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Publication: The Stranger
Author: Steen, A Birch
Date published: November 11, 2010

The cover of The Stranger this week is a dismal tableau involving a tied-up body and some vultures. I initially chalked it off as another in a long series of intentionally "artsy" drivel, created by graduate students who have nothing better to do than spend Mommy and Daddy's hard-earned money on "uppers" and "downers" and "roofties." But then it occurred to me. Perhaps this is a cry for help? Is The Stranger's art director, Aaron Huffman, trying to signal to Seattle that the "jig" is finally "up," and that The Stranger-the soon-to-be-corpse in this scenario- is being circled by the vulturelike creditors who are finally ready to tear the institution limb from limb, in hopes of making some small portion of their ill-fated investments back? After years of shaking down local businesses in an inelegant protection racket involving free booze in return for positive reviews, is The Stranger finally about to go the way of the dodo? Time will tell, but I look at this cover with a faint feeling of hope.

And then, of course, I open the issue and all hope is drained from me when I bear witness to the sorry state of journalism. At the head of the "News" section this week is a piece by unpaid intern MATT LUBY (who for a time enchanted me with the vociferously libertarian tracts he published on Slog before I realized that true libertarians do not give their valuable secretarial and coffee-procurement services away for free like some kind of a chump) about a bar for homosexuals that was allegedly showing pornographic films in blatant disregard of public-decency laws. How low the mighty once-principled youth has fallen, Mr. Luby! You have, for the promise of nothing more than your own name in barely legible print, sold your once-solid values down the river to write a litany of turgid prose about tumescent and lubricated body parts. For shame.

And then we continue with the third in a series of long-form essays about tainted cocaine from BRENDAN KILEY. At one point, I was prepared to sing Mr. Kiley's praises for undertaking actual journalistic practices with something resembling competence, but the monotony of these pieces in such quick succession has finally reminded me that, ultimately, Mr. Kiley is whining about quality control in an illegal narcotic. You should have quit while you were ahead, Mr. Kiley. Perhaps it is time to return to your adorable little theater section with your tail between your legs?

In other sections: VISUAL ART: Although the content is slightly more readable than her usual efforts, Miss Graves lost me somewhere around the thousandth word(!) this week... BOOKS: Didn't read... THEATER: How can I miss you, Mr. Kiley, if you never go away?... CHOW: David Schmader reviews another restaurant that does not serve meat; normal people everywhere yawn and start planning for the evening's repast (speaking for myself: rack of lamb, bloody)... MUSIC: Grant Brissey plays music for random people and records their reactions, because actually formulating an opinion has become too difficult for this merry band of mental midgets... FILM: Who cares?... DEAR SCIENCE: I do not want to know what "homeostasis" is, but I bet it is too gay... SAVAGE LOVE: I still cannot believe that they allow this confirmed sexual pervert to talk with impressionable youth at learning institutions.

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Author affiliation:


Stranger Public Editor and OSHA Board of Governors Member (Retired)

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