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The Solo Cup refers to a line of disposable beverage cups manufactured and sold by Solo Cup Company. It is a party symbol in the United States. In the same way thick, black rimmed glasses have been linked to hipster culture) by pop media and the Internet, it has become impossible to see a red Solo Cup without thinking of the bro culture of fraternities.
The Red Solo Cup
The Solo Cup Company was founded in the 1940s, but they didn't begin manufacturing their signature red Solo Cups until the 1970s. The Solo Cup Company was acquired by Dart Container on May 4th, 2012. It was first portrayed in pop culture as a staple of American parties in the 1999 teen comedy American Pie. The red Solo Cup was featured heavily in the film's party scenes.
Many online news and culture sites have written reports and commentary on the red Solo Cup and what it means to Americans, and specifically youth party culture. On October 10th, 2011, Slate published an article titled "The Solo Cup" that examines the cup's history and rise to popularity. On November 5th, 2011, NPR published an article titled "The Red Solo Cup: Every Party's Most Popular Guest" that looked at its rise to popularity and the 2009 change to its design when it moved from a round base to a square base. On July 2nd, 2013, Buzzfeed published a post titled "25 Examples America Is Obsessed With The Red Solo Cup" which features a collection of pop culture references to the cups and red Solo Cup themed products. The red Solo Cup accounts for about 60 percent of the company's sales, vastly outperforming the blue cup.
On June 13th, 2012, Gizmodo published an article titled "What the Lines of a Red Solo Cup Actually Mean." The article pointed out that the groves in each red Solo Cup mark where you should stop filling the cup for certain types of alcohol. The first line marks a volume of one ounce for liquor, the second marks five ounces for wine, and the third marks 12 ounces for beer.
After it was published they added an update after the Solo Cup Company contacted them and clarified:
"Although the lines on our Solo cups match up pretty closely with common liquid measurements, they aren't meant for that."
On April 7th, 2013, Redditor orcat started a thread on the subreddit /r/ExpectationVsReality titled "Red Solo Cup" to discuss the meaning behind the lines. A link to a Business Insider article published on June 11th, 2012, which confirmed Solo never meant for the lines to be used for alcohol measurement (though colleges sometimes use them for that purpose) quickly became the top comment on the thread.
The players are divided into two teams that stand at opposite sides of a table. On each side of the table are cups of beer laid out in a triangle formation. Players try to toss a ping pong ball into one of their opponents cups. If the ball lands in the cup, a member from that team must drink the beer, and the cup is removed.
Two equal-numbered teams face each other with a cup of beer in front of each player. The first player from each game begins by simultaneously drinking their beers. Once the players have drunk their beer they put the base of the cup half on and half of the table, then using only one hand they attempt to flip the cup onto the table, bottom up. Once the first member of the team has succeeded the next member may try, and so on down the line until the first team has flipped all their cups.
Corners is played in the same manner as Beer Pong, though the setup is a player throws the balls from each of the four corners of the table. Teammates are diagonally across from each other and shoot continuously. Once one team gets a ball into the cup, that cup is passed onto the opposing team, who must drink the beer and flip the cup before they can continue playing. The first team to discard all their cups wins.
Nemesis is played much like Beer Pong, though their are still two teams each player is matched up with a nemesis whose scores they drink. Each pair may only play their designated ball, and the game ends when one team is left with no cups.
On October 11th, 2011, the music video for country singer Toby Keith's song "Red Solo Cup" was uploaded to his official YouTube channel TobyKeithVEVO (below, left). As of March 2014, the video has over 23 million views. On December 11th, 2011, YouTuber OnMusicGlee uploaded a cover of the song performed on the musical comedy show Glee on an episode titled "Hold on to Sixteen" (below, right). As of March 2014, the video has gained over 600,000 views.
Use as a Percussion
Lulu and the Lampshades Cups Covers are videos in which the subject performs a cover of the song “You’re Gonna Miss Me” by the band Lulu and the Lampshades using a plastic cup (often a red Solo Cup) to create a beat. The covers became extremely popular after the lead character in the 2012 teen comedy Pitch Perfect (played by Anna Kendrick) uses the song for her a cappella audition (shown below, top left).
 Slate – The Solo Cup
 YouTube – TobyKeithVEVO
 YouTube – OnMusicGlee
 Drinking Game Zone – Civil War
 Gizmodo – What the Lines of a Red Solo Cup Actually Mean
 Business Insider – "Red Solo":The Lines On A Solo Cup Actually Mean Something":http://www.businessinsider.com/the-lines-on-a-solo-cup-actually-mean-something-2012-6#ixzz2wdIgqMTS
 Dart – Dart Containor Closes on Aquisition of Solo Cup Company
 Buzzfeed – 25 Examples America Is Obsessed With The Red Solo Cup
 NPR – The Red Solo Cup: Every Party's Most Popular Guest
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Mar 23, 2014 at 01:13PM EDT
Mar 25, 2014 at 04:43AM EDT
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