Clip Job: an excerpt every day from the Voice archives.
June 28, 1973, Vol. XVIII, No. 26
The quintessential Voice piece
by Miss Lonely Hearts
With heart-breaking regularity letters arrive at my desk pleading, “Dear Miss Lonely Hearts: What has happened to those beautiful bon mots, that devilish wit, that heavenly hipsterism that was the venue of the Voice?”
And “My dear, dear Miss Lonely Hearts: Why are The Voice writers always fighting among themselves? Where is the jaunty joie de vivre of yore? Why these internecine bloodbaths about whose children are in private schools, who is leaving (or not leaving) New York, who is an alleged member of the Mafia, to build or not to build in Forest Hills, to bus or not to bus in Canarsie, to bowel or not to bowel your bow-wow?”
“Please, oh please, Miss Lonely Hearts, why dost thy sisters savage themselves so? My once pleasant Wednesday pastime has turned into a weekend on the Island with the in-laws. Why is it that your superlative sophomore sophistry has turned to squabble? Sincerely yours, Perplexed.”
Oh, my dear pilgrims, you must know how such missiles melancholy my heart. In an attempt to mute the malevolence in our house, I have decided to write the quintessential Village Voice piece. I hope it will soothe the seas of our spleen. The piece is written in “the tongues.” No names will be named — to paraphrase radio’s “Mr. District Attorney” — in order to protect the guilty. The piece will be brief — pocket-size, if you will — so that the rare reader who will miss the aforesaid mayhem may carry it with him or her when said person or persons becomes nostalgic for such nastiness. So with malice toward all, I give you “The Quintessential Village Voice Piece.”
Timmy came home from public school last week with his nose bloodied and his 80 cents lunch money stolen, and I turned to Cora and said, “I’ve had it. We’re getting the fuck out of New York. I’ve fought the good fight long enough, and if some snobby son-of-a-bitch thinks it’s racism or a cop-out, that’s his sad sorry ass tough luck.”
Well. I, for one, completely disagree with the above sentiments and believe they do smack of racism. Last week my little Claude was not only beaten but also boosted for his $11 lunch money at noon outside his private school. Now mind you, the kid was doing nothing but heading to Alfredo’s for pesto and an artichoke-and-anchovy salad, but we’re sticking it out! We had a family conference and decided that if such an incident should ever occur again Claude would invite his attacker to share his lunch amicably. But Claude said he had, and the other kid said that Alfredo’s wasn’t “soul.” We solved the problem by giving Claude a Guide Michelin to carry to school.
May I politely say the two writers above are ever so slightly full of shit! My wife and I gave up that phony New York scene two years ago and moved out here to New Mexico where the “real” people are. Why hassle about staying or leaving — just split. Sure, there are Sunday mornings when I miss dairy at Ratner’s or the Guggenheim, but that’s so much tinsel. Down here are the basics: sun, sand, clean air. And real people. though I must admit I was a little disturbed last week when a Pueblo Indian told Lynn to “go screw yourself.” But, being middle-class, we deserved it.
May I laugh, just please let me laugh at those three smug males above! What do they know about indignity in this city? Not unless you’re a woman! I can’t walk down the street without some burly construction worker whistling or making some comment about my breasts (38 2/3-inch, D-cup). Now if I could grow up without noticing my 38 2/3-inch, D-cup, why should some macho bastards comment on my 38 2/3-inch, D-cup? It’s some city and some society if you can’t walk down the street if you’ve got a 38 2/3-inch, D-cup.
With all respect to the above Ms., I think she misunderstands the construction worker’s intentions. You see, they have to whistle at women’s breasts because it is their mise-en-scene. The workers are carrying out the auteur theory of their existence. They are, as I said on page 111 of the current Cahiers du Cinema (see footnote), the “Howard Hawkses of Horniness.”
Well, all that above crap is very fanciful, but my mise-en-scene (ho! ho!) is that of a mean muckraker, and the problem in this city is the Mafia. Just why do you think I didn’t go to the current Feast of St. Anthony? That alleged canonizo-sainto in guess-who’s Family. St. Tony is known as the patron saint of “discovering lost things.” Are the boys at the ACLU so naive they don’t think he’s being tipped off as to where the stash is? And what about the rumor Zeckendorf owns that little parish church? After much muckraking, the only one I see clean and clear in this cabal is Jesus, who, may I remind you, was a carpenter like Passalacqua (see my column April 12, 1971).
Well, I’d like to be as effete as my brethren and sisters; but when it gets down to street smarts, anyone who pitched a penny or bit a bottle top off with their own teeth knows the only way to save the city is to stop shitting on the ethnics. Why isn’t cutesy Claude bused to school? (May I interrupt to say that the reason Claude goes to private school is to make room in public school for the less fortunate. I’ll give you the name of the rapist of this city — Albert Shanker.) Sure, let’s hear it for the Duke of Dalton. But instead of busing and building in the ethnic areas, why don’t we let the locals have what they desire? In Canarsie, according to “Broad Back” Murphy, Angie “Little Stinkweed” Giardello, and “Sweet Knuckles” Knudson, what is needed is a Bowl-a-Rama, like the one in Paramus. In a city that blows millions, ten-pins for the true people is not too much to ask.
may i remind poli — sty is a pig in a woman’s eye. face up to it, sisters, and stow your bilateral, bisexual, and cock and cunt consorting shit. the pig porky has been pronging us for centuries. it’s no rare accident commercial pig goes by the names armour (read armor), boarshead (from years of reaming us), and trunz which rhymes with plunge. as i was saying to betty ti, and gloria as we were having rose and raspberry juice at the airport awaiting my flight to womanchester, new hampshire, or was it with brenda, carol, and joyce having ceylon tea before my trip to nepal, or was it nepal tea before my trip to ceylon? little hatter, i told them they had to give up their daddy dudes who want to do-do us with their doppelgangers. don’t let them in but les us be in. there will be no crimeax in my cunt.
Even though I don’t agree with everything my sister above said, she is on to a lot of the shit in our society. Six sisters gathered the other night at my home and spent an historic evening. We all lay nude on the floor with mirrors, examining each other’s vaginas. It was a mystical experience. By using strobe lights with the mirrors, we didn’t have to talk but communicated by flashing the mirrors with the aid of the lights, using code to express how beautiful and healthy our organs were. Then, for a topper, we checked each other’s breasts for lumps, which was a groove till we ran into a bummer with Arlene. Sharon screamed in horror that Arlene had a lump, not realizing that Arlene was under-developed and it was Arlene. Arlene left in a huff like a man, but she will be back when she gets it all together. That son-of-a-bitch Daddy never let me have pajama parties like that.
After reading all of the above, I realize what we need now more than ever is a pragmatic-idealistic-existential hero with money who is friendly with Dick Daley.
Letter to the Editor
sitting here in left field i don’t know what to recommend to these people, maybe they should all get together for an orgy or a mass suicide. personally i wouldn’t let helen, nathaniel, or lem watch either.
— name withheld
[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.]