Study Guide Questions for The Stranger, Volume 22, Issue 45
1a. In colloquial terms, JEN GRAVES "rules the roost" this week, with a long feature about local artist Buster Simpson and a long review of a book about the political inclinations of artists. On a separate piece of paper, please demonstrate which story is more inessential. That is to say, which piece contributes less to the ultimate goal of our species' survival on this planet? Use facts, not opinions, to bolster your argument.
1b. Starting in two weeks, The Stranger is hosting a series of events at the Frye Art Museum highlighting artists who've been shortlisted for a Genius Award. Buster Simpson's newest show is also at the Frye Art Museum. Graves writes a glowing review of Simpson's show. Follow the money: Which institution benefits more from this obvious promotional agreement? Why?
1c. Graves's very long book review means that Stranger books editor PAUL CONSTANT wasn't able to write a book review this week. Recognizing that both options are suboptimal, is more writing by Graves and less writing by Constant better, in your opinion, or vice versa? Which of their surnames gives you more of a feeling of doom?
2. DEREK ERDMAN's memoir piece about working as a receptionist at Sub Pop Records spins back and forth between past tense and present tense. Where do you think the editing process failed Mr. Erdman? Using forensic literary criticism, do you believe that any sort of an editor ever even looked at this piece before publication?
3. In the music section, EMILY NOKES also writes about Sub Pop. Why?
4. The news section contains an item about local women and equal pay. Do you believe that The Stranger pays female staffers equally to male staffers? Why isn't this information provided in the piece? Is that not relevant to the story?
5. Last Days is again guest-written by CIENNA MADRID. It is exclusively focused on pain, suffering, and misery. One assumption a reader could make is that Madrid, knowing she is not even one-sixteenth as funny as regular Last Days columnist David Schmader, has decided to focus on serious bodily injury as a "coping mechanism." Are there any other probable assumptions a reader might make as to what lies behind Madrid's unfunny, morbid journey into death and heartbreak? Be creative!