As predicted a few months ago, American rock ‘n’ roll critic Robert Christgau has been fired from the rapidly-decaying Village Voice. The Voice was the first of the “Alternative Newsweeklies”, with a strong lefty political stance mixed with arts coverage from the Beats to the hippies and the punks. Nowadays, the Voice is owned by the New Times Media cartel (renamed Village Voice Media to take advantage of the paper’s cachet) and some claim the paper has lost its status as the de facto mouthpiece of “downtown” (not just New York) political and artistic life.
Christgau has been at the paper since the 60s, and is widely regarded as the “Dean” of American rock critics. Eschewing the lifestyle excesses of colleagues like the late Lester Bangs and the intellectualism of Greil Marcus, Christgau just listened to records and told us what he liked and didn’t, and organized the community to produce the “Pazz and Jop” critical poll each year. When that failed to appear in 2006, alongside all of the other changes at the Voice, and the ascendancy of the web as the medium for discussing pop culture, the end was probably inevitable. But still sad.