Reply All: #61 Baby King
April 14, 2016 9:31 AM - Subscribe

This week, Alex stumbles upon the weirdest gifs ever made, and goes hunting for their creators. Also, a new Yes Yes No.
posted by Tevin (21 comments total)
Wherein Alex says "gif" wrong for an entire episode. smh.

Good episode!
posted by Tevin at 9:31 AM on April 14, 2016 [1 favorite]

I recorded a version with the soft 'g' as well:
posted by Alex Goldman at 10:10 AM on April 14, 2016 [21 favorites]

You are a madman and I love you.
posted by Tevin at 10:46 AM on April 14, 2016 [2 favorites]

That's commitment. I can't even imagine pronouncing gif the wrong way on purpose for a full episode. Kudos to you.
posted by dinty_moore at 10:58 AM on April 14, 2016 [2 favorites]

Jif is a peanut butter, so I would find the alternate recording very confusing.
posted by maxsparber at 12:19 PM on April 14, 2016 [1 favorite]

My opinion on the pronunciation of "gif" is not terribly strong, but the fact that you guys made an alternate version of the podcast with the other pronunciation is an perfect demonstration of why I love this podcast.
posted by primethyme at 3:29 PM on April 14, 2016 [1 favorite]

The gifs are way more weird and creepy than I was picturing when I listened to this episode. I loved it, but somehow that makes it that much better. What an amazing world we live in.
posted by darksong at 4:16 PM on April 14, 2016

I missed if there was an explanation of PJ calling himself the baby king, what was the context?

Good luck in the Webbies Alex!
posted by ellieBOA at 7:58 AM on April 15, 2016

I just assumed it was another gif.
posted by dinty_moore at 9:57 AM on April 15, 2016

While soft-g is obviously the correct pronunciation and makes the world a better place, I generally like to think that I can be flexible about that kind of thing and pronunciation wars are stupid.

Given that, it was surprisingly jarring to hear all of those hard-g's over and over again. I think it was the lack of phoneme-diversity, in that most of the early speakers (Alex, PJ, and the first interviewees) were hard-g'ing it. I actually let out a sigh of relief when one of the interview subjects dropped a soft-g -- THERE IS STILL SANITY IN THIS WORLD.

Alex, if you had given that "language warning" at the beginning of the episode, I still would have started off with the default but I might have actually switched over part way through. I do love the treats that you guys sometimes give out at the end of the credits for us fantastic folks who are too [lazy|focused on driving] to fast forward between episodes in our podcast apps. I might actually vote in the Webby's this year!

p.s. I'm also pleased that Animation Factory has no shortage of "under construction" gifs available.
posted by sparklemotion at 7:37 AM on April 16, 2016 [1 favorite]

Has there ever been a word that has two different but acceptable pronunciations before, I wonder?
posted by skewed at 8:37 AM on April 16, 2016 [1 favorite]

I'm not sure if you're being facetious, but here's a list from a study that has spawned many many internet quizzes.
posted by sparklemotion at 8:48 AM on April 16, 2016

I think I've just found a new hobby:

On the page for any of the animation factory images, copy the location of the image. (right click, "copy image location" in firefox.)

Then go to google image search, select the "search by image" camera icon, and paste the URL.

Scroll down in the search results to get a list of "pages that have matching images" in the search results! Despite the watermark, it seems to do a great job at finding the people who've used the originals.

Sadly, "Man Bound and Gagged With Alien" appears only once on a page that isn't an animated gif repository, and I have no idea what to make of it. Uncle Sam's screwdriver is also rarely used, though you can buy a keychain. The axe sharpening guy and the maracas shaking cactus, on the other hand, seems to be a thing people want on their web pages and posts.

Random searches mostly turn up gif galleries either reselling or stealing the originals. But, mixed in are are a few old-school web pages, including some by delightful people such as Ms. Rouse.
posted by eotvos at 8:52 AM on April 16, 2016 [2 favorites]

Ack - the first link above should have course gone to The animation factory.

Also, poking around a bit more, teachers seem to be a pretty significant part of the contemporary user base, even for some of the most confusing ones.
posted by eotvos at 9:08 AM on April 16, 2016

I was being facetious, sparklemotion, but it was unclear. Your links are quite interesting, nonetheless. Thanks.
posted by skewed at 2:21 PM on April 16, 2016 [1 favorite]

I think the "Baby King" thing came during YYN.
posted by radioamy at 4:21 PM on April 16, 2016

This is awesome, I love hearing the obscure human stories behind what is otherwise an inexplicable relic.

I don't want to throw further grist on the fire, so I'll just say I'm glad there's an alternate version of the podcast for people who say "Jraphics Interchange Format" or "Thanks for this Christmas Jift"
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 5:16 AM on April 17, 2016 [1 favorite]

I spent way to much time thinking about this G thang over the weekend, and I wonder if some of the, um, strength of feeling about the issue has to do with the way that technical terms aren't regionally based, AND the fact that it's a technical term to begin with.

The way I pronounce "out" marks me as someone who grew up in Canada. I can identify native Minnesotans by how much the "roof" of their house sounds like the noise that their dog makes. We've come to accept that English in North America has evolved with lots of different pronunciation quirks in different areas and people are generally just going with what they grew up with.

Chances are though that GIF is a word that most people (born before 2000, at least) didn't learn from their parents and family. So, really, people are either going with whatever pronunciation they think of, or are going from the way that they first heard it spoken out loud. Which was probably from someone on the internet (or, someone who heard it from somewhere on the internet). So the pronunciation didn't evolve within geographical regions, and at best, evolved in within some amorphous "cyber" regions, defined by where people spend their time online.

Thus, you get some old-schoolers, tending towards the soft-g pronunciation because that's how the creator pronounced it when talking about it, and because in context, it makes sense for a compressed alternative to a TIFF file to be understood to download in a "jif[fy]." But there's nothing to "define" that group, because there's plenty of old-schoolers who read the spec and went with hard-g because "graphics." So, it's not like "pecan" where different vocalizations are more or less appropriate based on who you are speaking to, or speaking as. GIF doesn't have any rules that define when or where a certain pronunciation is more appropriate.

And the fact that there aren't any rules is frustrating in the context of a term that refers to a specific file format that has a whole specification full of rules for exactly how to create, use, and display it. GIFs (and lots of other things on the internet) work, because the spec is universally recognized -- standardization is mandatory. So people want to enforce a standard -- even people who generally can deal with the fact that English is a non-standard mess.
posted by sparklemotion at 9:00 AM on April 18, 2016 [4 favorites]

Oh, and as predicted, there are Genius Annotations to the transcript (and they are actually kind of a fun read -- compared to other places where people have been arguing on the internet in the past week)
posted by sparklemotion at 7:47 AM on April 20, 2016

Hey this episode was great! I love wacky animations like that, not to mention stories from the Early Internet Age when no one had a clue how to be a business. It seems odd to me that someone cares enough to be protecting copyright, but I guess the asset has value to someone.

I went to see a web page with 1600 of these images all together in a grid.

(As for the pronounciation, clearly "jiff" is historically justified by the little-known-fact that GIF stands for "giraffe interchange format".)
posted by Nelson at 6:30 PM on April 21, 2016

(Giraffe interchanges are frightening!)
posted by moonmilk at 7:59 PM on April 21, 2016

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