Publication in quality journals has become a major indicator of research performance in UK universities. This paper investigates the notion of `quality journal' and finds dizzying circularity in its definitions. Actually, what a quality journal is does not really matter: agreement that there are such things matters very much indeed. As so often happens with indicators of performance, the indicator has become the target. So, the challenge is to publish in quality journals, and the challenge rewards gamesmanship. Vested interests have become particularly skilful at the game, and at exercising the winners' prerogative of changing the rules. All but forgotten in the desperation to win the game is publication as a means of communicating research findings for the public benefit. The paper examines the situation in management studies, but the problem is much more widespread. It concludes that laughter is both the appropriate reaction to such farce, and also, perhaps, the stimulus to reform.