1a. If you can think of a single thing more annoying than CHARLES MUDEDE writing about hiphop, please explain what that annoying thing could possibly be.
1b. In his year-end hiphop wrap-up piece, Mudede's claims to be of "the street" feel especially strained. One begins to get the sense that if Seattle were a more impolite city, he would have been "called out" on this point by now. Is this study guide racist for pointing out that Mudede is a middle-aged writer for an alternative weekly and so perhaps not the best arbiter of taste for a youthful, street-level art form?
2. This week's feature is titled "What Music Did to Us in 2013." It features some good writing (from DAVID SCHMADER, EMILY NOKES, and DAVE SEGAL) and some bad writing (PAUL CONSTANT, obviously). Rate the pieces from best- to worst-written and support your decision with textual evidence. If Constant isn't your choice for worst-written, please readjust your ratings chart until it reflects reality.
3. GOLDY thinks downtown needs a new playground. Who cares? Is it our job to provide entertainment for other people's children? It's usually easy to discover where Goldy gets his story ideas by determining which liberal outfit fed him the story—SEIU plays him like a shiny trombone, for example—so which liberal organization do you believe is behind Goldy's crusade this time around?
4. This week, JEN GRAVES has bucked a four-year trend and written an art lead that is good. Part of the reason that her story is compelling is that it begins with an actual human being who is having an actual human problem. (In this case, the human is Virginia Wright and the problem is that her art space may be closing soon.) Write a letter of encouragement to Graves explaining that when you begin a piece like this, people want to read it, as opposed to her usual pieces, which begin with overinflated, undersupported grandiose hypotheses about culture, or a breathless description of some "art piece" involving flaming balls of cotton and photographs of nude Samoans with the Magna Carta written on their bellies.
5. DAN SAVAGE turns over the reins of his column to a clitoris enthusiast. Given that Savage is probably still in therapy to deal with the one time he saw a human clitoris, it was a wise move for him to bring an "expert" in. This brings up a broader question: Since Savage so obviously hates women, isn't it time for a woman to write Savage Love full-time?