Unusually strong feelings have been expressed both in favor of cans of soup having pull tabs, and against soup having pull tabs. Whenever this happens, it is important to look carefully at both sides and ask a couple of particular questions:

Who is hurt by this? Who is hurt by the non-existence of this?

As far as I know, no one is harmed by the absence of pull tabs on soup, regardless of how ridiculous they may appear, and as we all know, the ridiculous is many times simply the commonplace a few years early. I'm not aware of soup spoiling faster as a result of the new lids, but it is true that pull tabs require a much thinner top on the can than the can-opener variety, which implies an increase in damaged cans. Some small manual effort is required to operate the tab, but it cannot be much greater than the torque required to use a manual can-opener. While I am unaware of the suitability of the new types of lid for use with traditional can-openers, I must observe: those with openers are still able to open belidded cans, but those without can openers are unable to open the old style tops by any means. (Of course, there are those who have electric can-openers, but the owners of such blatant symbols of affluence must surely have butlers at the ready in the rare event of an obligatory can opening.)

Remember, beverages were once sold in "traditional" cans as well, long before rings and pull-tabs. The introduction of a means by which your typical Joe X. Average, Esq. may guzzle cola without the utilization of machinery did much to hurry the adoption of caffeine and high-fructose corn syrup by the American public. I'm sure that the powerful can-opener cartel, still smarting from their previous wound, is trying its hardest to have the new soup-lids stricken from the marketplace. It is only a matter of time before we are all sent alerts by Public Citizen about dangerous new can-opener friendly legislation moving through Congressional committee, because the democratization of can-opening technology is such a powerful influence on society, its spread of great potential damage to the entrenched home appliance interests. For they know, if pull-top cans of soup were to spread, the people will see that they no longer must rely on magic devices handed down by companies in order that they might be fed – this ability will rest squarely in their own hands. If only pull-tab soup had been available earlier, the life of at least one cartoon feline might have been saved.

In short, pull-tab soup is an important blow against consumer culture, and for the basic rights of the masses. Now, knowing that I have averted a potentially sundering flamewar, I leave secure with the knowledge of strife averted.

If only I had been there when this whole tragic Joel vs. Mike battle was playing out....