1. This week sees the publication of a new issue of A&P, The Stranger's arts quarterly. This summer edition of A&P is made up almost entirely of brief profiles of the nominees for this year's Genius Awards; the rest of the magazine consists of a series of calendars for arts events happening as far in the future as early September. If you were forced to write a mission statement for A&P based on this particular issue, what would it be? "All the stuff we couldn't fit in The Stranger, plus an unwieldy three months' worth of calendars, for those very few special people who plan that far ahead"? Is that a compelling reason for a publication to exist? Why or why not?
2. CHARLES MUDEDE begins a book review by putting the words of a mycologist in the mouth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Mudede even remarks on his own cleverness in the piece, saying he's aware that he's probably alarming Christians with his little thought experiment. In truth, though, Mudede's tactic feels rote and uninspired, like a very old lion trying to gum something to death with its once-mighty jaws. Has Mudede lost it? Did he ever really have it? What is "it," anyway?
3. JEN GRAVES contributes a long and enthusiastic piece about a new exhibit at the Seattle Asian Art Museum. In the context of her usual work, it is surprisingly readable. What is different about this piece of Graves's writing when compared to all the other turgid pieces of pretentiousness that she delivers to The Stranger and, unfortunately, to us all on a weekly basis? Is this piece a fluke, or could we be on the verge of witnessing an upward trend in Graves's prose? If the latter, why now?
4. For the last year and some change, the writing of EMILY NOKES has been quietly transforming from nonsensical blather—think cut-rate Lindy West—to generic music criticism. In her review of Naomi Punk's new album in this issue of The Stranger, she refers to the music's "canorous heave," which demonstrates the predictable thesaurus-humping of the genre, and calls it "abstract post-grunge," which is a phrase that means exactly nothing, another hallmark. Now that Nokes has evolved from bratty language-molester to typical music writer, the question is: Which version of Nokes do you think is worse? Do you wish Nokes would return to her pre-literate state, or is it easier to ignore her now that she's writing Pitchfork-level pabulum?