Hentoff signs off


After more than a half-century, veteran Village Voice columnist Nat Hentoff penned his final missive this week for the indie weekly which dumped him on New Year’s Eve. Hentoff, 83, who is known as a fierce civil libertarian as well as a noted jazz critic, was — given his general political disposition — remarkably even-handed on Israel. In 2005, he penned a column for the Voice sympathetic to Jewish students who were complaining about harassment at Columbia University, making common cause with, of all organizations, The David Project.

Here’s Hentoff’s final word in the Voice:

Around the country, a lot of reporters are being excessed, and print newspapers may soon become collectors’ items. But over the years, my advice to new and aspiring reporters is to remember what Tom Wicker, a first-class professional spelunker, then at The New York Times, said in a tribute to Izzy Stone: "He never lost his sense of rage."

Neither have I. See you somewhere else. Finally, I’m grateful for the comments on the phone and the Web. It’s like hearing my obituaries while I’m still here.

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