Coke vs. Pepsi. Who else thinks that this battle has gotten worn out? It’s no longer about which tastes better. They hire rival pop singers to advertise and we end up buying whichever brand we find has the least offensive mascot. Here at school, it’s not like we even have a choice – Pepsi products seem to have been missing from PepsiCo. Plaza since 2002. No, the real battle here is no longer that of which carbonated beverage to buy, but what to call them. And you’ve probably heard a conversation about this topic at least once while sitting in the lounge with your new college buddies freshman year. “Pop? You misguided fool, it’s soda!”Ah yes, the infamous pop vs. soda debate. It’s one of UR’s finest, yet least highlighted, rivalries. I’m sure that we all have, at one point or another in our stay here, had a lengthy debate over whether our Dr. Pepper was a pop or a soda. And, because I can find no record to state otherwise, I will assume that full fistfights have broken out over a measly can of carbonated beverage. But why? Why is there such a controversy over what we call our 7-Up? Why does it matter so much that some of us are willing to spend nearly an hour of our lives debating the fact that pop and soda cannot peacefully coexist?Forget Israel and Palestine. This is the real fight, ladies and gentleman.Now, it all started back in 1798 when the term “soda water” was coined. Soda enjoyed its reign at the top for over 60 years, during which time the “soda fountain” was patented in 1819 by Samuel Fahnestock. Bottled soda began to appear on shelves in 1835 and everyone was happy with soda glee. And then, it began.The term “pop” was introduced onto the market in 1861. Shortly thereafter, there was a boom in the carbonated beverage market. Within 22 years Root Beer, Coca-Cola, Dr. Pepper and Pepsi-Cola were all on the market. Perhaps it was this boom in beverages at the same time as “pop” began being used which caused the controversy. Suddenly, you had a competition between pop and soda brewing. However, there is one other competitor that seems to be lacking attention in this debate. The usage of the term “coke” to describe carbonated beverage to northerners means the type of carbonated beverage that is produced by Coca-Cola. In the south, the term “coke” can be used just as one would use “soda” or “pop.” It’s not uncommon to be at a diner in the heart of Georgia and have the waitress ask you, “What kind of coke do you want?”Here at UR, most students say soda. Many are indifferent about the usage of the word, but some are adamant in their stance against pop. “[Soda’s] a much more universal term,” senior Mike Schweitzer said. Junior Teresa Cruz insisted, “I didn’t know it was called pop until I got here.” The “pop” people here are few and far between. They also seem to be much less vocal about the issue. “I like pop because it sounds happy,”senior Dan Hepworth said, “and carbonated beverages make me happy,” Although when the question was posed many students got into a heated debate over which was the better word, many of the pop users didn’t care much. “I feel it’s a waste of people’s efforts to get upset when I say ‘pop,'” Hepworth said.An odd occurrence happened with a few students when they came to school here. Mike Sweeney, a junior, used the term pop his whole life. “And then, at one point during freshman year, I started calling it soda, and now pop just sounds weird.”So why do people care so much whether or not their beverage has the correct name? Is it really that important?Professor Joyce McDonough of the linguistics department explained the situation. “Language is so close to who we are and how we identify ourselves. [the soda and pop debate] shows how the speech community identifies themselves by these terms.” So, it turns out it’s all about community. We identify with language as part of our culture and the usage of certain words is how we identify ourselves. When people impose other words on us, it’s like asking us to wear pink tutus when we’ve never done ballet – it’s unnatural and feels silly.As for McDonough, I asked her whether she uses soda or pop. “Neither,” she said. “It’s called tonic.”One look at http://www.popvssoda.com will show you the results of this debate. In the United States alone, soda is victorious over pop with a little over 2,000 more votes for soda from a total of approximately 128,000. However, if you include Canada, pop reigns over with 3000 votes more from a cumulative total of approximately 140,000 votes. Maybe the whole world could just get along if we would just all agree to disagree.



Gaza solidarity encampment: Live updates

The Campus Times is live tracking the Gaza solidarity encampment on Wilson Quad and the administrative response to it. Read our updates here.

UR Baseball beats Hamilton and RIT

Yellowjackets baseball beat Hamilton College on Tuesday and RIT on Friday to the scores of 11–4 and 7–4, respectively.

Time unfortunately still a circle

Ever since the invention of the wheel, humanity’s been blessed with one terrible curse: the realization that all things are, in fact, cyclical.