September 27, 2010


I spent Sunday afternoon at the SkyDome with some of my favourite people from the Internet. No, not porn stars. My Twitter family. We watched, and some of us drank Bud Light Lime, as the Toronto Blue Jays laid another beating on the Baltimore Orioles. Thanks, Baltimore. This summer was truly a pleasure.

I can't remember how the discussion began. That's not to say I'm surprised it came up; we're from the Internet, after all. (Be sure to let us know how cool we are in the comments.) Anyway, here it is: what is the proper pronunciation of "GIF"?

I've been calling it "jif" since I learned to speak the majestic English language. "Gif," pronounced "jif," was actually my first word. Crazy, I know. And I'm right. I'm also, it seems, in the minority. To the Internet, nerds.

From the creators of the GIF graphics file format, CompuServe, back in 1987:

"The GIF (Graphics Interchange Format), pronounced 'JIF', was designed by CompuServe and the official specification released in June of 1987."

From Bob Berry, the author of CompuServe's CompuShow, in an email:

"GIF has always been pronounced "jif", since it was first released in 1987."

Oh, hell, it's even on Wikipedia. And when has Wikipedia ever been wrong? Never, that's when.

"According to Steve Wilhite, the creator of the GIF format, the original pronunciation deliberately echoes the American peanut butter brand, Jif ..."

"Jif." Like the damn peanut butter. Deliberately. And, look, I get that language evolves, that the Oxford Dictionary deems both pronunciations correct, and that perhaps more people pronounce it "gif," like "gift." But that only means more people are wrong. The Internet has spoken, nerds.

Much love to the Twitter fam. Sunday's festivities -- baseball, beer, and the finer workings of the Internet -- were a blast, and make the soon-to-be-over Blue Jays season that much more depressing. Thanks, guys and gals. Was a riot. 

On your way out, please do show some love to Baltimore. Even though they're a classless bunch who throw at Jose Bautista. Twice! Nothing like a 61-94 team sending a message on a Sunday afternoon in late September, eh? Pathetic. Anyway: Toronto's 15-3 record versus the OrioLOLes is a big reason why the Jays will finish above .500 -- they're on pace to better my 82-80 prediction!!!1 -- in Cito's swan song. And that's exactly how The Manager should go out: a winner.


Meredith said...


God, I love winning.

Navin Vaswani (@eyebleaf) said...

Me too.

William Tasker - Caribou, ME said...

I have to admit that I've always said "gif" like gift but you make a compelling case and I shall mend my ways.

And there is no love here for Baltimore. I like Buck but have never liked the team. In fact I've hated them because of Jim Palmer's arrogant face.

Oh, and as per your request: You are the coolest baseball writer on the internet. Which brings up another question, oh great one: Should we still be capitalizing, "Internet"?

On The Fence Sports said...

jiffy pop?

Navin Vaswani (@eyebleaf) said...

@ William: Convert!!!1 Awesome. You know, I should be more upset about Baltimore's antics yesterday afternoon. But I can't be bothered. Good luck getting out of the goddamned AL East basement. As for the capitalization of Internet, if The New York Times does it, I have to, mate.

@ On The Fence: Exactly.

sarah said...

Ridiculous! I'm never giving it up. I think yesterday was the first time I've ever said it aloud though. But now I'm going to do it ALL THE TIME and it's always going to be with the hard 'g'. Those fuck-ups just say it's pronounced like the peanut butter to mess with people.

Fuck Compuserve, fuck Wikipedia, love you guys.

Tao of Stieb said...

Given this stupid pronunciation, I refuse to ever look at a "JIF" again. Animated or otherwise.

(Unless its author calls it a "GIF". Which I can get behind.)

Thanks again to all for a splendid afternoon, and for forcing me against my will to keep drinking and miss my scheduled transport back home.

(Side note: If you're sitting on a Greyhound bus, looking around to see who the drunkest dude is, and you can't figure it out, it might well be you. And do you really want to be that guy?)

The Ack said...

If I have to read about this amazing time on one more blog, I might just.... I dunno. Something.

I demand a meeting if I can ever make it to T.O. without my rabble-rousing prairie crew. It'll totally be worth it for all of you. That is, if you would enjoy watching a game with a cross between Alan Ashby and the Dos Equis dude.

Ian - BJH said...


You wouldn't say gay-peg, it's jay-peg, therefore it's giihf not jiif. We will never ever let this one day. I am a total nerd!

Navin Vaswani (@eyebleaf) said...

@ Sarah: I am firmly entrenched on the "jif" side. Plus, "jif" sounds better, don't you think? Ah, good times.

@ Tao: You can't quit gifs, and you know it! Dude, pleasure to meet you, finally. Watching you make that phone call was awesome. I knew, deep down, that you weren't getting on that 6 PM bus. And, no, you definitely don't want to be the drunkest dude on the Greyhound. Definitely not.

@ The Ack: Dude, if you come to Toronto and don't let us know ... well, that'd be the end, mate. And I've still got your newspaper!

@ Ian: Thanks again for buying the tickets, friend. And it's amazing how split the gif/jif debate was. Wait a second, it's not "gay-peg"?

MeredithTO said...

Navin, I know I wasn’t there but as a regular reader I think I’ll weight in anyway. The .gif pronouncer debate has been raging in the illustrator/graphic artist world for a long time and in your own words "I get that language evolves, that the Oxford Dictionary deems both pronunciations correct, and that perhaps more people pronounce it "gif," like "gift.” What this means is that NOBODY is wrong, that both pronunciations are correct and everybody wins yo! I know in baseball there is never a tie, but in this case there is.

Navin Vaswani (@eyebleaf) said...

Shouldn't the tiebreaker go to Steve Wilhite, the creator of the GIF format, who says it's "jif"? Tie goes to Steve.

sarah said...

No, fuck off! Tiebreaker goes to me!

Inigo Montoya said...

You all are all eencorrect. Eet's pronounced HEEF.

p.s. You keel my father, prepare to die.

Chris said...

I thought it was pronounced June-el...

Anonymous said...

You are wrong about others being wrong. Happy Monday.

Concerned Reader

Navin Vaswani (@eyebleaf) said...

@ Sarah: Tiebreaker goes to Steve!!!1 Sorry.

@ Inigo: "Heef" is better than strong g'd GIF.

@ Chris: This we can agree on. Love Yu.

@ Anon: Fuck Mondays.

kidkawartha said...

Jeez, Montoya gets cut from the Coyotes, and the next thing you know, he's commenting on here. Gotta love the Internets.

looshV said...

I just have to say that I'm pleasantly surprised that VW has remained LOW on the Hatred Advisory System I think all year. Kudos Vernon you'll never be worth 22 million dollars....or whatever it is; but in saying that, no man is. Three cheers for VW, he had a great year and I am all the happier Jays fan for it. JBau has taken the production heat off of him and allowed him to relax.

Much love for my Jays

Archi said...

For so, so, so many reasons, the .gif controversy is my favourite meme of all time.

It was too much fun on Sunday, we need to make things like that happen more often.


Navin Vaswani (@eyebleaf) said...

@ kidk: It's about time Montoya showed up around here.

@ looshV: Vernon's had, statistically, the third-finest season of his career. No, not worth the money, and never will be, and the Jays are saddled with his contract. But all we can ask and hope for is that he carries his weight, and he did that this season. It's been a great year, all around. Except for Hill and Lind.

@ Archi: Sunday's festivities have me feeling all the more depressed that come next Monday, the Jays won't have any more games to play. Going to be a long, cold, and dark winter, mate.

bkblades said...

Don't be too depressed - Leafs are back!

Swimming with delight as the night darkens faster than before, just so we can tune into Sportscentre and get our fill of 4th line news of the wonderful blue & white.

MeredithTO said...

Actually, tiebreaker goes to the people and the people say giff. Obama says giff as do all the people who voted for him. You know who says jiff? That's right, the terrorists. Funny thing is they're all right! Peace in the middleeast.

The Orioles said...

On a side note: Sorry we hit Beautista in his steroid-injecting arm. We know it will make it hard to play his style of baseball.

Navin Vaswani (@eyebleaf) said...

@ bk: We gotta do more hockey nights together. Not just opening night.

@ Meredith: Fine, we'll call it a tie. Everybody wins.

@ The Orioles: It's OrioLOLes, bro. Get it straight.