When publisher TIM KECK delivered the bound galley of this week's Stranger to me, in the midst of his usual bowing and scraping, he informed me that it was the thousandth issue of this publication. One thousand issues! On the one hand, I had to hand it to the man—I did not see this coming, and a success is a success. On the other hand, Mr. Keck has overseen every aspect of this company in the course of producing all of those issues, and he has seemingly never found it right to, well, do right by it—to produce a serious newspaper with serious writers and a serious mission. He is still, after all these years, perfectly willing to let high school and college dropouts run the editorial department; to let liberal demagoguery run amok, unchecked and unchallenged, among the people charged with forming the paper's political attitudes; to publish puerile, prurient, pornographic nonpolitical content merely for the sake of luring impressionable, pot-addled, sexually deviant young men and women into reading it; to accept advertising from purveyors of filth; and to humiliate and belittle anyone who still can't fathom this weekly concern's mission.
It is altogether fitting that the milestone thousandth issue is devoted to regretting the millions of errors that naturally occur over merely a single year of publishing The Stranger, and also fitting that many staffers responded to news of said milestone by taking the week off. The news section this week is written entirely by politicians and civic leaders who've been on the business end of The Stranger's fire hose of hatred simply for, say, trying to keep taxes low (Tim Eyman) or trying to keep beggars from harassing us (Tim Burgess) or trying to promote legitimate political causes The Stranger happens to disagree with (Tea Party head Kirk Groenig). All of them were portrayed as imbeciles within these pages in the last year. The news staff—DOMINIC HOLDEN, CIENNA MADRID, and ELI SANDERS—no doubt approached these figures apologetically, hat in hand, offering an opportunity to clear the record, and then edited their comments and inserted interstitial put-downs to double-cross these well-meaning public servants, thereby victimizing them again. Eventually, one hopes, politicians will learn that the only way to not be ridiculed and sniggered at in the pages of The Stranger is to not acknowledge The Stranger's existence.
Elsewhere, JEN GRAVES declares an art book to be the "best of 2010," simply because it has connections to her beloved local scene—further evidence of The Stranger's embarrassing willingness to caper and beg for the momentary glow of the national spotlight. PAUL CONSTANT takes to the book section with a lame essay about two dried-up wunderkinds, tied to the issue's theme by the slightest of threads. DEREK ERDMAN provides the music section with a not-fascinating glimpse into his not-fascinating year (in pictures!). And the food section, such as it is, is composed of Stranger reader-reviews of restaurants that no longer exist—as if anyone trusts the thoughts and opinions of people dumb enough to provide content for free. The question may occur to you: Is everyone on vacation? The answer: Can't you tell?
Follow A. Birch Steen at www.twitter.com/strangerslog.