Friday, August 31, 2018

The Village Voice

America's first alternative newsweekly -- via the Gothamist. True, there was a lot of dross in it over the years, but also stellar reporting and writing, plus actual NEWS. HARD NEWS. It came out, greasy, fragrant, and fresh, every week and we devoured it, along with the three dailies. Its original, hipper-than-thou snarky vibe was a mod self-invention of new journalism, an approach replicated since at most of the newspapers I've worked at. Infinitely influential, right down to the Mark Alan Stamanty and Lynda Barry, Tom Tomorrow, Crumb, Groening's "Life in Hell"; and JULES FEIFFER cartoons -- even the ruthless overexposed flash photos with the ambiguous cutlines.

Let's think about the contentious and liberal firebrands, the thought innovators who ran rampant on its pages. Nat Hentoff, Robert Christgau, Andrew Sarris, J. Hoberman, Ellen Willis, Wayne Barrett. Often as not, I would furiously disagree with the writer, but I learned from reading it how to attack a subject, to be remorseless, to be prickly, pugnacious in calling it as one saw it, to let the passion in to the story, to make an aesthetic argument and then vigorously defend it. It was alive! And damn feisty. Requiescat in pace.