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Nora Ephron Obit

 

I have nothing personal against Nora Ephron, but I do not understand why all the news outlets are pretending that her death is in any way significant.  A sometimes amusing satirist--though the frequent comparison with Dorothy Parker is ludicrous--and a writer of really terrible fiction and screenplays, Ephron may have been best known for her failed marriage to Carl Bernstein and the nasty spiteful revenge she took by writing Heartburn.  That's the book, I believe, where she described her husband as so oversexed he would make it with venetian blinds.  In high school, that would have been a funny line.

Is this really it, what American literature comes down to in the New Millennium? A combination of maudlin sentimentality (Sleepless in Seattle) and adolescent  impudence?   Ephron's scripts--I've endured them on transatlantic flights--sound like an unending episode of MASH.   Even on my worst days and in my blackest moods, I would never have suggested that Ephron was anything but a lower-middle-brow entertainer, somewhere in the American cultural  pantheon between Bill Kristol and Billy Crystal.  Well, to paraphrase Ephron on religion, I guess you can never have too much schmaltz.

 

Thomas Fleming

Thomas Fleming

Thomas Fleming is the former editor of Chronicles: A Magazine of American Culture. He is the author of The Politics of Human Nature, Montenegro: The Divided Land, and The Morality of Everyday Life, named Editors' Choice in philosophy by Booklist in 2005. He is the coauthor of The Conservative Movement and the editor of Immigration and the American Identity. He holds a Ph.D. in classics from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Before joining the Rockford Institute, he taught classics at the University of Miami of Ohio, served as an advisor to the U.S. Department of Education, and was headmaster at the Archibald Rutledge Academy. He has been published in, among others, The Spectator (London), Independent on Sunday (London), Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, USA Today, Chicago Sun-Times, National Review, Classical Journal, Telos, and Modern Age. He and his wife, Gail, have four children and four grandchildren.

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