Lakehead, SChmakehead

Relapsed Catholic points out that Lakehead University has mounted an advertising campaign based on the idea that George Bush is not as bright as… oh, the Communications Director for an obscure Canadian University.

This “bold new marketing campaign” is supposed to convince you that attending Lakehead University makes you smart, while attending Yale does no such thing. As for the boldness or newness of it, it seems to be taken from the tired old Grit political strategy manual. But don’t get me wrong, if Lakehead can make a buck from calling George Bush a moron, more power to them. If more students can be educated who are smarter than George Bush, more power to the students.

The question a prospective student should therefore ask, is whether the assertion that Lakehead possesses intellectual advantages over the Ivy League is true. Lakehead does start with some advantages.

They never admitted a former Minister of the Taliban who lacked a high school education, never forced a University president from office for asking reasonable questions about the teaching of science, and probably never toyed with the idea of hiring Juan Cole away from the University of Michigan. Lakehead has probably never even had the opportunity to accept tens of millions in contributions from a misogynist, virulently anti-semitic Wahhabi. They certainly have not had the opportunity to ban ROTC or US Marine recruiters from campus. As far as bashing the president of the United States, Lakehead has a long way to go to even catch sight of the Ivy league. This is all to the good.

However, in the simple message “Yale, Shmale”, there is a conspicuous omission that calls the whole message into question.

I recognize that there are legitimate differences in spelling between American and Canadian english. “Centre” is an example both of spelling and in politics. So, maybe when translated to Canadian the prefix for the “reduplicated rhyming compound” found in such phrases as “fancy, schmancy”, becomes “shm” instead of “schm.” However, since Canadians spell schmaltz, schmooze and schmuck including the “c”, this seems an overly charitable supposition.

So, we can establish that there is at least one thing you might learn in the Ivy League that has not yet penetrated to Thunder Bay, and one does wonder about the diversity of the Lakehead student body.

We also probably suspect that Lakehead may not be the best place to study marketing: The fact that their best and brightest use a hackneyed political meme that carries all the implications of Ivy League leftism goes against them just when they should have avoided it. Then, in trying to convince us they’re smarter than George Bush, they demonstrate an ignorance of colloquial english.

You do have to wonder, though, if the free world would be a better place if George Bush had attended Lakehead University. At least he’d have more excuse for malapropism.

2 thoughts on “Lakehead, SChmakehead”

  1. Some facile research I conducted, I thought you’d be interested. 1. “Schmale” and “shmale” are both not words in either English or Yiddish. 2. I looked up similar words with the “sch” or “sh” prefix to see if there was a common trend. Many words like Shmmoze or schpeel can be spelt either way. The important thing to note here is that they are Yiddish words being spelt in English; therefore, the correct spelling is a matter of invention. 3. Fred Gilbert (The President and Vice Provost of Lakehead University) has committed far greater evils than this recent Yale schpeel. But hey, if LU is on the cover of the Star, it can’t be all bad. Why? Because 50% of people think LU is in North Bay.

  2. Thanks for the info. I did find some “shm” usage myself, but it always seems to appear as the second choice, or is missing: Entry: schm-Variant(s): or shm- /shm/ or shm- schm-Dismissive prefix added to the second iteration of the noun being dismissed.Still, you’re right, it lets Lakehead off that hook even if the “schm” prefix is more esthetically satisfying. ;)