In 1972, the Pulitzer Prize committee saw fit to tarnish its good name by bestowing its honor upon Mormon huckster Jack Anderson, whose acts of journalistic treason deliberately placed American soldiers in harm’s way. This week, the committee added another blemish to the hunk of metal bearing Joe Pulitzer’s good name by awarding The Stranger with an award of its own.
To be fair, the award’s named recipient, ELI SANDERS, is by all accounts worthy of the recognition, for his June 2011 story about a brutal home invasion/sexual assault/burglary in the godforsaken neighborhood of South Park was indeed excellent journalism, a rare blast of compassion—and sobriety—for a scribbler whose archives are littered with assaults on both grammar and common decency. I therefore tip my hat to him and plead that he remembers the sense of honor that accompanies such common decency the next time he breaks out his pen.
Still and all, the fact that this besotted heap of dangerous pulp can now claim it has “won” a Pulitzer is a ghastly prospect. Like Anderson, who was legitimized by the committee for his decade-long blitzkrieg on the honorable Richard Nixon, the name The Stranger now salts hallowed journalistic ground. The thought of all the crowing that is to come—the parading around at the impending Pulitzer luncheon, the inevitable jacking up of advertisement prices, the false impression that readers around the country will be under about the goals and mores of The Stranger—gives me a headache so prodigious I lack the vocabulary to describe it.
There is a bright spot to be found in this week’s shameful events...
for the very issue you are holding was obviously cobbled together before the Pulitzer committee’s bout of madness. Issues like this will do more harm to The Stranger’s credibility than any prize could possibly redeem. To wit, DOMINIC HOLDEN impeccably illustrates The Stranger’s unworthiness by expending an ungodly amount of words bemoaning development in the very Pike/Pine gay ghetto this paper has consistently buggered over the years. More Leviticus mocking can be found in a piece by REBECCA BROWN, whose normally talented pen is squandered from the piece’s very first line of “Julie Andrews made me gay, so I became a writer.” Egad. Then there is SHERMAN ALEXIE, who continues the assault on his once noteworthy station by penning another missive from South Lake Union. Given everything aforesaid, it’s fitting his chosen topic this week is a rat infestation; I’d suggest that the Pulitzer committee take note, but my humorous jibe would no doubt sail over their incompetent heads. And is there something about this new issue that smells faintly of toast? Is this some new, cheaper paper? I wouldn’t be at all surpris
EDITOR’S NOTE: A. Birch Steen, The Stranger’s irascible ombudsman for more than a decade, passed away on Monday, April 16, after suffering a stroke, according to a family member. Mr. Steen was discovered in his study, slumped over an incomplete column. In honor of his years of service, these are his last, regrettably incomplete, words. He will be missed by a great number of our readers.