The Unbearable Banishment: Nora Ephron, Superstar

Monday, July 2, 2012

Nora Ephron, Superstar

Writer Nora Ephron recently passed away. Here's a screen shot of the New York Times online Arts section landing page I took a few days ago:

My God! She authored Sleepless in Seattle and a bunch of other fluff! Not the Magna Carta! Did she impact humanity in such a deep and profound way that it warrants all this coverage? Well, it is summertime right before the big 4th of July holiday, so we're in a slow news cycle. But this seems like silly overkill to me.

*     *     *

I haven't done any theater posts in a long time. I've seen plenty of plays, but I'm no longer motivated to write about them. It's a subject with limited scope, methinks. I did, however, want to mention this beauty that's on my calendar:

My favorite crazy Scot, the hatchet-faced Alan Cumming, is doing a one-man Macbeth at Lincoln Center. I've said it before: GOD BLESS the National Theater of Scotland for providing New York with such great plays.

He plays ALL the characters. Lady Macbeth! For added fun it's "...set in the clinical green-tiled room of a psychiatric ward in which Cumming is the lone patient." I'd like to smoke a big fatty before seeing this. I hope it gives me nightmares for weeks to come. I saw him as the mad MC in Cabaret along with Natasha Richardson as the broken Sally Bowles. It was one of the best things I've ever seen on a stage, so my expectations are high.

*     *     *

As long as I'm feeling a little catty and unpleasant.

Do you know what I like best about the sorority chippy interns at work? When they talk? Their voices rise at the end of a sentence? And everything they say? Sounds like a question?

They also use the word "like" as a comma, shoehorning it into their conversation where it's not needed or, like, relevant to what they're saying?

My other favorite tic is that their voices trail off into guttural sounds. It's a phenomena that women in their 20s display called vocal fry.

"Is fixed income a product that invests in gar gar gerr gar gaaa grrr?

"I'm sorry, what was that?

"Do fixed income investment vehicles gru grrrg gar grrr gar gar gar?

The funny thing is that once you hear it, you can't help but to focus on it. Some senior managers I work with commented on it but but little darlings seem, like, blissfully unaware.


Blogger savannah said...


hell, sweet pea, i have no idea what passes for chickie speak these days, so, it's, like, so, OK, right? :~D

(there isn't enough wine in my house right now...)

(i know, right? wtf am i babbling on about?)

July 2, 2012 at 7:23 PM  
Anonymous dinahmow said...

Darling man! You make an old grammarian very, like, happy, y'know.
Sav...I have some good vintage here.Grab a jet!

July 2, 2012 at 8:41 PM  
Anonymous daisyfae said...

if you keep bringing this much snark, i'm going to have a hard time dispelling the rumors that you're my gay-esque friend in NYC...

i. love. it.

July 2, 2012 at 9:11 PM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

Sav: I didn't know what passed for kid-speak either. That's why it's so entertaining. No wine? Have you checked the cellar?

Dinah: If you read my blog long enough, and you have, you'll know that I'm certainly no grammarian. But I like finding fault in others. It's my ninja skill.

daisy: I told you I was feeling catty. Beware my claws. Meow.

July 2, 2012 at 9:18 PM  
Blogger dinahmow said...

Kidding aside - I expect a full report on 'Macbeth.'As a former Lady Mac I am biased. ;-)

July 3, 2012 at 3:52 AM  
Blogger Nimpipi said...

Hah. Trust you to be so disdainful of Nora Ephron! I love her! Sleepless in Seattle I thought was crap. And I never really loved When Harry met Sally as much as people go on about. But I enjoy her writing very much. It kind of reminds me of me, or who I think I could easily be. Don't judge me for that. I am going to mail you a piece she wrote: A few Words on Breasts. Then we'll talk.

Rising intonation. You're so lucky. I deal with interns who are, forget stupid and ungifted as writers, just plain in awe. You know, how like, like, irritating that can be to like, deal with? gar gar gar?

July 3, 2012 at 6:22 AM  
Blogger Furtheron said...

when can you judge someones output? Now if Sleepless In Seattle is being repeated etc. in a 20 years, 50 years, 100 years etc. that has some weight doesn't it...

July 3, 2012 at 6:45 AM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

Dinah: Will report back to you either on this site or via email. It could go either way.

Nimpipi: Her work doesn't really "speak" to me. It would help if I were an older wealthy, white, Upper West Side woman with a few failed marriages in the past.

Furtheron: Hello, sir. Her movies WILL be watched in 100 years. But I think all the adulation was terribly overplayed. Here in New York, it was like a dignitary passed away.

July 3, 2012 at 7:31 AM  
Blogger Ms Scarlet said...

Do these young ladies understand each other?
One day, using 'like' as a comma, will be so ubiquitous that it'll be, like, totally uncool.

July 3, 2012 at 9:30 AM  
Blogger Pat said...

I blame the Australian soap 'Neighbours' for the rise at the end of a sentence. It's like world-wide now.
Don't begrudge Nora a good send-off. A successful woman writer in a man's world is all too rare.
Years ago Alan played a trolley dolly on a Scottish airline on TV. It was like hysterical.

July 3, 2012 at 6:51 PM  
Blogger Twisted Scottish Bastard said...

Alan Cumming is great, but that 1 man/multi character scenario might be bit of a strain.

Actually I don't think you're being a little catty and unpleasant, ai think you're being very catty and moderatley unpleasant. Well done. There's too mucg bloody niceness as it is, especially amongst the ranks of the preppy.

That rising inflection is universal amongst Kiwis and Aussies. It took me about 4 years before I could easily differentiate between a statement and a question.

July 4, 2012 at 1:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've never heard anyone else mention the gaaa syndrome that middle class girls talk in. I thought it was something local to posh birds who have got into a decent university, because 90% of undergraduate girls here do it too. Strange how these tics are so widespread.

It's very annoying though--is it meant to make them sound cute and vulnerable?

July 4, 2012 at 4:13 AM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

Pat: Miss Ephron was a talented writer but she wasn't the Dali Lama. The unrelenting flow of articles was overkill. That was just a sample from one day!

TSB: One-man shows are a tight rope walk. They always go one way or the other. I could be a disaster, but I'm glad I'm going. Pat, too, blames the Aussies for the rising infliction. It must be them!

Looby: The experts (whoever they are) think it started, believe it or not, with Paris Hilton and it's an attempt to sound "sexy." It's annoying. There was actually a pretty interesting article about it in the Times not long ago.

July 4, 2012 at 7:43 AM  
Blogger tennysoneehemingway said...

I think the papers might have been stuck between the proverbial rock and hard place. I can just hear it now, 'if a male scriptwriter had died, there'd be pages of tributes for him, but Nora Ephron only gets one column? For shame!' I think they probably erred on the side of caution. And her work doesn't necessarily speak to me either but if Sleepless in Seattle comes on the telly, I'll still sit and watch it.

July 4, 2012 at 11:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One of my favorite TV programs right now, The Good Wife, features Alan Cumming in a prominent role--he's a great actor! I'm excited because I'm going to see David Sedaris in October in Pittsburgh. I thought it would give me something to look forward to that doesn't involve the library when I start school in the fall.

PS- During one of mom's visits to Bowling Green a few years ago, she met one of my professors who told her, "The only thing I worry about is how I'm adopting the word 'like' into my vocabulary to describe like, everything." hahaha....


July 13, 2012 at 11:59 PM  

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