Nora Ephron on Women, Politics, and the Myth of Objectivity in Journalism
“I’ve never believed in objective journalism … because all writing is about selecting what you want to use. And as soon as you choose what to select, you’re not being objective.”
By Maria Popova
“Women have been driven mad, ‘gaslighted,’ for centuries by the refutation of our experience and our instincts in a culture which validates only male experience,” Adrienne Rich wrote in her spectacular 1975 speech-turned-essay about women, honor, and what truth really means. On July 28 of the same year, a young Nora Ephron (May 19, 1941–June 26, 2012), having only just begun her ascent to cultural acclaim, sat down with airwaves impresario Studs Terkel for a radio conversation about gender, politics, and the journalistic responsibility of ending the gaslighting of women. She had just published Crazy Salad: Some Things About Women (public library) — her now-classic masterwork of comedically served cultural commentary on serious matters, titled after a fragment from W.B. Yeats’s poem “A Prayer for my Daughter” (It’s certain that fine women eat / A crazy salad with their meat).
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. And as soon as you choose what to select, you’re not being objective.
For more of Blank on Blank’s animated treasures of cultural and creative history, see Kurt Vonnegut on what it takes to be a writer, Sally Ride’s conversation with Gloria Steinem about being a trailblazing female astronaut, John Lennon and Yoko Ono on the art of love, Ray Bradbury on the secret to great storytelling, David Foster Wallace on the dark side of ambition, Jane Goodall on overcoming extraordinary odds, Hunter S. Thompson on the only cure for our destructive tendencies, and Richard Feynman on what his father taught him about the most important thing.
Published July 13, 2016