Tuesday, January 10, 2012

What If Colleges Ran Attack Ads?

The rise of Super PACs and the glorious display of democracy that is the Republican primary season got me thinking about attack ads in other contexts.  What if colleges ran attack ads?

Western State says it has a “tradition of excellence,” but is this excellent?  (shot of cafeteria food)  Or this?  (shot of long line at advising center)  Call Western State, and tell it what a craphole it is.

Taylor believed St. Somebody would help her get a good job.  How did that work out, Taylor?  (shot of Taylor with “are you kidding me?” expression -- camera pulls back to show her working the register at fast food place)  Would you like fries with that, or do you want a real degree?

With regional variations, it could get ugly.  A red-state version:

Dave and Jill entrusted their daughter’s education to Dead Guy College.  (picture of well-scrubbed nuclear family)  But some tenured radical there introduced her to women’s studies (dramatic music, reverse-polarity image of daughter)  Dead Guy College: Is it worth the risk?

Invariably, some smarty-pants types would launch viral attacks on youtube:

“I’m Mike.  This is Rob.  Say hi, Rob!  (Rob waves)  We’re gonna search for a parking space at Flagship U.  Here goes! (several minutes of fast-motion gonzo footage ensue, in which our heroes are repeatedly frustrated in their quest to park)  Wow!  Sure is a good thing I don’t have to get to class!  That’s because I take online classes at Nowhere U.”

I’d expect the elites to hit back with passive-aggressive snob appeal:

“(wasp-y baritone narrator) You could get an English degree from Midtier State.  You could.  You could make do with used cars, studio apartments, and your very own blog.  Sure you could.  Or, (stirring music swells) you could get serious. (handsome man smiles, climbs into Ferrari)”

Maybe we should stick with the optimistic autumnal stuff instead.