Today we’re sharing never-before-released audio of a panel discussion recorded at 92nd Street Y in 1972, featuring Nora Ephron, novelist Elizabeth Janeway and poet Carolyn Kizer, with literary critic Helen Vendler as moderator. The discussion was titled: “Women Writers: Has Anything Changed?”
Ms. Ephron began the panel discussion by talking about some “sloppy statistics” she did on 50 book reviews in The New York Times between 1971 and 1972.
“There was 697 major reviews,” she noted. “And of that, 101 of those reviewed books by women. So that’s 14.5 percent.”
Explaining the same examination undertaken with the 1956 Book Review, she continued, “I went through 26 issues of it. Of 725 books that were reviewed, 107 were by women, which is 14.4 percent. So has anything changed? 0.1 percent, I don’t know.”
We will miss Nora Ephron, friend and favorite of the 92Y community. She spoke here 15 times, often on women’s issues. Videos from some of those appearances can be seen on our YouTube channel.
In an ongoing effort to share with our readers some of the great literary moments which the Unterberg Poetry Center of the 92nd Street Y has presented across the decades, we’ve begun to feature regular postings of archival recordings. For access to other recordings from the Poetry Center archive, please click here.
Actually, Krucoff, it’s about a rapidly-growing startup and its founder’s adventures through Manhattan, and the standard passage in question comes in the last page of the book, in which he finally regards his genitalia in detail, rumors of which regarding its Godzilla-like comparative size* have persisted around the internet for years now (the origin of said rumors and transfer of them around these ominous “circles” being relatively opaque to both the reader and the character until that point, of course). It’s like And Then We Came To The End meets the end of Boogie Nights meets the end of the first Hunger Games book, and now, you’ve gone and fucked up any chance for an acknowledgement in it. Shithead.
As long as it means I’m not obligated to go to the book party.
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I just cut this out of a book review because … because. but, seriously:
“I would prefer to spend the rest of my life without reading another male-written female narrator lovingly describe her own full-yet-pert breasts – their bounce and sway as she walks, the way her lovers have described and caressed them. Ditto periods. Newsflash, novel-dudes: having your womanly narrator bleed all over everything every few pages might seem like a handy way to convince your reader you’ve really thought about what living in a female body might be like, but consider that your protagonist, unless she’s 11, might be pretty used to being female and might even take it for granted, as your readers do, rather than notice it so much that she brings it to our attention all the time. I have never read a novel where a male narrator constantly describes the jounce and bustle of his delicate testes wriggling around in their sack and interrupts the action all the time with little updates on how his balls are affected by variations in temperature and mood. The period-and-breasts thing is exactly the same.”
While walking on 4th Street between A and B in the East Village today, I was karate-chopped in the chest by a tall, muscular man who appeared to be a crazy ex-vet. Fine, no biggie. But as I’d just passed a police van a few blocks south, I felt it was my civic duty to let them know there was a big crazy man karate-chopping people on the street. So I backtracked, knocked on their window and told them as much. See something, say something, right? I was in the middle of giving them a physical description of the guy when, lo and behold, he comes walking up the street, shouting at the top of his lungs. “There he is,” I said. “Looks like I delivered him to you.” The cops said they had it from there, so I left them to talk to big crazy man and walked in the opposite direction. About halfway down the block, I turn around to see what’s happening, and I see the cop car’s brake lights go on, wheels turn and then drive off. I guess they didn’t want to be bothered with the situation. Easier for them to give out tickets to bike-riders (hi) than it is to actually improve the quality of life in our city. Your tax dollars hardly at work. And for the record, they weren’t eating doughnuts when I approached them. Hamburgers and cupcakes, rather. Good on ya, coppers.
“No one in Manhattan used to care about sports. But nowadays I’m always hearing deafening group screams and yelps from the sidewalk and freaking before realizing that some team of accused rapists has just won some stupid game.” — One of Michael Musto’s Ten Things That Used to be Better About New York
I gave up and traded in my expired learner’s permit for a state ID because I’m almost 25 and I’m pretty sure I’m just never, ever going to drive and I really don’t want to go back every two years to retake the written test. But like, I know how to drive? I learned when I was eight because my dad is crazy but I’m also kind of scared of driving and car accidents and shit. Mostly I’ve been refusing to get my license because I can’t swim and I’m terrified that one day I’ll lose control of the car and somehow drive off a cliff into the water and I’ll be able to get myself out of the car because I watch a lot of action movies and Fear Factor but I won’t be able to swim to the surface and I’ll drown which is such a stupid and irrational fear but y’know, whatever. Always the drunkard, never the designated driver!
Speaking of subjectivity in cinema: for those who are in town this weekend and want to hazard the open air, Rooftop Films is screening, in première Saturday night, an extraordinary independent film, “Sun Don’t Shine,” that I saw at the Maryland Film Festival last month. I won’t say too much about it now in advance of a proper release (which it so richly deserves). For her first feature, the director, Amy Seimetz, has made a Southern road-movie film noir in contemporary Florida with a pair of actors (Kentucker Audley and Kate Lyn Sheil) who inhabit their roles with a quiet fury. Seimetz, who is best known as an actress (in such films as “Alexander the Last” and “Open Five”), finds amazingly simple yet powerful ways to get inside her characters’ minds while not straying from their story. There’s nothing neoclassical about her movie—it’s an exemplary work of modern cinema, made with an impressive curiosity and spontaneity—but it takes its place in the front rank of movies that extend genre by infusing it with the stuff of lived experience, of which, for movie artists such as Seimetz, movie-watching itself is a crucial part.