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April 21, 2014

Andrew Silow-Carroll: Passoverkill? Suggestions to make next year's seders even more culturally sensitive

Sara Israelsen Hartley: Seeking the Divine: An ancient connection in a new context

Christine M. Flowers: Priest's execution in Syria should be call to action

Courtnie Erickson: How to help kids accept the poor decisions of others

Lizette Borreli: A Glass Of Milk A Day Keeps Knee Arthritis At Bay

Lizette Borreli: 5 Health Conditions Your Breath Knows Before You Do

The Kosher Gourmet by Betty Rosbottom Coconut Walnut Bars' golden brown morsels are a beautifully balanced delectable delight

April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review June 29, 2012/ 9 Tamuz, 5772

Did Nora Ephron liberate or debase women?

By Diana West




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | With so many assaults on the boundaries of governance and sovereignty in the news lately, reflecting on the career of writer and Hollywood director Nora Ephron, who died this week at 71, may seem off-topic. But upon reading through many glowing Ephron appreciations, I realize that in her work lies another broken boundary. It is a cultural one, and every bit as significant as lines on the map or in the Constitution.

In a scene from her most famous movie, "When Harry Met Sally" (1989), Ephron brought to mainstream, predominantly female audiences the spectacle of a professional actress (Meg Ryan), not a porn prop, performing an extended impression of an orgasm in a crowded delicatessen. It was supposed to be the ultimate put-down of her crass male companion (Billy Crystal). Was this merely a smart update of the onscreen battle of the sexes once famously waged by Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy? Or had we become party to something darker? Either way, America laughed, and Ephron is today eulogized for this unforgettable display.

It was a first, all right, but maybe not so funny, since it was also a milestone in the pornification of the American middle class. This has been a long process in which increasingly voyeuristic audiences watch as increasingly untrammeled moviemakers rob human sexuality of intimacy and consequence. "When Harry Met Sally" took us over the top, cauterizing audiences to a new convention of shamelessness -- the ideal of Betty Friedan feminism.

And then what happened? Ever since, as a Salon.com critic approvingly wrote, "rom-coms have gotten increasingly raunchy and foulmouthed, often desperately so. But whatever supposed new twists writers dream up -- make the lovers casual-sex partners or bisexual polyamorists or ex-lovers of each other's parents -- they're just spraying Cool Whip on a cake that Ephron baked."

This must make Ephron the mother of the transgressive "gross-out" comedy, even if she is more politely celebrated as the queen of romantic comedy. To be sure, two subsequent Ephron "rom-coms," "Sleepless in Seattle" (1993) and "You've Got Mail" (1998), were more conventional entertainments. But the lines had blurred.

Such was the crowning achievement of a wonderfully successful career cocooned amid the entertainment Left. There was the short marriage to Watergate-famous Carl Bernstein and the early movie "Silkwood" (1983), directed by Mike Nichols and starring Meryl Streep battling an Evil Corporation. Ephron's divorce from Bernstein was novelized in the best-selling "Heartburn" (1983), which in 1986 became another Streep and Nichols collaboration that also starred Jack Nicholson. Even after Ephron's segue into comedy, the odd political barb poked through. In "Julie & Julia" (2009), Ephron's final movie with Streep as Julia Child, Julia's discordant character of a father is a rich, Republican McCarthyite. The character of Julie, meanwhile, is admonished by her Democrat boss that a Republican would have fired her.

Such is the lingo of the entertainment Left, for whom invoking McCarthyism, mean-spirited Republicans and other stock villains is like breathing. "I forget how white they are, and mean-spirited, and thin-lipped," Ephron wrote of Republicans in 2008 at Huffington Post. In a 2010 list of things she would not miss (dry skin, bad dinners), Ephron included: "polls showing that 32 percent of Americans believe in creationism" and Clarence Thomas.

Clarence Thomas? In 1996, Ephron warned Wellesley graduates: "Understand: Every attack on Hillary Clinton for not knowing her place is an attack on you. Underneath almost all those attacks are the words: Get back, get back to where you (women) once belonged ... Any move to limit abortion rights is an attack on you -- whether or not you believe in abortion. The fact that Clarence Thomas is sitting on the Supreme Court today is an attack on you." The world that crowned Ephron with laurels was a dark, dark place -- if only these college-educated young women could see it: "What I'm saying is, don't delude yourself that the powerful cultural values that wrecked the lives of so many of my classmates have vanished from the earth. Don't let the New York Times article about the brilliant success of Wellesley graduates in the business world fool you -- there's still a glass ceiling. Don't let the number of women in the workforce trick you -- there are still lots of magazines devoted almost exclusively to making perfect casseroles."

Aha! In Ephron World, there was no place for the nonfeminist female. Rom-coms were fine, so long as the female lead was sufficently "liberated" from Republicans, Clarence Thomas and abortion hang-ups. In fact, maybe such re-education was what was really behind Meg Ryan's big moment in the deli, in front of all those people.

And America laughed.

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© 2009, Diana West