Friday, September 01, 2006

VILLAGE VOICE FIRINGS: Room for more sex

Upon opening the morning's e-mail, I learned one of my favorite editors, Ed Park, has been let go from the Village Voice.

Sackings have been the thing at the Voice since the Phoenix-based New Times chain bought the altie, late last year or so. Almost everyone associated with the 'old' flavor of the Voice has been tossed, arts criticism diminished -- to make room for more hard-hitting journalism (presumably like this, as noted by another) and less punditocracy. The latter, of which it is said, can be delivered through blogs. (And include some recent mumble on making the Voice more driven by writerly talent, as if it wasn't.)

When one is told such things, it's interpreted as cant and phlogiston.

What it generally means: more fluff and crap, less news, more of making like NYC is a -ville or a -town in the middle of the country and the fulfillment of a desire on the part of the owners to finally get rid of all the wretches who've plagued them from the snob city by the sea.

Chuck Eddy, music editor, who worked with a great deal of my copy for the Voice for half a decade, was tossed in early summer, for the sin of having bad taste. Don Forst, original Voice managing editor, who had commisssioned my old "Weapon of the Week" Iraq war column for the paper, left at the end of last year. And now the Dean of Rock Critics, Robert Christgau (again, for matters of taste), and book editor Ed Park, as well as many others, are gone, too.

As for journalism at the Voice, viewers from the web have been able to tell for a the past few years what's most popular at the paper.

Sex columns, photo shoots of partying and club-going -- Keeping Married Sex Hot (!!), Advice for Young Queers (!!!) and "JonBenet" !!!! And don't forget the regular cartoons or this syndicated journalistic bottled lightning.

Utterly scintillating.

Consider Dan Savage whose syndicated sex column is written from Seattle where he edits The Stranger -- a direct competitor of New Times/Voice Media publication, the Seattle Weekly, has regularly been the most read at the Voice, if one goes by the paper's net metrics.

One can only imagine the heights of journalism that could be scaled with at least half the mag devoted to even more erections from the man-sodomized-by-horse-then-dies beat.

Now, it would have occurred to a logical person to dispense with the gnomic wits of sex content, gossip and like-minded probings in favor of preserving columns by Robert Christgau and Chuck Eddy, book reviews, etc.

But that's just me. I'm not only an idiosyncratic hermit but I have bad taste, too.


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