CRITIC, PLAYWRIGHT, AND ESSAYIST George Bernard Shaw once wrote, "Newspapers are unable, seemingly, to discriminate between a bicycle accident and the collapse of civilization." Mr. Shaw should be ecstatic that he never lived to see the Portland Mercury, a pathetic attempt at newspapering that reports exclusively on bicycle accidents and has significantly hastened the collapse of civilization.
As the Mercury's ombudsman (and the author of its only decent column), I have been given the eye-rollingly obvious assignment to recount the history of this immoral shitrag, as well as to "highlight" the narcissistic retards that continue to gleefully run it into the ground.
In the beginning (and still, to this dark day), the Mercury was an overeager, desperate-to-please spinoff of The Stranger, a Seattle "alternative weekly" only slightly less insulting in content and tone. The Mercury launched in 2000, stealing its name from a muckraking Portland paper of the 1860s that spread so many malicious lies that both its editor and publisher ended up in prison. (If only today's lax legal system would be kind enough to do us the same favor.)
In the early years, the Mercury's "editorial staff" was comprised of professional failures (Editor in Chief Wm. Steven Humphrey, News Editor Phil Busse), drug addicts (Katia Dunn, Katie Shimer), and the clinically insane (Music Editor Julianne Shepherd). Later, the Mercury somehow found and employed even more moronic miscreants: hipsters with Asperger's (Arts Editor Justin Wescoat Sanders, future Music Editor Ezra Ace Caraeff), limp-wristed dweebs (Senior Editor Erik Henriksen, yet another music editor, Zac Pennington), and drunken sexual deviants (Managing Editor Marjorie Skinner, various illiterate interns).
These employees—with the help of countless other ill-advised hires—built, and continue to build, the tackiest monument to the printed word ever perpetrated upon society. AND THEY'VE BEEN ALLOWED TO DO THIS FOR 10 FUCKING YEARS! I have but one question to ask you, Portland: Why haven't you stopped them?
Like train conductors in Nazi Germany who blithely transported their human cargo to the death showers, every week Portland's ignorant citizenry turns a blind eye to the ever-escalating idiocy that is the Mercury. Here are just a few examples of the Mercury's puerile behavior that have irreparably damaged our community. Your oblivious complacency allowed it to happen.
Katie Shimer's article "Now We're Cooking... with Pot": While the Oregonian and Willamette Week win Pulitzers for investigative reporting, the most popular story the Mercury has ever printed remains Ms. Shimer's collection of marijuana recipes. You get the paper you deserve, hippies.
Blatant and continuous grammatical errors: Where shall I begin? When Ms. Shimer wrote a feature on Fox news reporter Shauna Parsons, misspelling her name for the entirety of the article? When Mr. Busse made a ridiculously similar error by mangling the name of the Portland Timbers? When the Mercury managed to misspell THEIR OWN NAME on their COVER? I can go on.
Killing innocent animals for entertainment: In 2002, Ms. Dunn raised, murdered, and ate her pet chicken for a feature article. In 2007, then-reporter Matt Davis happily slit the throat of a helpless sheep for a story. Coming in 2013: graphic documentation of the Mercury staff's countless late-term abortions!
News Editor Phil Busse running for mayor: Forget the obvious conflict of interest—enough of you voted for this drooling halfwit that he actually came in third! PORTLAND'S ELECTIONS ARE NOT A GAME, SHITLIPS.
Various idiocy: While this particular topic could fill volumes, let's just touch on the high points, shall we? Katia Dunn arrested and jailed for train hopping. Marjorie Skinner volunteering to be kidnapped—to the delight of serial murderers everywhere. Matt Davis. "Portland's Meanest Gay Contest." Publisher Rob Crocker dressed in a bee costume, drunk out of his gourd and reeking of marijuana cigarettes, challenging innocent readers to fisticuffs. Matt Davis. Burying Zac Pennington in a coffin on Halloween, then refusing to dig him up. Attempting to join the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies by bribing its voting body with pot brownies. An unnamed employee becoming so inebriated at a Mercury holiday party that he stole a car. The Mercury's vomit-slicked fourth anniversary party, where the newspaper happily dispensed unlimited free cans of the caffeinated alcoholic beverage Sparks. Matt Davis.
While it could be weakly argued that the Mercury has done a modicum of "good" over the years—blathering on about homeless rights, somehow collecting over $100,000 with their holiday charity auctions, ripping up lazy Greshamites' tape left on Portland's sidewalks at the Rose Parade—rest assured that any positive effect generated by these oblivious dipshits is utterly accidental, much in the way that once every thousand tries, a filthy baboon might use its feces to paint something crudely resembling a sunset.
And yet: After 10 incessant years of anti-intellectual drivel and porn, the Mercury is somehow—unfathomably—more profitable and popular than ever before. For this, fuckface, you carry the full weight of blame. Would you allow a drug-addled intern to hop around a kindergarten classroom waving a meat cleaver?
WELL, GUESS WHAT NEXT WEEK'S MERCURY FEATURE IS ABOUT?