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The End of the Alternative Media
Sultan Knish ^ | August 21, 2012 | Daniel Greenfield

Posted on 08/22/2012 4:40:09 AM PDT by expat1000

The death of the Village Voice has drawn out a coterie of mourners bowing their heads over the venerable radical rag, but their orations at its funeral are completely wasted. The death of the Voice is not due to mismanagement, the right wing or its complicity in human trafficking. After all, its former competitor, the New York Press, which forced it to go free instead of charging a buck fifty, died fairly recently. The end of the Village Voice has to be seen in the context of the death of alternative media.

The passing of the Village Voice, its thick greasy pages smudged with desperate cries for attention in between glossy cigarette ads and phone sex ads, also coincides with the passing of the bohemian nature of the East Village, now little more than tall glowering condos and coffee shops. To those residents who showed up there in the 70's and 80's bearing art school portfolios and a burning desire to be part of the "Scene", it's one more triumph of the capitalist running dogs over the "People".

But the real reason that the Village Voice is dead is because the alternative media is dead and the alternative media is dead because there is nothing for it to be an alternative to. New Yorkers can just as easily read shrill rants about the NYPD in the Daily News, pretentious movie reviews for artsy films at The Onion and leftist denunciations of the War on Terror in the New York Times.

The way that the Village Voice used to cover Republicans is now the way that every media outlet, but the handful that aren't part of the liberal collective, covers Republicans. Every mainstream media outlet is opposed to fighting terrorism, opposed to the police and opposed to any notion of balance in reporting. And every outlet is churning out the same tired 24/7 coverage of something provocative a Republican allegedly said because every outlet wants to be the Village Voice, the ink-stained pamphleteer on the corner screaming about capitalist pigs before heading off to a concert at CBGB's, also as dead as the Village Voice and the rest of the East Village.

Newsweek, once the paragon of middlebrow inoffensiveness, now does the kind of covers that the Village Voice used to do. It still hasn't run a picture of Bush drinking the blood out of the green neck of the Statue of Liberty, but, if Romney wins, you can expect that as the March cover. And by then even that might be considered tame.

If anyone deserves credit for killing the Village Voice, it's George W. Bush, who was its unwitting cover boy more often than Obama has appeared on the cover of Essence. Under Bush the entire media became alternative and the alternative media became supplementary to requirements. When mainstream newspapers give positive reviews to books and movies that envision Bush's assassination, cheerlead anti-war rallies run by militant Trotskyites and demand unilateral surrender in the War on Terror; what possible territory is left for the alternative media to explore?

All that was left for the alternative media was to run yet another profile of a new bar where people drink the tears of Ecuadoran children purchased through fair trade while looking at themselves doing it in video monitors as an artistic commentary on capitalism. And these days that's what the internet is for. A culture eager to document itself doing everything, take photos of the food on its plate, review the movie on Twitter while watching it and run a blog about its streetcorner is in no need of an alternative paper to kludgily do these things for it at a snail's pace.

The same forces that swamped the Village with Obama-supporting hedge fund managers who wanted a place with trendy bars that made them feel like artists also killed the Village Voice. The death of the mainstream meant the embrace of the alternative. With no standards left in any paper, every paper and magazine became the Village Voice, but with a subscription price and better quality control. The Village Voice became a classifieds section for people looking to rent a room, find a concert or rape a Ukrainian teenager-- and Craigslist was busy destroying that business model.

Alternative represented the hipster ethos of being different for difference's sake. It's why every indie quarter boasts signs like, "Keep Portland Weird" and "Keep Austin Weird", not to mention "Keep Berkeley Weird". But how do you stay weird when everyone is trying to be weird at the same time? What does weirdness even mean when everyone is weird and doing their best to get a condo in weirdsville, only to move out in protest because weirdsville isn't weird enough anymore?

In a rebellious culture, rebellion is meaningless. It has no form and shape, no substance and no direction. All that's left is the trendy steeplechase of fashion, doing things until other people begin doing them and then quickly moving on to doing something else.And that search for alternative purity becomes eminently mockable for its transparent shallowness.

The very effort to preserve edifices of radical history like the Village Voice runs counter to the alternative instinct to escape the past, denounce it in a Tumblr post that will be reblogged by all the right people, and then move on to doing something that hasn't been ruined yet by the unspeakable appetites of the bourgeoisie. The death of the Village Voice serves only as an occasion for denouncing the soulless mercenary capitalists who bought up the alternative media, even if the soulless mercenary capitalists are actually their own more successful comrades who wanted to make the Village Voice into a viable concern.

The death of the Village Voice only matters to those for whom exclusive radicalism was an identity and for those who are concerned by the sight of the entire press turning into the Village Voice and the entire country turning into the East Village, concerned only with staying weird. A decade ago, Lady Gaga would have been a warm-up act in the Village before a transvestite beauty pageant to raise money for a documentary about Nestle's depredations in the rainforest. Now that forced preening weirdness-for-the-sake-of-weirdness is being marketed to everyone.

Alternativism used to be for the people who felt ill at ease, who weren't comfortable anywhere and made a fetish of their discomfort, transforming that awkward disconnection from the larger world into art and poetry. And now everyone feels disconnected or wants to feel disconnected. Weirdness is fashion in a time when no one fits anymore because there is nothing to fit into anymore.

The molds have been broken, the expectations are gone and there is nothing to adjust to except the weird culture of trying to be weirder than everyone else for weirdness' sake. Everyone is searching for meaning outside traditional religion. Everyone doesn't feel like the country is headed down the right road. Everyone lacks confidence in the future. Everyone hates corporations, including corporations. Everyone dives into the gutter, defies whatever norms are left and cultivates the ironic detachment that allows them to distance themselves from their own words. Everyone is weird and everyone is alone.

The alternative media which once chronicled weirdness, has nothing left to chronicle. There are no longer any extremes to escape to, no refuges on the far coast of transcendence, only the grim reality that everyone is desperately unhappily different at the same time. In these United States, where a radical community organizer sits in the White House, Fifty Shades of Grey sits on top of the bestseller list and plastic bags are being banned around the country-- we all live in the Village.

If mainstream has gone alternative, then the new alternative is the mainstream. The new wild ones, the rebels, the ones who don't fit into Weird America are the squares, the Romneys and Ryans, the Palins and Santorums, the ones who smile patiently and explain that they believe in family values and norms. In the kingdom of the weird, the weirdest of them all are the ones who aren't weird and aren't trying to be. The unselfconsciously normal people strike a culture that has torn open its own head to see the technicolor stars as stranger than anything in their visions could be.

As weirdness has become the norm, the norm is the alternative to weirdness. But it is also what gives weirdness substance and rebellion meaning. Only by restoring a meaningful norm will there be anything requiring an alternative, and the defeat of weird culture is also the only hope for weird culture to thrive outside the weird-eat-weird steeplechase of hipster fashion.

Today, we are the alternative media because we are the alternative to the alternative that has become the new norm. Their norm is the alternative, while our alternative is the norm. There is no longer any place for a leftist alternative media because it is no longer an alternative to anything. Only we are the alternative.

We are the ones standing aside while the herd rushes over the cliff. We are the ones who see what they cannot see, because we are outside their culture and their world. We lack their fears, their anxieties, their guilts and their insecurities. We are not afraid that the world is about to end, the poles about to melt, we are not terrified that we are secretly racist, that we lack racial consciousness, that we are not afraid enough, that we have still not learned the meaning of life in the back of the self-help section or gotten real enough. We are not worried about being cliches or losing our souls to corporate America, and we do not wake up in the middle of the night wondering who we are.

We are the alternative that they have left behind but cannot escape. We are the alternative to the endless alternative, the alternative to national guilt, national suicide and national armageddon. We are the rebels who rebel against the rebels, the counterrevolution to the revolution, the people, who, when the noise has grown loud enough and there are fires in the streets, step out and show a better way.


TOPICS: Government; Politics; Society
KEYWORDS: homosexualagenda; newyork; newyorkcity; villagevoice
Terrific article. The MSM has not printed anything this quality in ages.
1 posted on 08/22/2012 4:40:11 AM PDT by expat1000
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To: arasina; daisy mae for the usa; AdvisorB; wizardoz; free-in-nyc; Vendome; Louis Foxwell; ...


Sultan Knish/Daniel Greenfield Ping List (notification of new articles). FReepmail me to get on or off.
2 posted on 08/22/2012 4:43:00 AM PDT by expat1000
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To: expat1000

This guy writes amazing stuff


3 posted on 08/22/2012 4:46:23 AM PDT by GlockThe Vote (The Obama Adminstration: 2nd wave of attacks on America after 9/11)
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To: GlockThe Vote
This guy writes amazing stuff.

I wish I had the skills to express how impressed I am with him. I ran out of superlatives ages ago.

4 posted on 08/22/2012 4:50:52 AM PDT by expat1000
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To: expat1000

Greenfield describes Austin perfectly. When everyone has striped hair, the one person in the crowd that doesn’t is the real non-conformist. When everyone thinks the same way, life is pedestrian and predictable and boring. That’s when taking drugs becomes a popular way of coping with the phony world they have created.


5 posted on 08/22/2012 4:51:29 AM PDT by txrefugee
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To: expat1000
Very good article. I immediately zoomed in on two statements that I try to hammer into my kid's minds:
“In a rebellious culture, rebellion is meaningless.”
“As weirdness has become the norm, the norm is the alternative to weirdness.”
Great find. Thanks for posting it. Freegards.
6 posted on 08/22/2012 4:55:19 AM PDT by rpierce (We have taglines now? :)
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To: txrefugee

I never considered myself a non-conformist until I realized that I have no tattoos, no piercings, every other word I speak is not an F-bomb, and I have been married to the same woman for 38 years.


7 posted on 08/22/2012 4:59:53 AM PDT by N. Theknow (Kennedys=Can't drive, can't ski, can't fly, can't skipper a boat, but they know what's best for you.)
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To: expat1000

So the Voice is really dead. That makes me sad. If the NY Times were to die, I’d be overjoyed.

Excellent article, it sums up the past 25 years or so quite well.

I think it was the fear that Bush would become popular after the attacks of 9/11 that drove the MSM over the edge, and Obama has kept them up in the air, legs spinning, like a cartoon character. Romney’s election will absolutely send them crashing into the ravine below.

For that reason alone, I hope he wins, and wins big.


8 posted on 08/22/2012 5:08:12 AM PDT by jocon307
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To: expat1000
We are the alternative that they have left behind but cannot escape. We are the alternative to the endless alternative, the alternative to national guilt, national suicide and national armageddon. We are the rebels who rebel against the rebels, the counterrevolution to the revolution, the people, who, when the noise has grown loud enough and there are fires in the streets, step out and show a better way.


9 posted on 08/22/2012 5:15:56 AM PDT by Liberty Valance (Keep a simple manner for a happy life :o)
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To: N. Theknow
I never considered myself a non-conformist until I realized that I have no tattoos, no piercings, every other word I speak is not an F-bomb, and I have been married to the same woman for 38 years.

Radical! :-)

10 posted on 08/22/2012 5:21:22 AM PDT by meyer (It's 1860 all over again - the taxpayer is the new "N" word)
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To: expat1000

‘New Yorkers can just as easily read shrill rants about the NYPD in the Daily News, pretentious movie reviews for artsy films at The Onion and leftist denunciations of the War on Terror in the New York Times.’

Well, they got what they wanted right? Sort of like watching the OWS crowd protesting Capitalism while complaining there is nowhere to charge their IPhones.


11 posted on 08/22/2012 5:21:41 AM PDT by poobear (Socialism, in the minds of the elites, is a con-game for the serfs, nothing more.)
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To: expat1000

Way, way overstated. Read it again. Notice that he restates his thesis at least a dozen times, then proceeds to restate his argument — articulately, to be sure — as well. While he makes some cogent points, this is an author who is clearly in love with his own voice.

He could cut this in half and still get his message across.


12 posted on 08/22/2012 5:24:28 AM PDT by IronJack (=)
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To: expat1000

One of his best, and that’s a tough category! Thanks for the ping.


13 posted on 08/22/2012 5:43:06 AM PDT by holly go-rightly
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To: holly go-rightly

Great article. It made me think of “The Second Coming” by Yeats.
“Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.”


14 posted on 08/22/2012 6:24:21 AM PDT by freefdny
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To: holly go-rightly

So the Village Voice is no more?

Strange, I haven’t even thought about that rag in years.
I guess that has been the case for lots of other people, too.


15 posted on 08/22/2012 6:30:24 AM PDT by Radagast the Fool ("Be Brave! Be Brave! Be Brave!" -"War Horse")
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To: expat1000

We have something called the City Paper here.
They give it away for free (or at least they try to).

Contains nothing but gay propaganda, shrill left-wing rants, concert listings and phone sex ads (along with some that are clearly for prostitutes).

I have to wonder who reads it, and who keeps paying to publish it?


16 posted on 08/22/2012 6:31:02 AM PDT by Buckeye McFrog
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To: txrefugee
When everyone has striped hair, the one person in the crowd that doesn’t is the real non-conformist.

This is sooo funny to me. I live in the San Francisco bay area. Part of the appeal to me is that I am the non-conformist here. I am the insurgent. I point out the emperor has no clothes. When I challenge liberal orthodoxy, I am the fighting "the man".

However, today I'm writing this from Arizona where I'm enjoying a little recharge....

17 posted on 08/22/2012 6:31:16 AM PDT by no-s (when democracy is displaced by tyranny, the armed citizen still gets to vote)
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To: txrefugee
When everyone has striped hair, the one person in the crowd that doesn’t is the real non-conformist.

This is sooo funny to me. I live in the San Francisco bay area. Part of the appeal to me is that I am the non-conformist here. I am the insurgent. I point out the emperor has no clothes. When I challenge liberal orthodoxy, I am the fighting "the man".

However, today I'm writing this from Arizona where I'm enjoying a little recharge....

18 posted on 08/22/2012 6:31:36 AM PDT by no-s (when democracy is displaced by tyranny, the armed citizen still gets to vote)
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To: expat1000

Makes me think of Todd Snider’s Seattle Rock Grunge Blues lyrics...
....now to fit in on the Seattle scene
you’ve gotta do somethin’ they ain’t never seen
we decided to be the only band that wouldn’t play a note
under any circumstances
silence
music’s original alternative
root’s grunge
the record guy came out to see us one day
and just like always we didn’t play
it knocked him out
he said he loved our work but he wasn’t sure if he could sell a record
with nothing on it
I said tell ‘em we’re from Seattle
he advanced us two and a half million dollars
well they made us do a video but that wasn’t tough
‘cuz we just filmed ourselves smashin’ stuff
it was kinda weird ‘cuz there was no music
but mtv said they’d love to use it
the kids went wild, the kids went nuts
rolling stone gave us a five-star review said we played with guts
then we got asked to play mtv unplugged
you should have seen it
we went right out there and refused to do acoustical versions of the
electrical songs we had refused to record in the first place
well we blew ‘em away at the grammy’s show
by refusing to play and refusing to go
and then just when we thought fame would last forever
along come this band that wasn’t even together
now that’s alternative
now that’s alternative to alternative
well our band got dropped and that ain’t funny
‘cuz we’re all hooked on drugs but we’re outta money
so the other day i called up the band
i said boys i’ve taken all i can
shave off your goatees
pack the van
we’re goin’ back to Athens


19 posted on 08/22/2012 6:38:32 AM PDT by Anima Mundi (ENVY IS JUST PASSIVE, LAZY GREED)
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To: IronJack
Way, way overstated. Read it again. Notice that he restates his thesis at least a dozen times, then proceeds to restate his argument — articulately, to be sure — as well. While he makes some cogent points, this is an author who is clearly in love with his own voice.

He could cut this in half and still get his message across.

He could, but some people enjoy reading this prolific author's overstated arguments. I know I do. Just because you're on a word diet doesn't mean others need to cut their intake.

20 posted on 08/22/2012 6:49:16 AM PDT by arasina (So there.)
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To: expat1000

This is what happened in the 80s.

The counter-culture of the 60s made all things LSD, free love, Che, and hippie seem like the norm, causing people to seek out tradition, patriotism, and stability as the new rebelling. Personified in Alex P. Keaton as the 60s were with Jimi Hendrix.


21 posted on 08/22/2012 7:07:22 AM PDT by VanDeKoik
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To: Anima Mundi

Hey, thanks. That was interesting.


22 posted on 08/22/2012 7:17:29 AM PDT by expat1000
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To: expat1000

I’m starting to like this guy Greenfield almost as much as Mark Steyn.


23 posted on 08/22/2012 7:20:10 AM PDT by workerbee (June 28, 2012 -- 9/11 From Within)
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To: IronJack; arasina
He could cut this in half and still get his message across.

You must detest poetry.

this is an author who is clearly in love with his own voice

Having written over 3,000 unpaid blog articles I guess it is fair to assume he feels his work has value. Lucky for those of us that agree!

24 posted on 08/22/2012 7:24:46 AM PDT by expat1000
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To: workerbee
I’m starting to like this guy Greenfield almost as much as Mark Steyn.

To me, Steyn has a sharper wit and is a bit more entertaining, but Greenfield has unmatched insight, analytical ability, and an extremely broad knowledge base, both current and historical. I cannot picture Steyn writing an article on the demise of the Village Voice, for example.

Generally I come away from Greenfield's politcal/social analyses feeling more informed than from Steyn's. Just my opinion.

25 posted on 08/22/2012 7:35:38 AM PDT by expat1000
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To: expat1000
I ran out of superlatives ages ago.

I have superlaxatives, they mught be a good subsitute.

26 posted on 08/22/2012 7:53:36 AM PDT by Lazamataz (I love the Universe, and it loves me.)
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To: expat1000

Yes, you’re right. Different appeal, both excellent.


27 posted on 08/22/2012 8:14:40 AM PDT by workerbee (June 28, 2012 -- 9/11 From Within)
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To: expat1000

As much as Alex Jones is a loonbat most of the time, this idea of his:

http://www.infowars.com/infowars-the-magazine-is-a-hit/

Is a pretty good idea in terms of helping put a wedge should they try to control free speech on the internet.


28 posted on 08/22/2012 8:49:18 AM PDT by GraceG
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To: workerbee

I’m starting to like this guy Greenfield almost as much as Mark Steyn.

But I do worry about his associations with this “Sultan Kinesh” fellow....

Obvious Sarcasm is Obvious....


29 posted on 08/22/2012 8:51:40 AM PDT by GraceG
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To: expat1000

Poetry’s heart is its brevity. This guy cannot be accused of that.

I concede that his content is good ... the first dozen times he makes his point. It’s the second and third iterations that become tedious.

Just pare back the verbiage. Unless he’s getting paid by the word, it’s redundant.


30 posted on 08/22/2012 9:47:06 AM PDT by IronJack (=)
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To: expat1000

BFL


31 posted on 08/22/2012 9:51:15 AM PDT by Skooz (Gabba Gabba we accept you we accept you one of us Gabba Gabba we accept you we accept you one of us)
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To: freefdny
"The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity."

That very well sums up the right vs. left battle today.

32 posted on 08/22/2012 10:04:02 AM PDT by tnlibertarian (Government's solution to everything: Less freedom.)
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To: AdmSmith; AnonymousConservative; Berosus; bigheadfred; Bockscar; ColdOne; Convert from ECUSA; ...

Thanks expat1000. The problem isn’t with the alternative media — FR is after all the alternative media — the problem is Partisan Media Shills.


33 posted on 08/22/2012 6:44:30 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/)
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