Wednesday, January 05, 2011

You Mean Wayne Barrett Was Still at the Village Voice?

You Mean the Village Voice Was Still Being Published?

Yes, it really is a big deal when star investigative reporter/bulldog/politicians' pain-in-the-ass Wayne Barrett gets the heave-ho from the Village Voice. And then fellow Voicer Tom Robbins added an exclamation point when he quit in protest.
Barrett was at the Voice since 1973. You could probably find his mug next to muckraker in the dictionary. But being a part of the furniture going on 38 years also means you're making a certain salary, and Barrett's six-figure check was a little too rich for the fast-fading Voice alternative-weekly empire.
So, while his exit is a blow, let's put it into perspective. The Voice stopped being relevant sometime in the mid-90s, when it had a greater preoccupation with the porn ads in the back than with the content in the front.
The tone became more frothy. Iconoclasts were quiety shown the door. Its once-formidable roster of critics was gradually winnowed down to a B-list of less-compelling scribes.
Through it all remained the likes of Barrett, but when you're mired at a place like the Voice, even his best work could amount to one-hand clapping. So, his departure is the end of an era, but little else.
However, it could also be viewed as an opportunity, even for one of the bottom-lined-challenged dailies to pick up a thorn in the side who can still bring it at age 66. True, it's anything but a sure thing Barrett would be a good fit. After all, the Jack Newfield era at the Post was hardly one for the ages. But it's worth a gamble to show readers what they missed by not reading the Voice. Which was wasn't much, except for Barrett.

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