By now, word has surely trickled down to even the murkiest sewer that there has been a shake-up in command at The Stranger. Dan Savage, long the lone captain steering this vessel into an iceberg on a weekly basis, has been elevated, against all foreseeable odds and sound business sense, into a position called "editorial director." Just what, if anything, Mr. Savage will be directing—other than marijuana into some sort of smoking device—remains to be seen, but any faction under his control will surely remain incomprehensible, offensive, and corrupt.
But perhaps more troubling is the man picked to replace Mr. Savage at the helm. That man is one Christopher Frizzelle, previously the arts editor for this publication, whose "keen intellect" and "impeccable editing skills" have yet to be proven, despite whatever puffery has been published about him within these pages (often under his own byline) and, most startlingly, elsewhere. What will change in the new, Frizzelle-steered Stranger? Given that Mr. Frizzelle is, like Mr. Savage, a preening homosexual, and given that he, too, has no formal training in journalism (unless bragging about reading the New Yorker now makes one William Shawn), one suspects the answer to be: not a whole hell of a lot. Depending on your outlook—perhaps through a drug-induced haze, or, I pray, through an appalled fury at what regularly passes for publishable here—this can be counted as either good or bad news. Myself, I am withholding judgment until I see what Mr. Frizzelle intends to make of his tenure. In the meantime, I am locking inside my office safe a certain communication that I recently received from Mr. Keck, The Stranger's publisher, in which I have been assured that Mr. Savage and his newly elevated underling, regardless of their shifting titles, still lack the authority to interfere with my column. (Which, Mr. Keck readily admits, is now likely to be needed more than ever.)
On to the issue of The Stranger that is currently in hand (and I sincerely hope, dear reader, that your hands right now are touching this issue, and not hiding behind it while creating need for a tissue): As someone who has never understood the humor of Jon Stewart or his Daily Show—indeed, as someone who finds it appalling that a generation often unable to comprehend the news would so revel in the fake production of it—this week's feature, an excerpt from a book by one Lauren Weedman, can only baffle. Ms. Weedman, the story goes, was hired and then fired from The Daily Show. Now, certainly, to devoted readers of this publication the experience of being hired and then quickly fired must be a routine one—but does that make it a worthwhile story to print? We have become, evidently, a society where failures are encouraged and even given book deals (or, in the case of The Stranger, promotions). Thankfully, Ms. Weedman is not without some wit, which makes her story, while perhaps not worthy of Frizzelle's beloved New Yorker, at least a notch above the usual tripe found within these pages.