Thursday, November 14, 2013

When the Village Voice was a newspaper


I love that people still use cash in New York. It feels more human. And, people still use rakes. I’ve only seen one leaf blower. Not that there isn’t plenty of other pollution and noise in New York. And pollution. And noise. This middle-aged guy with a thick New York accent stops me on the street and says you look great, everything about you, you’re 100% East Village. Why didn’t this ever happen when I lived in New York? I used to think everything good in New York happened at night, and that was the only reason to live here, but now I actually think it’s much better during the day. People are more like people. Yes, they say the freaks come out at night, and I was always one of those freaks, thank you, but the problem is that also the most horrible, fake, status-crazed, shallow, vapid, commodity-driven hideousities, that’s who also comes out at night. Maybe one of the good things about being out during the day is that so many of the worst people are stuck in offices or still sleeping. I will say that I get way more positive attention on the street here than in Seattle, and I don’t know what that means exactly.

But have you spoken to Julie, our automated ticket agent? Julie can assist you in planning trips or making reservations. I don’t read the New Yorker, but sometimes I pick it up to look at the book reviews, just to see what the New Yorker thinks we should think matters. The titles are almost never interesting, but sometimes there’s a good book essay, so I read it. Most of the reviews are on a page called “Briefly Noted.” Today, the first review starts, “This buoyant, encyclopedic history…” Is this seventh grade English?

I remember when the Village Voice was a newspaper. I remember when the Village Voice contained articles, information, insight, debate, sparks of light and darkness, intimacy, explosion, art, extravagance, wildness, vibrancy, hope, desire, clamor, tragedy, controversy, contradiction, and all sorts of bad consumer choices. I remember when the Village Voice was a big part of my experience of New York – before, during, and after I lived here. Now it is nothing. No, it’s worse than nothing. Because it pretends to be something. I look through it in 5 minutes, without interest, and then I put it in the recycling.

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