Once upon a time, newspaper endorsements were a notable cog in the wheel of democracy, with the giants—the New York Times, the Washington Post, even that wretched wrapper known as the Boston Globe—able to sway entire primaries and even general elections with a single setting of type.

Nowadays, however, with every Tom, Dick, and Mary able to craft a "weblog" from which to spout off uninformed, dubious, and outright ludicrous opinions, the power of legitimate newspaper endorsements has withered. Blame the barrage of useless online garbage, definitely, but also blame the idiots who devour it like so many mindless goats, more than happy to munch on terabytes of trash while they await the inevitable slaughter to which their feeble minds and spindly bodies have consigned them.

Which brings us, as it usually does, to The Stranger and its readers. This week, the paper has chosen to declare its preferred candidate in the democratic primary. Its choice: Senator Barack Obama, a man whose cool demeanor and impressive oratorical skills have managed to hornswoggle a number of normally intelligent and thoughtful souls. The Stranger, obviously, has no such souls on staff, which makes its endorsement—all 1,600 overwrought words of it (hysterical since, given The Stranger's readership, a simple "we likes him" would have sufficed)—noteworthy for its sheer inconsequentiality. Put another way: Seeing as how even "The Gray Lady" can no longer shape the opinions of an increasingly numb and numbskulled populace, what, if any, influence will the opinions of a gaggle of proudly ignorant potheads matter? More importantly, why should those opinions matter?

The simple answer is they don't and they shouldn't, and yet here we have it: A long and long-winded (yet amazingly short on insight) endorsement of Obama, which not only takes up valuable real estate in this week's front of the book, but violates the cover as well. Surely both spaces could've been filled with something more worthwhile—or even filled with the normal gibberish, which would have been better—but The Stranger's desperate and pitiful need to be taken seriously by those who would never, ever, in a thousand years take it seriously, has gotten the better of it. Again. Local endorsements, which this paper insists on publishing despite all evidence of their meaninglessness, are dubious enough; on a national scale, offering this paper's opinions constitutes placing but a tiny poisonous drop in a large, already-befouled sea. In other words, The Stranger's obvious belief that its opinion was (A) clamored for, and (B) able to sway the undecided, is what one would call "cute."

Elsewhere in this issue, we find MEGAN SELING pontificating cheerily on a local musical act known as Fleet Foxes; JEN GRAVES attempting to burrow her way to her spine via her own belly button at the behest of a local R. Crumb art show; and, among other tragedies, a blissfully small news section filled with the usual misinformed, underreported tripe that legitimate outlets have wisely ignored for years. recommended