There’s a clash of ideologies happening in America today that nobody seems to be talking about. Not to overstate the point, but there’s a civil war going on. Well, maybe it’s more of a cold war. Could be a temperate war, I suppose. Do they make Florida-sub-tropical wars?
Doesn’t matter. If they do, this would definitely be one for the books.
According to Wikipedia, the world’s most trusted information source, Reese’s Peanut Cups came out in 1928, made by a farmer named H.B. Reese, in his basement.
That’s when all the trouble started.
Like any good rebellion, opponents of his candy began organizing a grassroots movement, around 1929, purposefully mispronouncing poor Old Man Reese’s last name — saying it like “Ree-see” — in an effort to discredit his candy which was, by this time, gaining some major popularity.
I mean, Reese’s Cups were everywhere. They were invited to all the best parties, they dated the most beautiful women and paparazzi followed them to all the swankiest clubs. And this infuriated their opponents. See, these people hated peanut butter and everything it stood for. They hated the entire peanut butter way of life.
“It’s like the worst of all butters,” some of the rebellion’s leaders would say to other rebellion leaders around the Reese’s Rebellion Headquarters water cooler. “Seriously. Like, regular butter. Almond butter. Cocoa butter. I mean, what makes peanut butter so special?”
To make this easier, let’s give this group of “Ree-see-ers” a name. Something arbitrary. How about, I don't know, the Axis of Evil?
Into the ‘30s, the Axis’ influence was growing. People began jumping onto the bandwagon, disregarding years of knowing how to properly say the name Reese and throwing an extra E at the end.
They barely gave it any thought at all. The Axis was winning. But they didn’t stop there.
When Reese’s Pieces were released, in 1978, the Axis saw their big chance to drop the weapon they’d been trying to perfect for years. They called it the E Bomb.
Before the public could even get their mouths around the name, the Axis hijacked it.
Ree-see’s Pee-sees, they started calling the candy, playing fast and loose with hundreds of years of English pronunciation. If they couldn’t get to the source, they figured, they could at least defile every word that came in contact with Old Man Reese’s creation.
And the worst part is, people starting buying into this. Discounting ads that clearly explained that there was “No wrong way to eat a Reese’s,” they came up with cockamamie justifications for this mispronunciation.
“But it’s supposed to rhyme,” they’d say. “Rees-ees Pee-sees. See?”
Only members of another group, let’s call them the Alliance, didn’t see.
“But it would already rhyme without changing the pronunciation of a long-established word,” they’d explain, while nibbling on kebabs and wearing berets at cocktail parties. “Pieces. We know for sure how to say that, right? Would you ever ask for a pee-see of cake!?”
But it was too late. People would no longer listen to reason. The Axis had won.
But the Alliance had one more move up its sleeve.
Pronunciation Book, an English language video channel with more than 21 million YouTube views to its credit, staged the most devastating blow to “Ree-see-ers” ever recorded last June, when it published a video titled “How to say Reese’s,” in its enthralling series of shorts that show a key word in a sentence, and then have a narrator read that sentence, word for word, slowly, just ... like ... this.
Type “H.B. Reese” into YouTube, and it’s the second video that comes up. And for Alliance crusaders everywhere, it was a victory, a beacon of hope in an otherwise pronunciation-bleak world.
There’s no such thing as a pee-see, ladies and gentlemen; this video confirms it. And there’s no such thing as a Ree-see.
But with the wrong pronunciation, there is, after all, one very wrong way to eat a Reese’s.
BY MIKE CAVALIERE | ASSOCIATE EDITOR