If you remove the Bumbershoot "guide" in the center of this issue and discard it, you are left with an anemic, ad-starved, dull-past-the-point-of-comprehensibility regular issue of The Stranger. Marvel at it: 56 pages! I have long encouraged the advertisers who support this publication's existence to take their business elsewhere, namely the Seattle Weekly and the Seattle Times, so I find this development (56 pages!) a positive one, but it is a bit surprising—given the usual "provocative" content—to find the writers moiling around in the caverns and annals of the dullest subjects imaginable. Usually, there is at least something revolting to behold, something unconscionable, something insipid; instead, the editors seem to be reacting to going out of business by inebriating themselves into oblivion and ceasing to care.

Speaking of inebriation: The semiliterate Mexican transplant CIENNA MADRID, in addition to the other setbacks in her life, has apparently been having trouble purchasing large plastic bottles of cheap liquor at any hour she likes. She has responded to this most distressing situation by excoriating the good people of the Washington State Liquor Control Board and humiliating the entirety of the Olympia legislature for not "doing enough" to... help her purchase large plastic bottles of cheap liquor at any hour? I cannot even pretend to follow. As she mentions, Washington State's current liquor laws have been in place and intact since the end of prohibition. In other words, this is not news.

Other examples of giving up abound: The normally profane "New Column!" that accompanies DAVID SCHMADER's vulgarity-encrusted Last Days column is recycled content from last week's Portland Mercury, The Stranger's sister paper, as if Stranger editors literally could not think of anything themselves. In the books section, CHARLES MUDEDE waxes obsequious over the science-fiction author William Gibson for possibly the thousandth time in his career (and complements this serving of leftovers with a side of rambling about evolution, of all irrelevant topics). LINDY WEST, whose métier is writing about herself (and feces, and things she found on the ground), goes one step further this week by writing about herself writing about something. Take a gander at this incomprehensible opening sentence: "Sometimes in the course of human events, every once in a very short while, a movie comes along that is so completely, overwhelmingly okay that you just have to drop anything unimportant and write a middling review of it when you feel like it, or not"—is she actively trying to drive readers and advertisers away? The art review by JEN GRAVES is not about art at all and instead about the well-known recording artist Beyoncé. And the main article in the music section is a long essay on the topic of asphalt in the 1990s.

Follow A. Birch Steen at www.twitter.com/strangerslog.