Last week, I attended the opening-night festivities of the Seattle International Film Festival. Or should I say that I attended precisely one hour's worth of the opening-night festivities. It is undignified enough to be placed into a queue with the unwashed masses like some sort of feed cattle, but even more unbelievable was the motion picture with which the programmers chose to open their little dog and pony show: a smarmy far-leftist screed against my squash partner Donny Rumsfeld's innovative early-aught-aughts foreign-policy decisions. Within five minutes of the commencement of the first reel, I rose to my feet and left my—ugh—general-admission seating, loudly announcing my distaste for the film to everyone within earshot. In short, I never thought I would say this, but I agree completely with LINDY WEST's description of the "festivities" in her column this week: I would be hard-pressed to dream up a more ignominious beginning for a ceremony intended to be a major cultural feather in Seattle's cap.
Now that I have returned from this twilight zone of a world in which the grotesquely wrong (e.g., Ms. West) is somehow factually accurate, let us begin with the litany of errors committed by The Stranger in this week's edition. First off, NED LANNAMANN writes a profile of a chanteuse named Jennifer Lewis. Ms. Lewis is either acquainted with or in a (no doubt nauseatingly physical) relationship with a torch singer named Rilo Kiley. I have no doubt that Mr. Kiley is, in turn, some relation (perhaps a brother?) to theater editor Brendan Kiley—nepotism being the grease that lubricates The Stranger's more unctuous day-to-day operations—and so I decided to abandon this puffery and turn to this week's feature.
Lo and behold, it is credited to a Mr. BRENDAN KILEY (speak of the devil, and he—or one of his minor-but-exceptionally-annoying minions—shall appear), and it involves an endless whine about a housing development built on (allegedly) environmentally questionable terrain. No doubt Mr. Kiley hopes somehow to exact vengeance upon the universe for whatever congenital birth defect he suffers from by discovering the new Love Canal. I daresay, and not just as a major shareholder in the development Mr. Kiley is "investigating" but as a sensible human being, that he is barking up the wrong tree here.
And in the books section, ERICA C. BARNETT files yet another cry for professional help disguised as a personal essay, this time about her most recent attempts to read as many books about Adolf Hitler as she possibly can in one year. Never have so many meaningless words arranged in such an incomprehensible order said so much about their writer. Perhaps it is my personal stake in the matter—I lost my favorite cousin, Haskell Steen, in the trenches at the Somme and was unable to avenge his death on the filthy Hessians due to crippling flat-footedness—but this is perhaps the most offensive story to run in The Stranger in at least two weeks. So congratulations, Ms. Barnett: With the assistance of Nazis, you have achieved a dubious, fleeting honor. I hope you are happy.