Picked up the Village Voice this morning on my way to the train, which I hardly ever do except on the weeks when I'm checking to see if we're in the listings section. Riding to work I read their obituary of Norman Mailer. I've said it before, but this has really been the year when that generation of quintessential 20th Century New Yorkers is disappearing! Mailer ran a semi-serious campaign for Mayor in the '60s, on the platform that NYC should secede from the Union. His suggestion on what to call the rest of the state after New York City gets to keep the name? "Buffalo.".
Anyway, I freely admit that I didn't know he'd co-founded the Voice over 50 years ago. He put up the money and came up with the name. Reading some excerpts of his punchy prose from the column he wrote for the paper, about the Village's culture explosion in the late '50s, it reminded me of why I don't read the Voice now. Especially since the paper was scooped up by a national alterna-weekly comglomerate publisher, it's become a pale and flaccid version of its former self. The writing has become noticeably weaker, the stories more tabloidy, less local (except for Michael Musto's column, still worth reading) and certainly not required reading, by any means. Which is a shame, since the Voice is the model on which every City's alternative weekly was modeled.