The defining challenge of serving as public editor for a newspaper like The Stranger (other than the avalanche of journalistic travesties one finds oneself buried under on a weekly basis) is the task of coming up with fresh comments, critiques, and insults week after week. Eskimos have hundreds of words to describe snow, and for good reason. But English, my native tongue, having evolved in a culture accustomed to triumph and progress (1066 notwithstanding), does not afford me enough ways to describe the backward-trending, perpetual catastrophe that is the filthy "news" product you hold in your hands.
Worse, whatever insights I may offer routinely fall on deaf ears, it would seem, both inside Stranger offices and out. For six years now, I have gone to great pains to chronicle, catalog, and lambaste this publication for its many flaws and lies, as well as call attention to the danger to public order that it represents. And yet, despite my best efforts—indeed, despite any and all common sense—The Stranger remains as popular, if not more popular, than ever. Put simply, it is a monster—a wretched, puerile beast—and it appears there is to be no stopping it.
So with a deep sadness, albeit one tempered by sweet relief, I shall now set this noxious burden down. Today, I officially announce my resignation from the post of public editor. Publisher Tim Keck has already been notified that this will be my last column. Whether he chooses to fill the position does not concern me, though I would caution anyone interested in the job to be prepared for an unrelenting stream of abuse from the paper's thin-skinned—and thin-of-intellect—writers and editors. Here, for example, is a recent missive I received from associate editor Charles Mudede:
You are not a true critic, for you have not the soul of a critic. Yours is a soul not concerned with the judgment art but with the artlessness of judgment. Your words about me mean nothing, just as the heart of Africa means nothing to the colonist. It is on you to understand this. I cannot help you.
Perhaps it won't shock Stranger readers to learn that this publication's writers produce the same incomprehensible dreck in their private correspondence as they do in their public scribblings, but I must say that it still shocks me. To call Stranger writers "hacks" is an understatement; they are weak-willed, purposefully oblivious, and history, if it remembers them at all, shall not be kind. And yet, despite numerous warnings from me—and by numerous, I mean some 300 columns critiquing 5,000 or more pages of content over the years—you, the paper's readership, have remained faithful.
Why? Why? Why?
That question once plagued me, I'm ashamed to admit; but now I no longer care. You have the juvenile "alternative weekly" you deserve, dear Stranger readers. (Alternative to what, I sometimes wonder. The next incomprehensible text message from a member of your syphilitic "posse" or "krew" or whatever it is that young people today call their wastrel associates?) At this juncture, I have to assume that there is a market for the kind of misinformation and juvenilia contained between the pages of this publication. A generation of potato-headed children, anxious to spend their evenings at some miserable film, art opening, or musical performance on the recommendation of a pack of like-minded chimps, keeps this affront to newsprint alive. As a readership, you have failed—yourselves, your country, your forbearers, and, at some crucial stage in your education, reading comprehension. If the average Stranger reader has a mind, it's subpar; if he has a mortgage, it's subprime. To quote Mudede, I cannot help you.