On January 23, 1960, two adventurous gentlemen—Jacques Piccard and Don Walsh—reached the farthest depths of the ocean, landing at 35,798 feet. It was, by all accounts, cause for celebration around the world—if not on par with the lunar landing, at least close.
On January 17, 2008, another remarkable low was reached, this time far more sour than sweet, as The Stranger saw fit to publish the feature story "Confessions of a Gasoline Huffer" by BRENDAN KILEY. It is, indeed, sludge from the bottom of the very deepest depths of bad journalism—an indefensible, dangerous, and just plain atrocious promotion of self-destruction. In the piece, which all intelligent people should avoid, if not outright burn, one finds such "choice" passages as this:
"I snuck back into the shed and sat next to the squat silver canister. I unscrewed the cap, leaned over the aperture, felt the vaporous tentacles reach into my stomach, and heard the call of the dark-blue bird. A small fairy girl, as tall as my forearm, appeared. She didn't make any real words, but communicated by telepathy and giggling and I admired her wings, all translucent and shiny. She lived in the rose bushes and let me know that these gardens and woods were a special place, a place I'd never been able to really see until now."
And those are just 100 of the 3,000 words this pathetic tripe coughs up in the guise of a "personal memoir."
Leaving aside the strong possibility that such brain-deadening behavior on the part of Mr. Kiley goes a long way toward explaining his subpar and submasculine theater "criticism," the far more troubling question is this: Why are Mr. Kiley and The Stranger promoting in such flowery prose this type of extremely dangerous—and cancerous to society (not to mention highly flammable)—behavior? The few words Mr. Kiley reserves for discouraging such disastrous actions pale in comparison to the thousands spent making the huffing of toxicants appear glamorous and "fun." Have the last scraps of The Stranger's beleaguered souls finally risen up and left their hosts (most likely in disgust)? Does Mr. Kiley care nothing about his already tarnished résumé, which heretofore included mainly a piece about hunting and eating this city's disgusting "wild game" and now will boast yet another cry-for-help-disguised-as-plea-for-attention-disguised-as-thoughtful-meditation? Good luck in the future, Brendan—given the mass brain-cell slaughter you've already committed against yourself, this time you're spending at a marginal "newspaper" such as The Stranger is all but guaranteed to be the pinnacle of your career.
Elsewhere in this issue there's very little worthy of mention, save for the appearance of yet another scribbler of note lowering himself to appear within these pages. Said scribbler, one SHERMAN ALEXIE, appears to now be penning some sort of sports-related column in The Stranger. The very idea of a sports section smacks loudly against this paper's rigorously poofish outlook, but a man's gotta eat, I guess. That, or Mr. Alexie has been hanging out watching imaginary fairies dance with Brendan Kiley.