Wednesday, January 07, 2009

"It's like hearing my obituaries while I'm still here." ... Nat Hentoff's Last VV Column

We made reference to this last week, about the great Nat Hentoff being cut loose from The Village Voice.

And, yesterday, came his final column

Nat Hentoff's Last Column: The 50-Year Veteran Says Goodbye ... I used to say, 'I've been at the Voice since the Civil War.' But now I'm off to other combats

I've borrowed Woody Guthrie's 1942 song to report that this is my last column for the Voice. I'm not retiring; I've never forgotten my exchange on that decision with Duke Ellington. In those years, he and the band played over 200 one-nighters a year, with jumps from, say, Toronto to Dallas. On one of his rare nights off, Duke looked very beat, and I presumptuously said: "You don't have to keep going through this. With the standards you've written, you could retire on your ASCAP income."

Duke looked at me as if I'd lost all my marbles.

"Retire!" he crescendoed. "Retire to what?!"
The Village Voice might be dumping him off at the side of the road, but Hentoff isn't going to lay down in any ditch, but rather keep his busy schedule of writing various columns at various other publications, as well as having two new books due out very soon.

Go read Hentoff's final VV column (it's good, as usual), and poke around the World Wide Web and keep track of him, you will be well rewarded.

Bonus Links

Nat Hentoff on Wikipedia

Books by Nat Hentoff

Bill Moyers Interview with Nat Hentoff

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