Friends, homos, and countrymen—buy me a beer. I come to bury this column, not to praise it. The derided reputation of any journalist lives on even after he leaves his paper for a new job; the sincere message he tried to communicate is often written off with his last paycheck. So let it be with Small World.

Fans of Mademoiselle Clay Aiken have indicated that I besmirched the Bemoussed One's name to bolster my own. If that's true, God knows hundreds of frothing Midwestern e-mails in pink fonts have fully punished me for it. Now, if the Scientologists and Alexander experts and pope devotees will give me leave—and I know they will, since their comprehensive e-mails are proof of apparently limitless free time—I'd like to say a few words before I sign off for one last week.

Detractors have carped that my lavender sarcasm is nothing but ambition. Tom Cruise is filming Mission: Impossible III, has finally impregnated a woman he only recently met, and believes that Brooke Shields' prescriptive medication kept her from fulfilling her enormous potential to be . . . Brooke Shields. I, meanwhile, am desperately mounting neither past successes nor gullible ex–WB stars, and when I found out Brooke was a little down in the mouth after childbirth, I stopped dissing Suddenly Susan out of simple respect. I ask you—whose ambitions are more worthy of detraction?

Yet, many still claim I'm ambitious. I've spent a lot of time using pop culture to nakedly put forth the unpopular notion that homosexuals have a long way to go before resting on the syndication of Will & Grace. Pop culture is sniffed at by ersatz aesthetes, and even many homosexuals don't like to be reminded that young fairies in Iowa don't have it any easier just because metropolitan 'mos get to toss back beers with straight hipsters and act ironic about Liza Minnelli. Yeah, this has definitely been my ticket to the top. And the men? All over me.

But I'm not writing this to disprove what others have said. I'm here to speak what I know. I know that I tried to write a weekly column without any walls, and sometimes it wasn't easy to keep the wind out. A lot of you appreciated it, anyway, and a lot of you wrote to thank me for attempting to laugh while standing in the cold. For this, I am eternally grateful. A lot more of you, however, wrote to demand that Sam and Frodo are not that way, so you'll just have to bear with me—a little bit of my heart will be buried with Small World, and I want at least a piece of it back.

I hope that my weekly ramblings have caused someone somewhere to look a little more deeply at supposedly stupid shit. For one thing, stupid shit can save lives: How many people survived the Depression by sitting in movie theaters admiring the kaleidoscopic patterns of smiling chorus girls sporting neon violins? For another, stupid shit is an illuminating, sometimes frightening peek into the objectives of the people who produce it, and the needs of the people who willingly consume it.

Keep your eyes peeled. And thanks for the memories.

Editor's note: This is Steve Wiecking's last week with Seattle Weekly. Our small world will seem even smaller without him.

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