This week's issue brings another one of those special, and increasingly common, occasions when The Stranger makes an attempt at subtle humor and instead achieves only humiliating self-mockery. To wit: DOMINIC HOLDEN's paean to Seattle's "endangered parking lots," which, according to my Rich Hipster Irony Decoder Ring™ (one of the best stocking stuffers Mr. Keck ever gave me) is meant to skewer those who take issue with Seattle's development boom. Get it? If you're complaining about development in Seattle, what you really think is that parking lots are an endangered species. Or something. I am hardly sympathetic to those who whine about the triumphant march of bulldozers and jackhammers across this barely second-world city. But having served in this post far too many years to date without need of resuscitation, I can assure you that such high-concept humor, whatever its thin merits, is far beyond the grasp of this paper's readership. Stick to fart jokes and buggery braggadocio, Mr. Holden. That, after all, is the magic formula that (barely) keeps your paycheck from bouncing.
Moving on, we find JEN GRAVES cementing the nit in nitpicky with a takedown of the Seattle Art Museum's policy on—steel yourselves—copyists. What are copyists? Exactly. I can assure you that no one cared about these paintbrush-wielding plagiarists before Ms. Graves rode her desk chair to their defense, and I suspect that even fewer people will care now that she has offered 1,500 overwrought words on the subject. It would make my entire life worthwhile if, for one scant moment, Ms. Graves turned her glaucomic eyes from these petty thieves and trust-fund whiners and actually paid attention to an artist who made paintings that matter. I'm speaking here of Norman Rockwell, of Grant Wood. Even a piece about a Brueghel—for the love of God, any Brueghel!—would evoke a wistful tear of joy. Given Ms. Graves's pedantic interests, I fear I will die unfulfilled.
Finally, completing the issue's hat-trick of idiocy, ELI SANDERS fills the entire books section with a diatribe of silly armchair psychology that is topped with the disgustingly innuendo-ridden headline "Who's Your Daddy?" Young Mr. Sanders would probably be a lot less glib about the relationship between the presidential candidates and their fathers if he knew, as I do, many of the brave men of the generation that raised John McCain and Barack Obama. I served with McCain's father, John McCain. I drank quite a bit of strong Scotch with his grandfather, John McCain. And I'm told I received a spanking as a tyke from his great-grandfather, John McCain. They were all great men. I never had the pleasure of knowing Barack Obama's father, Barack Obama Sr., but I don't believe anything people say about his communist agenda and Muslim leanings. No man of the greatest generation would have such dishonorable beliefs. Mr. Sanders should, as always, be ashamed.