Say What?

“We don’t like to brag, so we’ll let others do it for us.”

Thus begins the full-page advertisement for the University of California at Irvine in the February 9th issue of The Chronicle of Higher Education.  The ad proceeds to reference high rankings for the school in both The New York Times and U.S. News & World Report before mentioning the “record-setting” number of applications it’s received this year.


It’s clear that UC-Irvine has taken the art of bragging to a new, post-modernist level.  It involves two easy steps:

STEP 1:  Claim that you’re not going to brag, and then…..

STEP 2:  Brag.

When asked to comment on this PR sleight-of-hand, the school’s Chancellor, Howard Gillman, was a bit sheepish.  “Ever since we stopped requiring our Communications staff to take an undergraduate course in Aristotelian Logic, and allowed them to substitute an accelerated online course, Reasoning for Marketers, we’ve had this problem.  At this point I’m not sure what to do.  I get caught in a Mobius strip of argument every time I try to engage our Strategic Communications leadership on the matter.  I think I’m making progress, and then find myself right back where I started.  I’ve got to stop smoking so much pot!

“Can we please talk about something else?”