Vile Days, by Gary Indiana,
edited by Bruce Hainley.
Semiotext(e). 600 pages. $29.95.
Courtesy of Harper’s Magazine
How unromantic can a deathbed scene get? A test case: one day in 2015, The New Yorker’s art critic, Peter Schjeldahl, makes his way to the Village Voice’s Cooper Square offices, seeking to rescue the columns he wrote for the alt-weekly in the 1990s from their undigitized obscurity. Let in by a staff member who seems slack-jawed that anyone should be so keen to enter, Schjeldahl observes the paper’s remaining employees: “A very few people, not appearing to be up to much, sat far apart at desks in a dimly lighted panorama of desuetude.” Coda: as summer 2018 gasps its last, so does the Voice; mourned in September blog posts, like Schjeldahl’s for The New Yorker, it now exists only in archival form. This seems a fittingly uncharismatic parable for an East Village that has died more than once in the past thirty years or so—the end doesn’t even get to feel poignant anymore. [Read more…]