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No, the University of Utah Did Not Bribe Me to Post This

By: Ardis E. Parshall - February 23, 2009

From the Improvement Era, 1932:



26 Comments »

  1. I wonder whether the U meets those 5 criteria today, let alone in 1932! Go Cougars!

    Comment by Jacob F — February 23, 2009 @ 1:07 pm

  2. That is so very funny.

    Comment by Researcher — February 23, 2009 @ 1:13 pm

  3. Hey, a summer flirting with the girls up at Aspen Grove (their “Alpine Summer School”) doesn’t sound half bad.

    Comment by Mark B. — February 23, 2009 @ 1:32 pm

  4. While the ad overall is kind of fun, I suspect that Researcher has zeroed in on why I snorted upon seeing it. The flirting, the (by BYU’s current standards) miniscule library, are bonuses.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — February 23, 2009 @ 1:37 pm

  5. Why is there an apostrophe in “It’s” and what’s so special about these “truly educated” students that they get capital letters in “Men and Women”? I’d like to compare the mistakes made in a similar ad done by the University of Utah, my alma mater, and the alma mater of quite a few leaders of the Church today and in the past. Go Utes!

    Comment by Michelle Glauser — February 23, 2009 @ 1:54 pm

  6. Oh wow. That is pretty funny. I just showed it to the editors here at the Religious Studies Center and we all had a good laugh.

    Comment by Christopher — February 23, 2009 @ 1:54 pm

  7. Its pretty funny that the apostrophe got it’s position wrong. Oh well, the equipment is adequate. Obviously, they didn’t have a copy of Eats, Shoots, and Leaves.

    Comment by kevinf — February 23, 2009 @ 2:13 pm

  8. Snort away, you heathens. But its a well-recognized fact that the use of the aposthrophe had hardly been regularized by the year 1932.

    [ahem]

    Comment by True-Blue-Cougar — February 23, 2009 @ 3:05 pm

  9. I guess I’m one of the heathens who snorted at the apostrophe. My husband graduated from the University of Utah and I graduated as a returning student from Utah State. [Actually, all of our out-of-state siblings thought we were apostates for not sending our children to BYU] A couple of years ago my husband was given a gift certificate from Ace Hardware. He found a nice [?] red door mat with a block U on it. Of course he bought it and put it just inside the front door to see my reaction. After several weeks of comments from all our Cougar fans, I moved it to the back door. One of our best friends, a BYU fan, actually jumped on the doormat and pretended to wipe her feet very forcefully on the mat.

    Comment by Maurine — February 23, 2009 @ 3:31 pm

  10. True-Blue-Cougar — And ‘since ‘so many people ‘still have trouble u’sing thi’s mark correctly the’se day’s, the regularization mu’st have been for an exceedingly ‘short period!

    Ardi’s

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — February 23, 2009 @ 3:44 pm

  11. Snor’t!

    Comment by kevinf — February 23, 2009 @ 4:08 pm

  12. Specialized summer sessions at BYU brought me together with my future wife – so I’m not going to pick apart such a juvenile, grammatically incorrect, cheesy ad. Of course, it was a summer program for high school students, but it still was at BYU. (*now taking tongue out of cheek*)

    Comment by Ray — February 23, 2009 @ 4:13 pm

  13. Having fought off the urge to ask whether “Ardi’s” isn’t actually the name of a German grocery store chain, as pronounced by one having difficulty distinguishing “L” from “R”, I should point out that The Volokh Conspiracy has a post up today citing Blackstone’s Commentaries, an 1802 edition, in which “it’s” was used as the possessive for “it”. He said other commenters had pointed out other sightings of that same usage in the OED and Shakespeare.

    So, maybe the copywriter wasn’t an illiterate bum (like most copywriters, ancient and modern), but was just looking to complete the restoration of ancient truths. You know, L.D.S. Educational Ideals and all that.

    The random capitalization (maybe he was pacing the halls of the Education Building, seeking inspiration, and passed the restrooms just as he got to the “Men and Women” part) suggests that the writer may well have been German. (Karl Maesar back as a ghostwriter?) And, since Germans don’t use apostrophes in making any possessive, the poor fellow was obviously confused. Let’s give him a break.

    Comment by Mark B. — February 23, 2009 @ 4:26 pm

  14. Excellent, Mark B.! I *knew* there was a way to understand this purportedly errant ad.

    You must truly be filled with the Spirit of the Y.

    [heart rate returning to normal]

    Comment by True-Blue-Cougar — February 23, 2009 @ 4:51 pm

  15. I was going to point out — eventually — that it was probably the Improvement Era‘s copywriter and nobody associated with the Y who made the error. I like Mark B’s analysis far better. It’s got that convoluted Rube Goldberg touch that I admire so much.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — February 23, 2009 @ 4:53 pm

  16. Re: no. 15: “I was going to point out — eventually” (emphasis added).

    You little devil, you. (Or should I say, “You little Ute, you”?)

    Comment by Hunter — February 23, 2009 @ 5:09 pm

  17. When did the use of the apostrophe change? I swear I was taught in elementary school that “it’s” should have an apostrophe. It wasn’t until after college that I started seeing this nonsense (no, I’m not biased ;)) about not having it when it’s possessive.

    Comment by Proud Daughter of Eve — February 23, 2009 @ 5:14 pm

  18. I’m no Ute! I’m an equal-opportunity snickerer! This would have been posted with as much glee had it been the other way ’round! (Besides, there’s a three-part ad campaign I’ll put up sooner or later where the Y gets the last laugh. I think.)

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — February 23, 2009 @ 5:15 pm

  19. PDoE, Blackstone notwithstanding, possessive pronouns should never have an apostrophe, and haven’t correctly had apostrophes since, well, ever. Just as it’s [that’s a contraction] his rather than hi’s, it’s [again a contraction] also correctly its and yours and hers and theirs and ours.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — February 23, 2009 @ 5:19 pm

  20. Well, “ever”? I dunno ’bout that. But there have been plenty of examples of writers more skilled than publicity flacks who have slipped an apostrophe into the possessive “its”. Maybe they didn’t get the memo.

    On the other hand, if they will conjugate lay and lie correctly I’ll let them put an apostrophe wherever they want.

    Comment by Mark B. — February 23, 2009 @ 7:55 pm

  21. On the other hand, if they will conjugate lay and lie correctly I’ll let them put an apostrophe wherever they want.

    Amen – or, my current pet peeve, use “might” and “may” correctly. There is a difference, people – and it’s not slight! Anyone may quote me, and it might happen, but I’m not holding my breath – since many things that may happen probably won’t (even though they might).

    Comment by Ray — February 23, 2009 @ 8:17 pm

  22. Oh my goodness, Mark B., don’t worry about missing that apostrophe! I didn’t see it until I looked at the ad a couple of times, and I’ve spent years editing copy.

    Besides, isn’t it getting late in your area of the country? (Ray, too!) Don’t you think it might be time to go lay down and get some rest?

    Comment by Researcher — February 23, 2009 @ 8:24 pm

  23. Researcher, I might lie down and get some rest – but it’s not even midnight yet.

    Comment by Ray — February 23, 2009 @ 9:40 pm

  24. Doesn’t the monument at Brigham Young’s birthplace state he had “superb equipment”? Is this to say that his namesake university slipped in quality since his birth in 1801?

    http://travel.webshots.com/photo/1088030540032324738osUdAb

    I mean, “adequate equipment” just doesn’t seem as impressive….

    Comment by Rameumptom — February 24, 2009 @ 7:49 am

  25. Researcher, I’d go lay down, but I don’t have any down to lay.

    Comment by Mark B. — February 24, 2009 @ 10:20 am

  26. The caps on “Men and Women” are designed to catch the eye of the reader to reinforce the coeducational nature of the institution — It’s an ad, not a story or news report!

    As for me, while I know the difference between “its” and “it’s”, I’d rather use “it’s” as the possessive and “’tis” as the contraction. I must confess I lay and lie indiscriminately. The distinction between “Might” and “May” is easy: “Might” is the ability to apply force, and “May” is the fifth month of the year. How anyone might confuse them is beyond me.

    Comment by Eric Boysen — February 25, 2009 @ 6:42 am

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