Moment of Silence: The Village Voice
News is rapidly breaking that the dismantling of the remaining identity and integrity of New York's venerable Village Voice - the founding paper of the alternative press, folks, however much bashed-about by changes of ownership over the years - is pretty much complete. Not only have they fired the likes of veteran investigative reporter James Ridgeway, but now music editor and writer Chuck Eddy (one of the more influential critics of the last decade, I'd argue), who helped lead the protest supporting Ridgeway. Reports also seem to indicate that "dean of rock critics" Robert Christgau has lost his editing position, though perhaps not his writing position. News on this remains fuzzy. Eddy is being shitcanned, they say, for being "too academic," which is amusingly incongruous for anyone who's read him, and somehow seems to be a way of saying he covered too much country and heavy metal too thoughtfully (?). (See ILM thread ad infinitum.)
While the Voice music section has become a lot more telegraphic and less indepth this decade, it still helped define the territory. And one has to wonder how much more of this is coming - what's going to happen to the film section? The Voice Literary Supplement? Etc. And that's aside from the landmark this sets in the process of the chain-syndicating of the once "alternative" press, which is rapidly becoming a cookie-cutter lifestyle publication niche that barely even pretends to being anything more than a shopping guide for downtown hip-white yuppies.
The only comfort being that as it reaches this nadir, a new wave of alternative publications surely will emerge to take its place. Wistfully I hope some of them actually take the physical form of ink on paper.