Seeing as how this week's feature section is taken up with some 3,000 words penned by none other than ERIC GRANDY (whose maturely named Fucking in the Streets column quickly rose to prominence on my "don't bother even skimming" list), I approached the idea of allowing his string of juvenile sentences into my mind with the same enthusiasm one usually reserves for allowing a catheter into one's bladder. Nine hundred words of tortured metaphors and dim insights are bad enough when confined to the music section. Let to grow and metastasize in the front of the book, this now-tumorous mass of a column risks becoming an intellectually fatal experience.
Still, one can't refuse to read a publication en masse and still call himself a public editor, so it was with a grim outlook and a full tumbler that I sat down to plod through Grandy's self-satisfied scribblings. The article is on a festival in Austin, Texas, called "South by Southwest"—-which, evidently, involves a weekend of music and film, a massive intake of alcohol, an equally massive spike in profits for local narcotics traders, and, no doubt, a through-the-roof rise in Austin's STD-infection rates. Just why a festival a thousand miles away in the Lone Star State would be of interest to The Stranger's readers remains unanswered, though justification for Grandy's flight/hotel/bar tab no doubt weighed heavily among the reasons. And for that, sadly, the paper's editors overpaid—-or at least I assume so, since I was unable to make it entirely through. Apparently, the only thing more sedating than the combo of booze and pills that helped produce Grandy's Austin opus is, well, the opus itself. I found myself wishing for that catheter (and an attractive, attentive anesthesiologist) instead.
Miraculously, Grandy's screed isn't the worst of the South by Southwest coverage found in this week's issue. SEAN NELSON—-former film editor of this publication, former associate editor (whatever that entails), and musician—-has penned an article of his own, which chronicles his experiences (first-person accounts being this paper's modus operandi) debuting a film he cowrote/starred in during the festival's film program. The title of Nelson's film: My Effortless Brilliance—-a turn of phrase I was startled to learn hadn't accompanied his byline during his tenure at The Stranger.
As for this week's news section, we find the paper's gaggle of overpaid and undereducated misanthropes filing stories on such weighty topics as organic foods, convicted felons, and wasteful government task forces. The former is your typical anticapitalism screed, the latter a bottle of spoiled whine. As for the middle travesty—-well, let's just say Pulitzer shan't be calling anytime soon.