Feminism and journalism: Nora Ephron opens up in animated 1975 interview

(image via YouTube (c) PBS Blank on Blank series)
(image via YouTube (c) PBS Blank on Blank series)


“You know I have to say that I’ve never believed in objective journalism and no one who is a journalist in his or her right mind does because all writing is about selecting what you want to use. As soon as you choose what to select you’re not being objective. For someone like me who was sympathetic to the women’s movement and was trying to cover it as a journalist, it always seemed that if I wrote the truth about the movement it would somehow hurt it. If you write that the women spent the Democratic convention squabbling among themselves, aren’t you giving people who want to put it down, the ability to say ‘oh those women you give them a little power and they just behave like cats and dogs toward each other.'” (quote from the interview via Laughing Squid)

Nora Ephron is one of my heroes.

Not only was she a fearsomely intelligent woman with wisdom, insight and the ability to articulate it all perfectly in books and screenplays but she was able to comment on a range of social issues with good humour, grace and an uncanny ability to eloquently nail the very heart of an issue.

Not everyone agreed with her of course but then that is never the point of public discourse, or shouldn’t be anyway; rather people of the calibre and intelligence of Nora Ephron, who sadly passed away in 2012 aged 71, should be the instigators, the catalysts if you like, of a reasoned discussion of an issue with, in an ideal world, some fulsome canvasing of the issues at hand.

That’s not how those discussions play out, particularly in an our often feral digital age when outrage rules and reason is drowned out far too much, but back in 1975 when a 34 year old Nora Ephron was interviewed about her book Crazy Salad by the legendary Studs Terkel, people actually took the time to listen, to discuss, to reach some sort of reasoned consensus.

That doesn’t mean they always agreed as Ephron makes clear in this delightful interview, animated as part of the lost interviews series Blank on Blank, but at least the discussions took place.

In this instance, as Laughing Squid notes, Ephorn talked at length about about her new book Crazy Salad, the roles women played in society, how women were portrayed in the media and how she was able to be both a feminist and a journalist at the same time.”

It is as delightful, informative and clever as you’d expect and makes you wish we’d have a few decades with the amazing Nora Ephron.


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