Village Voice Fires J. Hoberman

When I was a young film critic and a student at Columbia the holy grail for me was having a byline in the Village Voice film section. I never did manage that feat, but the Voice remained my benchmark for mainstream film criticism for many, many years. Then the current owners, aptly described as the New Times syndicate, took over the paper and quickly put their stamp on it. Like when a thug stamps on your face.

They remade the paper by firing or forcing out as many of the regulars as possible. The Voice went from being on of the fearless progressive voices in my town to being a glorified shopper that was distinguished primarily by its utter irrelevance.

The one exception was their retention of Jim Hoberman as their lead film critic. And now, he is gone as well. (Read the story on IndieWire here.)

I don't know what idiotic master plan the syndicate had and has, although I'm sure that break the strong union presence at the paper was a big part of it. What I do know is this: the Village Voice ceased being a meaningful participant in the life of New York City six years ago when the carpetbagging bastards from New Times began to destroy it. With Hoberman gone, it is equally irrelevant to film culture in America, which it once defined. It's a free rag, so I can't tell you not to buy it, but you don't have to patronize its advertisers, and you can let them know why you are withdrawing your trade.