Two thousand twelve! We stand on the cusp of a year that sounds as though it was ripped from the dusty pages of some penny dreadful, packed with rocket ships and laser beams. There is much to look forward to in this coming calendar year: amazing advancements in the field of medicine, triumphs of the human spirit at the London Olympics, and, most importantly, the much-earned defeat of Barack Hussein Obama at the hands of Mitt Romney. But first, we must scavenge through the detritus of everything that was terrible about the year that was, as unwittingly exemplified by The Stranger's annual Regrets issue.
Strangely, the most prominent regret—that a year-in-review issue should be published four days after the beginning of the New Year—appears nowhere in this parade of incompetence and shame. Instead, we get the usual celebration of Stranger writers' ineptitude (errors, as always, are shrouded in a cloak of self-effacing humor, as though to say it's okay if one is bad at one's job) mixed in with genuine regrets from members of Seattle's political, musical, and artistic inner circles, including the author SHERMAN ALEXIE and (say it ain't so, dear heart) the city councilwoman JEAN GODDEN.
Again, my handwritten letters urging members of the community to stop encouraging this sad-sack annual tradition went unheeded. I suppose that the costs of shameless self-promotion are not too high for Seattle at large—what is dignity, after all, when run up against the momentary fame provided by a fraction of a column inch in a dying gay-affairs rag?
Alongside the joyful self-debasement of the pillars of Seattle's community, cowardly Stranger writers "contribute" unsigned fictional pieces imagining the regrets of prominent newsmakers. One such piece, imagining Osama bin Laden in hell alongside a prominent Christian cartoonist, is neither funny nor original (oh, look at the small-hearted secular scumbags poking fun again and again at the decent family man who actually made something of his life!), but it does provide The Stranger with an opportunity to do something I suspect they've always wanted to do: write from the perspective of Al Qaeda's leader. Other entries—purportedly written by pepper spray, Twitter, etc.—are, I suspect, only funny when one's brain has been muddled by hours of debauched marijuana use.
I attempted to find something of substance to discuss here—perhaps a feature on the next governor of Washington State, Rob McKenna?—but there was nothing. Is this issue not dramatically smaller than recent issues? Could it be that the death knell has finally sounded? Has the moment come? Is the business community (those businesses with the resources to purchase advertising, at least) finally abandoning The Stranger and fleeing to the Seattle Times and the Puget Sound Business Journal, where their ads might actually do some good, surrounded as they would be by content that people actually read?