See the whole new issue of The Stranger over here (or click on the cover)!
1a. This week, PETER MOUNTFORD and PAUL CONSTANT contribute far-too-wordy pieces that introduce Seattle to the Association of Writers & Writing Programs (hereafter AWP), and AWP to Seattle, respectively. Two weeks ago, Constant favorably reviewed Mountford's new novel, The Dismal Science, in the book section. Is their shared-feature status this week perhaps proof of some behind-the-scenes collusion (or, worse, canoodling) between the two men—say, Constant trading a positive review in exchange for feature-length writing on the topic of AWP from Mountford? Is such a bargain really so hard to believe, given the ethics-challenged culture of The Stranger?
1b. But perhaps the "coincidence" listed above is merely a distraction from a larger issue: Why is The Stranger devoting such an outsize portion of its space to a celebration of MFA programs that exist solely to provide hope to untalented youth from wealthy backgrounds? Why would The Stranger possibly forsake its audience of millions of Seattleites in favor of the ten thousand or so wannabe-novelists coming to town for a drunken long weekend?
2. After contributing a worthwhile news story about Cornish last week, JEN GRAVES is back to her old tricks with an impenetrable description of a show by Lead Pencil Studio at Wing Luke Museum. The Gravesiest passage from this so-called "review" reads as follows: "Things in motion are harder to see; there's a whoosh." This is Graves at her worst: a nearly nonsensical statement followed by a painfully passive clause. A thorough reading and rereading reveal no information about the "whoosh"-er or the "whoosh"-ee in the piece, only a series of oblique references to frosted glass. Who is Graves writing for here? Herself? Lead Pencil Studio? What human being could possibly derive any meaningful information, or, even less likely, any pleasure, from reading this piece?
3. The music section is home to previews of two music festivals: Balkan Night Northwest, which SEAN JEWELL describes in all its costumed-folk-dancing glory, and Magma Festival, which DAVE SEGAL, ever the fan of the unlistenable and the esoteric, praises for its "subterranean musical weirdness" and "extreme unconventionality." Which festival sounds more unpleasant to you?
4. As a thought experiment, don't read the news section this week. Next Wednesday, do an assessment—to see if you felt uninformed, say, or missed reading the biased, curse-word-laden reportage for which The Stranger is known—and consider whether you should bother reading the news section at all in the future.