Clip Job: an excerpt every day from the Voice archives.
December 19, 1963, Vol. IX, No. 9
The Greenwich Village Scholarship (2)
By John Wilcock
The Greenwich Village Scholarship, despite the rather tongue-in-cheek way in which I presented it (November 7), was a serious attempt to show upper Eastside chicks that the Village is not the unwashed, unthinking collection of cliches that they had always imagined. By the same token, I expected that the winner of such a scholarship would contribute to Villagers’ understanding of what is virtually another world.
Numerous attractive entrants presented themselves — mostly by mail — and all would (and I hope will) benefit from further exposure to the good life south of 14th Street. By the terms of the scholarship, however, the most suitable recipient is obviously the entrant who misunderstands the Village the most, and for that reason all the judges (Art D’Lugoff, Ted Wilentz, and myself) agree that the anonymous writer of the following letter is the winner if she cares to identify herself:
“Your scholarship…reflects the snobbism of not only The Voice but the Village in general. You’re all unbelievably smug about even your cliches. For years you have been trying to erect your own national flag, secede from New York City, and establish yourselves as a society of highest culture, intellect, and individualism…
“Might I point out that although I dig the Village I see in it no great path to Truth, Beauty, Freedom, or anything similar? I have had it with beat poetry readings to 80-cent cafe au lait, orgies in East 12 Street lofts, ‘happenings’ that never happen, unmusical hootenannies, artsy-craftsy swindlers on West 4th Street, seedy Washington Square art shows, and five-hour arguments about Edward Albee.
“In addition I’ve had it with the phonies: I am no longer intrigued with off-Broadway electricians named Jose who never remove their shades; NYU students in the lumber-Jack-Martin-D28-slung-over-the-shoulder uniform who are trying desperately to appear despondently decadent; decrepit painters of the 14-foot-canvas drip school supported by a woman who was never seen a skirt; one-time acquaintances of David Amram who wear mu-mu’s and eat only yogurt; the 45-year-old novelist about to be published who always writes under the influence of pot grown under his bed; self-proclaimed geniuses of the HB School, waiters at Figaro, the Gate, and the Limelight who pretend to be anything but; and perverted pseudo-intellectuals with horn-rimmed glasses and ascots who live by their talents of ridicule, cynicism, and insult. This is just to mention a few. To discuss the Zen Buddhists, Cuban revolutionists, black leotardezs, and Nietzsche worshippers would be to go too far…
Sincerely (and I meant that), Miss Yorkville 1963”
All entrants will be invited to a scholarship party as soon as I can find a studio or loft big enough to hold it.
[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. And at Amazon, you can order his new autobiography, Manhattan Memories.]