By David Poland firstname.lastname@example.org
Nora Ephron Passes… And A Generation Loses One Of Its Defining Voices
Nora Ephron was not Woody Allen. But she was every bit as much a living definition of a time and place in New York… a woman of an era… a liberal of a time… A Westsider… satisfied with her place in life yet never quite satisfied. She was a successful Boomer, and all that goes with that… the almost smug self-assurance and the endless self-examination.
During the last presidential election, she was passionate about a Democrat winning the White House, but she came to define the fear on the Left that Democrats can’t win. That fear continues into this election season, making the greatest vulnerability of the incumbent the fear of his primary constituency that “right” is not might. Can a progressive centrist win the case for hope against cynicism and extremism when his base is terrified to lose what it has gained? My generation, the one just behind Ms. Ephron’s, must become radical centrists. True believers that we can share a diverse vision of our daily lives and still come together as a nation over something besides war.
As a writer and sometimes director, Ephron’s defined a decade of rom-coms (ironically, the weakest period of Woody Allen’s career, both financially and artistically) and wrote relationships that women used to define their own status. If Mazursky was her precursor, Sex & The City was her aftermath, a generation unlikely to read Ephron’s recipes as they were to line up at a bakery for $4 cupcakes.
By every appearance, she was a good person. She didn’t have a rep as a diva, except amongst those who see all strong women as divas.
Even though I don’t count her work amongst my personal favorites, I always got what she was doing and why audiences most often responded with great pleasure.
I will still think of her every time I walk NY’s upper west side. She will be missed… and in her perspective, an entire generation.