Human Exceptionalism

Village Voice Lays Off Nat Hentoff

Ever wonder why print media is sinking beneath the waves? Here’s an example. The Village Voice has laid off my pal Nat Hentoff, who has churned out thoughtful and even prescient columns there for 50 years. From the story:

The troubled Village Voice laid off three employees Tuesday, including Nat Hentoff, the prominent columnist who has worked for the paper since 1958, contributing opinionated columns about jazz, civil liberties and politics…”Nat Hentoff wrote liner notes for every great musician that I’ve ever loved, from Billie Holiday to Bob Dylan and Aretha Franklin, and that’s not even what he’s been writing about for the last 30 years,” said Tom Robbins, a Voice staff writer.

Not surprisingly, the Times failed to note that Hentoff is one of the country’s most prominent pro life columnists, who has fought abortion (leading some VV colleagues to shun him), written against assisted suicide/euthanasia, unethical medical experiments on babies with disabilities, infanticide, the dehydration of Terri Schiavo, the “duty to die,” in favor of mandatory testing of newborns for HIV, etc., for decades. Indeed, I would say that standing up for human exceptionalism and the sanctity/equality of human life as a prominent atheist, is as worthy of mention in this story as his splendid work in jazz and his absolutist belief in civil liberties. Along this line, Nat Hentoff was named a Great Defender of Life by the Human Life Foundation a few years ago. Perhaps the Times found that aspect of his career too embarrassing to mention.

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