A Critical Overview of The Stranger
What's that you say? You're looking to congratulate the brilliant mind behind the Washington State Department of Health's new WashYourHandsingTon public health program? That's me! Well, I didn't come up with the hot new slogan, or approve the catchy little ditty that's burning up YouTube with 4,061 viewings at the time of this writing, but I'm in charge of the Department of Health, so I deserve the lion's share of the credit. (If I have to take the blame for Washington State falling dead last in the United States for vaccinations of kindergarteners, I'll take credit for our successes, too!)
Seriously, though: WashYourHandsingTon is a viral (no pun intended!) success because of the whole team here at DoH. Even with an idea as pure and golden as WashYourHandsingTon, a lot of hard work goes into making sure the campaign gets in front of the most eyeballs possible. Good work, team! Hopefully, our new initiative "Vaccinate Yo Self Before You Wack-sinate Yo Self" will enjoy even half the success of this runaway blockbuster!
If I may be allowed a moment's taste of sour grapes, though, I'd like to publicly call out the editorial board of The Stranger for not helping us spread the word about cleanliness as a deterrent for spreading the flu and cold viruses.
When we provide a hook as irresistible as Wash-YourHandsingTon, it's not hard for a newspaper to come up with a story to hang on that hook, but The Stranger just pretended our initiative didn't exist. Instead, we get out-of-nowhere content like this week's lead story by GRANT COGSWELL about life in Mexico. As far as I understand, Mexico is not in Washington. Why does this story about cockfighting and sports get the multi-page treatment, when a thoughtful and concise infographic about the importance of hand-washing—perhaps even done up in an irreverent top-10-list construction—doesn't make the cut? Which story would be more useful to WashYourHandsing-Tonians' daily lives, I ask you?
Or, if Mr. Cogswell's words are too precious to excise, surely there is some dead weight elsewhere in this week's issue that could be cut to make way for public health? Say, KELLY O's unfortunate page on choosing the year's most out-of-control inebriate? (We have lots of pamphlets about the dangers of binge-drinking, Ms. O. Perhaps we should mail you a few hundred so you can hand them out as you make your Saturday evening rounds?) Or PAUL CONSTANT's feeble attempts at feminist theory in book criticism? Or MEGAN SELING's interview with the lead singer of a rock band called the Mountain Goats about baking tips?
Or, for crying out loud, can't we get DAN SAVAGE to even mention the importance of cleanliness in his column? Mr. Savage is influential among his peer group, and he has written before with great eloquence about condom use. Is hand-washing not "sexy" enough an issue for Mr. Savage? Is he not, after all, a resident of the great state of WashYourHandsingTon?