The Village Voice, New York’s traditional counterculture newspaper, is housed in a crumbling tenement on Broadway at the northern edge of Greenwich Village. Almost every square foot of the building’s exterior wall is plastered with handbills for hipsounding bands or talks at nearby clubs and meeting places: “Lunachicks,” “Suicidal Tendencies,” “Haunted Toilet,” “Hide the Baby,” and “Yogi Gupta: Trimmer Body, Calmer Mind, Self-Realization.”

A huge trash pile along one side of the building smells of urine and sparkles with empty bottles of Wild Irish Rose and other cheap hits. On the inside, a dark staircase leading to the second-floor editorial department is brightened only by a taped-up flyer offering comfort to “Lesbian Survivors of Abusive Relationships.”

The editorial department is well lit, however. Fluorescent bulbs bring out the detail of scratched linoleum floors, a broken table sitting in the hallway, and a current Village Voice that has slid off the table. The lead article in that issue complains of those who have “found common cause with the Jerry Falwells and Pat Robertsons of the world. On the package of issues surrounding abortion, they have allied themselves with the society’s most repressive and misogynistic forces.” Down the hallway lies an open area with dozens of desks; around one of them seven or eight 25-year-olds in tight jeans grimly receive a harangue about the “blow-dried fascism of the Reaganitemare” from a 45-year-old editor in Dockers trousers.

Then, from a dim hallway on the other side of the open area, comes shuffling a bent-over, 65-year-old in gray slacks. The Red Sea of young people silently parts before him, and the middle-aged man offers a sullen look; but no one says hello to gray-bearded ...

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