Each year, on the Willamette Week's anniversary, I like to do two things: lick the bare feet of a virgin nymph, and summarize our newspaper's finances. Unfortunately, in today's competitive market place, it's getting more and more difficult to spin the numbers in a way that will paint our newspaper in a favorable light. Therefore, to celebrate our 40th birthday, I've decided instead to answer some questions posed by those of you who continue to pretend to read our newspaper.

Is the Willamette Week a newspaper?

Yes! And even better, we're an "alternative weekly"--which means we're not owned by any of those filthy mega conglomerates like Nabisco, Hormel Chili, or Fresca. "Alternative" means we're hep to the needs of the "young generation," printing fascinating articles about water waste, dishonest insurance salesmen, and demonizing my mortal enemy, Phil Busse. Why, we've got a regular "newspaper-palooza" up in here, and let me tell you--we intend on getting "jiggy wid it"! Am I right, kids? Am I right?

I remember when the WW was regularly 144 pages... then 88 pages... and now four pages. Am I wrong or is the WW getting smaller?

You're wrong! While it may appear we're getting smaller, according to the numbers I just jotted down in front of me, the WW is actually three times as big! And numbers don't lie. Except when they belong to our competitors and the IRS. Then they lie.

Let's talk about the competition...

I have an idea--let's talk about something else entirely. For example, let's talk about how much money I'm making! Wowzy-woo! Lord have mercy, I'm making it hand over fist. Why? Because I've discovered the SECRET of running a successful alternative newspaper: Make the papers smaller and the price to our advertisers BIGGER! For example, see that ad directly below this article? Five years ago I would've charged maybe 300 dollars for that ad. Now, it goes for $58,000 a pop! So if I'm making $58,000 an ad, why the hell do I need an editorial staff writing all those stupid articles? It's a FACT: The Willamette Week is experiencing the most fiscally exciting year since Daddy Warbucks sold the atom bomb to the Nazis! So if you're wondering how we're doing? The answer is "Boo-YAH!"

Let's talk about the competition...

Let's talk about the awards we've won!

Let's talk about the competition...

How about let's not talk about them, and instead grab them by the throats and CRUSH THEIR NECKS like a tiny helpless kitten!

You're talking about the Portland Merc...

DON'T you say their name. DON'T you DARE say their name in my presence! Ohhh, there was a time when I was the KING of this town! I bled every advertiser dry and had them begging for more. I had so much fucking money I was getting fresh Thai tail airlifted to my office EVERY DAY. Then those Mer...those DISGUSTING ANIMALS came to town, and suddenly I've gone from being the "King of Alternative Newspapers" to "That weird guy on the corner who hands out his four-page newsletter while sitting on a hemorrhoid cushion"! Well, listen to ME, Mr. Snoopy McQueryson! The Willamette Week may be 40 years old, but as God as my witness, I will still exact my REVENGE!

Look, I need to go...

Shut up! You'll leave when I say you can leave! Ohhhhh, you don't get it, do you? Crap is still crap, and the Mercury is CRAP! At 67 years old, I think I know what the 18-30 demographic wants! They want long, dry features about disingenuous lawyers. They want the same tedious "funnies" that have been running in alternative weeklies for 25 years. And Dave Matthews! They fucking love that goddamn Dave Matthews!! And even though I despise his brand of "feel-good Hippy-Hop"--I'm going to keep giving it to them!!! Because... because... Ohhhhh... god... OHHHHH GOD!!!

Are...are you... crying?

NO, goddamn you! I'm just... I don't know... feeling a little emotional right now. The truth is I'm TIRED, and I'm BORED, and I'm MAD because I hate the Mercury and Fresca refuses to buy us out.

And so... after 40 years... the game goes on. And though I often sit in my office and pray for a stealthy ninja to slip behind me and slice my throat, I'm still proud of what the Willamette Week has accomplished. Every week we provide Portland with an independent and irreverent understanding of how their world works... even though they don't deserve to sniff my powdered bottom. I hope this column has shed some light on the inner workings of our enterprise, and I urge you to continue sending in your questions... except, of course, questions about those immature ASSHOLES at the Mercury. In conclusion, I'd like to remind everyone that we may be 40--but we're still kickin'!

Didn't the doctor diagnose those as the rickets?


Richard H. Meeker
Willamette Week