Questions to Guide Your Reading of The Stranger
1. In the internet age, newspapers are understood to be oft-forgotten repositories for yesterday's news. Assuming you are reading this on Wednesday, this issue of The Stranger is chockablock with column inches devoted, literally, to yesterday's news. (If you're reading it later in the week, the news is even older.) The stories about legal marijuana retail stores include ANNA MINARD's interview with Pete Holmes about tourism and marijuana, ANSEL HERZ's account from the first day of a Bellingham pot shop, CHARLES MUDEDE's account of the first day of a Vancouver pot shop, DOMINIC HOLDEN's account of the first day of a Seattle pot shop, DOMINIC HOLDEN and BEN LIVINGSTON's account of how the Washington State Liquor Control Board botched the launch of pot shops, and CIENNA MADRID's interviews with old-school pot dealers. Roughly 15 percent of this information is still important today; even less will still be useful later. Why would The Stranger position itself as gatekeeper to recent history like this? Could it be that the staff is, in the parlance of the street, "getting high on their own supply"?
2. Once you sift through the old news, you'll discover that a hefty chunk of the rest of the paper—nearly 14 pages—is devoted to spending time outside. Yes, exactly that. No, nothing more: It's a collection of brief anecdotes and reviews written by the Stranger staff about drinking, eating, and doing drugs in parks, on patios, etc. in good weather. Given the aforementioned obsession with a much-publicized event, is The Stranger's interest in facts like "the sun is hot" and "pleasant weather is enjoyable" even a surprise anymore?
3. Since we're strolling—crawling, really—down memory lane, why not mention an overlong autobiographical account written by MEGAN SELING about how much she enjoys the music of the Go-Go's? Is it possible that the entire Stranger staff just took last week off for summer vacation, and that this issue is what happens when an organization stops trying?
4. KELLY O's Drunk of the Week "column" is still running? Even she seems sick of it—it's renamed Bartender of the Week in this issue, and it's not about inebriation at all (except, perhaps, Kelly O's). Are the words "played out" ever uttered at Stranger headquarters, or were they banned along with any instance of originality or energy in the pages of The Stranger? Given the subject of the bloated, anti-newsy news section this week, does the question "What are they smoking?" even need to be asked anymore?