’t call it “pop.” What kind of a word is that anyway?