Saturday, January 03, 2009

The End of an Era

It's actually been a few days since this was announced, but I didn't hear about it until this morning. The Village Voice has laid off Nat Hentoff.

Now 83, Hentoff had been writing for the paper since 1958--almost as long as it's been in existence:
“With all due immodesty, I think it doesn’t help to lose me because people have told me they read The Voice not only for me, but certainly for me,” was his wry comment on the layoff, which was ostensibly brought on by the Voice's financial woes.

As folks say around here, that ain't just whistlin' Dixie. But for Hentoff, I'm hard pressed to think of any other reason why I might have ever gone to the Voice's website. From what I've seen there, I've had to conclude that about half the material in it (excluding ads, which seem to account for the lion's share of the site) is of interest only to New Yorkers and possibly those visiting the city and looking for things to do there. The other half appears to consist of sordid depravity this middle-aged country girl couldn't begin to envision. That doesn't add up to a whole lot of readin' fer those of us out here in the boonies.

As a college girl, I became a Hentoff fan through his syndicated columns in the Washington Post and other newspapers. While out of the country during the 90's, I got my fix of him, George Will, and a few other good writers by way of them newfangled internets (once we got online.) This inevitably led me to the Voice's site, but I abandoned them a couple of years ago in favor of Jewish World Review on observing that, strangely enough, Hentoff's pro-life columns didn't seem to be getting published there anymore (did the paper's takeover by Time have anything to do with that? Hmmm.) While desperate times may call for desperate measures, I'm suspicious that the columnist's refusal to walk in lockstep with leftists whose respect for the civil rights of others is limited to the extrauterine able-bodied may have made tough times a handy excuse for the editorial board to rid itself of a turbulent writer.

I believe the sacking of Hentoff, who's been in the business long enough to have interviewed Che Guevara (he wasn't wowed, by the way,) will ultimately be a greater loss than a savings to the Voice. It seems I am not alone in this view.

Enjoy what remains of your slow decline, Voice. I'm sticking with Nat.



Blogger Tim said...

When I lived in NYC for a few years back in the mid 80's I always wanted to put out a parody of the Voice called the Village Void but since most of my meager salary went to food and rent, it never happened.

I'm surprised to hear that they actually had even one good writer on staff at any time in their history.

12:53 PM  
Blogger CMinor said...

Thanx for stopping by, Tim.

Unfortunately for them, they just lost the one they had. He is good, and I consider him well worth reading even when I disagree with him.

Fortunately for the rest of us, he's still writing and we have the Internet.

7:12 PM  

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