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Wednesday, October 15, 2008


posted by on October 15 at 17:14 PM

This past week’s Letters section included this one:

DEAR EDITOR: I am delighted every week to lay my hands on the newest issue of The Stranger. Every article is well written and interesting (even when they drone on and on about the newest and hottest cookie-cutter electronica snoozefest), but on every read-through there is a point where I set down the paper and sigh.

Bar Exam: STOP BOLDING RANDOM SENTENCES. [Boldface from the original] Bethany Jean Clement is grossly abusing her ctrl-B privileges. An example—”…people bedded down in run-down campers under part of the West Seattle Bridge, a community in the shadows with grit sifting down on it” [Bar Exam, Sept 25]—bolded text implies emphasis. Ms. Clement might be proud of her flowery prose (it’s cute, really), but the next time I’m attending a poetry jam, I’ll listen carefully to see if any of the professionals loudly shout the bits they’re particularly proud of (and laugh when they do). Until Clement’s habit becomes a national trend, I’ll keep making fun of this free paper.

Kavan Phalon

Here is Mr. Phalon’s envelope:


In case you can’t see it, by the drawing near the return address, it reads “An attractive young man,” while by the drawing of the goblin, it reads “The editor is some sort of goblin.” We will take Mr. Phalon at his word that he is an attractive young man; everyone knows that each and every Stranger editor is some sort of goblin.

In the Comments on the pertinent Letters section, DANE rose to my defense:

I think “Kavan Phalon” is a piping hot TWAT WAFFLE.

We’ll set DANE’s opinion aside. The thing is, every column in The Stranger employs BOLDING RANDOM SENTENCES (or phrases, as the case may be). Mr. Phalon, it is not by choice; the goblin-editors IMPOSE THIS UPON US. All the arts columns are thus imposed upon: In Art News is forced to use random bolding, as is Constant Reader and Theater News. (I might also point out that all of these run before Bar Exam in the paper, meaning if you’re going to sigh and put it down, Mr. Phalon, you have up to three previous opportunities to do so.)

So, is RANDOM BOLDING a thing of abject horror to you all? Please do tell and we will take the findings to the goblin-panel.


RSS icon Comments


I love you.

Posted by Mr. Poe | October 15, 2008 5:20 PM

I must say, response 'A typographical device nonpareil' had me rolling. Even though it's losing the vote, I think it's the only response that captures the correct combination of snark, self-awareness, sneering hipsterism and the semi-highly-literate nature that keeps me reading the Stranger even though I've moved to a different state.

Posted by rococo | October 15, 2008 5:29 PM

Bethany Jean Clement is a goddess.

Posted by Jubilation T. Cornball | October 15, 2008 5:34 PM

The real problem with The Stranger, in my humble opinion, is that there isn't enough random bolding of words. What the hell is the matter with you people anyway? Are the long-running rumors about you all being a bunch of pot-addled incompetents true?

Get with the program, Stranger-niks!

Posted by Cookie W. Monster | October 15, 2008 5:45 PM

Not all random bolding -- supposedly random -- is equal.

When you randomly bold most of the Stranger, you get nothing. "Randomly" (or is it?) bold Bar Exam, and you get poetry.

Posted by elenchos | October 15, 2008 5:49 PM

+25 bolding points for proper usage of the epithet "TWAT WAFFLE".

Posted by kid icarus | October 15, 2008 5:51 PM

I always thought random bolding was the best part of Rex Morgan, M.D.

Posted by Ben | October 15, 2008 5:52 PM

Actually, I'm on the attractive young man's side. I mean, really, what do you have against italics?

Posted by Matt Fuckin' Hickey | October 15, 2008 5:53 PM

It's funny when does it.

Posted by Dougsf | October 15, 2008 5:54 PM

I like bolded bits. I imagine the author to be raising his or her voice at those parts. I imagine Lindy West banging the table with her fist. I think they're funny.

Posted by Ariel | October 15, 2008 5:56 PM

Bolding works well for the names of people, and perhaps places and events, but other than that, not so much.

Posted by nightlifejitters | October 15, 2008 6:00 PM

Alas, the creativity displayed in the epithet "twat waffle" does not outweigh its offensiveness.

Posted by greendyke | October 15, 2008 6:46 PM

Ugh. Our academic adviser for my high school newspaper insisted that we use bolded highlights--it was written into our official stylebook.

So when you're using random boldfaced highlights, that's the level of sophistication you're working at--That of a crappy high school student newspaper in the Midwest in 1992-1994.

If you're not Rolling Stone magazine, then knock it off.

Posted by Hoyt Clagwell | October 15, 2008 8:10 PM

@ 12
Yes it does.

Posted by blue barberpole | October 15, 2008 9:14 PM

Add random Capitalization of nouns.

Posted by tomasyalba | October 15, 2008 9:16 PM

"Fortune favors the bold." - Virgil

Posted by Rob Lightner | October 15, 2008 9:40 PM

Alright...let's have young Kavan Phalon step forward & show himself.

We can decide if he is attractive or even hot.

Posted by blackhook | October 16, 2008 12:10 AM

I'm in the habit of referring to this bolding pattern as Slogbolding when I encounter its use in other publications/blogs. As in, "He wrote a really rambling essay and then tried to enforce non-existent coherency by adding Slogbolding."

As a non-Seattle reader of the Slog but not the Stranger, this accounts for my not calling it simply Strangerbolding. What do you editors call it?

Posted by Christin | October 16, 2008 6:29 AM

I've always hated the redundant bolding, but never took the time to write in. It's stupid. You make us all look and feel like stupid children. Please stop doing it.

Posted by Matthew | October 16, 2008 6:53 AM

"people bedded down in run-down campers under part of the West Seattle Bridge, a community in the shadows with grit sifting down on it”

Hm. Maybe if y'all hadn't been so busy pissing with the bold tags, you'd have noticed the missing comma, and the place where "on" was incorrectly used in place of "upon".

Posted by A Non Imus | October 16, 2008 9:28 AM

maybe you could make some sort of secret code or puzzle out of all the bold text--the election issue bold text could be a puzzle invitation to a secret party or cult meeting...

that way, you might actually have to use your brains a little bit, and the rest of us wouldn't be so bored stupid.

Posted by brian | October 16, 2008 10:30 AM

It's kind of like throwing up the "quote fingers" all the time. Which I only do when I'm on my way to being wasted. So, you be the judge.

Posted by Nay | October 16, 2008 11:14 AM

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