As we all understand it, the news industry is in trouble. With electronic newspapers whizzing to and fro in the ether, the print media is facing extinction—the moment you print something on paper, the news has already changed. Still, with any remaining newspaper of relevance (the Wall Street Journal, the Seattle Times), you can at least catch up on yesterday's news. But at The Stranger, it takes a good month for a reporter to set down his water pipe, find a suitable shirt, and cajole an intern into doing all the background reporting on a topic. To wit, ELI SANDERS thoroughly documenting a murder on Capitol Hill that occurred in mid-November. Why the month's delay? Lassitude? An inner sense of The Stranger's own irrelevancy? Or perhaps Mr. Sanders sensed it had been just long enough for the mental wounds of the victim's friends and family to begin to heal, the perfect time to rip them open afresh with his prying questions?

Of course, Mr. Sanders swaddles the tale of the homicide in a position piece promoting The Stranger's progressive agenda—reinforce the social safety net of welfare, or else there will be murders just like this one on every street corner in Seattle!—and in so doing he stretches credibility well past the breaking point. This blowhardery (linking a brutal murder to a plea for more nanny-statism) is more than just old news; it is a stellar example of The Stranger at its most incoherent, because in addition to Sanders's stultifying screed, we get a piece in the news section by CIENNA MADRID encouraging the city to allow convicted felons to live wherever they please, without informing their would-be landlords of their criminal pasts.

Speaking of desperate attempts to remain relevant in the face of incoherency and boredom: JEN GRAVES dithers and whines about the Smithsonian's attempts to ensure that taxpayer moneys go to enriching the cultural discourse. She feebly declares war against the storied institution for not allowing a piece of garbage to pass as "art," and then she tries to drag the Seattle Art Museum into her little popgun battle. How many tin soldiers can Miss Graves jostle into doing her bidding? I am sure that we haven't heard the last of this particular tempest in a teacup; Mad Hatter Graves never leaves a party until she is forcibly dragged away from it.

And then we have an essay by a member of a musical group that failed about why his musical group failed. Typical of The Stranger, the continuing biography of Seattle's failure since 1991, to focus on the desperate and doomed attempts of someone you'd never heard of to become someone you have heard of.

Elsewhere: BOOKS: Prolix and exhausting... THEATER: Has the theater section been cut due to budget constraints? One can hope... CHOW: An obese man bloviates on the "sandwich" fad sweeping our beleaguered city... MUSIC: Unintelligible... CONTROL TOWER: Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil... SAVAGE LOVE: Revolting.

A Critical Overview of The Stranger

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