Victory Celebration at Washington Square


Clip Job: an excerpt every day from the Voice archives.

October 29, 1958, Vol. IV, No. 1

[For the Voice‘s third anniversary, Jules Feiffer produced a four-page cartoon satirizing nuclear bomb testing. Unfortunately, it can’t be reproduced here. And, because of its size, the special strip also didn’t make it into Feiffer’s recently released book of reprinted early cartoons, Explainers. But it rocks, trust us. ]

Victory and Anniversary

Washington Square will be closed to traffic on Saturday. The event will be treated with the elaborate ceremony that can mark the reversal of a trend. In this rare instance, the auto has given way to the people.

The successful fight for the Square was a long one. The latest phase is less than one year old, but it was begun in 1952 by Shirley Hayes.

As late as last winter, when the Joint Emergency Committee was formed, the cause was not an entirely respectable one…

The Voice is glad to say that we learned the lesson Mrs. Hayes taught us. We were not the brightest pupils, but at least we have the satisfaction of knowing we joined the battle when it seemed an unprofitable thing to do. When wisdom would have suggested, if not hostility to the idea, at least some fence-straddling.

On the other side, we would like to thank Mr. DeSapio for having shown the judgment to play a crucial role in this fight. We think, after the heat and excitement has died down, he will be rather more proud of what he has done here than of any of his more spectacular successes.

The Voice and the Beat

By Roger Shattuck

To my knowledge the only organ which has begun to articulate the feelings and the context of the so-called beat generation and to oblige its members to see themselves without indulgence is a little newspaper in New York, The Village Voice. In its informal interviews, heated letters from readers of all shapes and addictions, and unstereotyped literary and social criticism, one can begin to perceive what has happened. The total engagement in life which Existentialism taught immediately after the last war has evolve mysteriously into the total disengagement of the cool cat who doesn’t lift a finger for anyone and lives skin deep. How it happened has yet to be explained coherently and sympathetically. After many months of running controversy on the generation kick, the Greenwich Village weekly printed a letter which answered all challengers: “This hip routine is really getting infantile. Oh so young and oh so cool kiddies sneering at one another: ‘Me, Dad, cooler than you, Dad.’ And what beat these beat babies? Why, being alive. It hurts to live, and the more alive you are the more it can hurt. Besides, there are problems. So keep it cool, make it deadpan all the way through, lie down and play dead doggie. It’s easier and safer. — Michael O’Connell, Second Avenue

[Each weekday morning, we post an excerpt from another issue of the Voice, going in order from our oldest archives. Visit our Clip Job archive page to see excerpts back to 1956.]