Massive amounts of Christmas advertising have always annoyed me. I’ve been a grinch for decades and freely admit it, and being assaulted by so much Christmas “joy” every time I turn on the TV just makes me grumpier. Sure, there are a few quiet, classy, understated commercials that I appreciate, and occasionally something really original and clever will make me smile. But mostly it’s just unwelcome noise.
This year, however, there’s one advertiser that affects me like fingernails on a blackboard — Kmart. Kmart and their “giffing out” ads.
At first I thought they were saying “gifting out.” But that’s because I wasn’t looking at the screen. The next time I was watching, and I got it.
And I hated it. Hated it!
You see, I’ve always pronounced gif like the peanut butter. “Jif.” Hearing it pronounced incorrectly (to my ear at least) induces uncontrollable cringing and wincing. Furthermore, seeing the gif effect in the ad causes mental nausea. I don’t like animated gifs. With very few exceptions, I find them extremely annoying, distracting, amateurish, and almost always unnecessary. Just because we have the technology to create them does not mean we should.
Anyway, as far as I’m concerned, the correct pronunciation is and always has been “jif.” In my mind, when I’m reading, its always “jif.” I generally avoid saying it aloud (and rarely have occasion to) because I know there’s a long-standing debate over its pronunciation. If I pronounce it in a way contrary to my listener’s thinking, I’ll immediately become the fingernails on his blackboard and I’d rather not introduce that distraction. The man who originated the gif insists it’s pronounced “jif,” and so does my son, a very smart, experienced IT developer. That’s good enough for me.
Meantime, Kmart persists with several “giffing out” ads, repeatedly proving to me that I’ve been right all these years to avoid them like the plague.