Bill Manville: A Columnist Cornered


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September 30, 1959, Vol. IV, No. 49

Saloon Society

By Bill Manville

(The columnist is introduced to a reader at a Village party.)

“Oh, so you’re the one who…Yeah, yeah. Tell me, how come my paper is late every week? It should come on a Wednesday, right? and sometimes it’s Friday before – oh, you don’t know about that? Well, there’s a lot of typographical mistakes, too, you know. I mean, you pay a dime, you want the spelling at least…Also, the pictures are dark. What’s the use they print pictures, they’re so dark, who cares? Oh, well, I guess the printing isn’t your end, no. But dark pictures, man, what is that?

“I read your stuff, myself, you know. Once a while. You can’t expect a cat to read your kind of stuff every week. But I tell you the truth about it. I mean I ain’t like these other foot-kissing…I mean, you write about a bunch of bums, face it, OK, sometimes they’re funny, but who needs them? I understand you don’t really make all that stuff up, anyway. Some guy I run into tells me you got a friend does all the stuff and you just go around after him with a pencil and paper. I mean, you made it up yourself, then you’d have something. It would be like creative. But this way…if it really happens, and you just write it down…I mean, it’s like those guys who write novels about their own lives. What is that?

…”What you should do to get yourself back on the track, write that Washington Square should be closed, or that Eisenhower is stupid. Write what people agree with and how can you be wrong? Am I right?

“Say, you know any parties next week?”

[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.]