It is time again for the annual Genius Awards, in which the usual band of sycophantic reprobates who fancy themselves to be glamorous benefactors award $5,000 each to selected "geniuses" in the various arts disciplines that ostensibly fall under The Stranger's purview. In the past, I have suspected this whole operation to be a front for a money-laundering scam of some sort—how can a declining newspaper in a declining industry have the resources to dole out money to artists simply for doing the useless things artists do? Here is what the artists in this issue have "accomplished," according to the puerile and damning profiles: demolition (DK Pan), blasphemy (Lesley Hazleton), making videos of themselves (Gary Hill), having long hair (John Osebold), and "noise" (The Intelligence). Can you think of a worse investment?
The real story in this week's issue is at the very top of three of the pages of profiles, notations that certain of the awards this year are sponsored by various corporate entities. The visual art award, for instance, is provided by Chihuly Garden and Glass, which recently broke ground in Seattle Center despite The Stranger's hysterical opposition to that project (and despite the fact that art critic JEN GRAVES largely eschews glass art in her arbitrarily selected aesthetic standards). Moreover, the literature award is funded by Amazon.com, which has been the subject of many an illiterate tirade by one PAUL CONSTANT, who chafes at the local success story because, as near as I can interpret his beliefs, "corporations are, like, evil an' stuff, maaaaan." And the music award is presented by SmartWater, which, merely by having "smart" in its name, stands in utter opposition to the staff of The Stranger. These organizations—for their spirit of giving, for taking the high road, for being the idiomatic "better man"—deserve better.
You will note that the news section of this week's Stranger does not fall under the whole "genius" rubric. This is because the news section was compiled by idiots. Setting aside the typical barb tossed in my man Dickie Conlin's direction from one CIENNA MADRID—has the INS been alerted to her work status, by the way?—we have a jeremiad declaring "war on cars." Is this piece meant as satire? It is too labyrintine, not to mention boring, to be interpreted. Under DOMINIC HOLDEN's leadership, the news section grows increasingly quixotic—which is a polite way of saying detached from reality—every week. Here is a full disclosure that should run before every news section: Mr. Holden hates Seattle with every fiber of his being and is trying with his pathetic news section to destroy the city you love.