I don’t normally get that misty-eyed over dead celebrities, but Nora Ephron took me by surprise this morning. For me, the lamentable passings are the ones who had more to give. Death, for those no-one has seen in public in the last 30 years, is more likely to be a merciful release.
Someone like Nora Ephron, and indeed, like Clive James, who has admitted that he’s not long for this mortal plane, well they make their trade on witty humour, wry observation and the sort of gently piercing insight that gives everyone a little something to think about. I wouldn’t say they have both held a mirror up to society, because what do mirrors show but that which you’re looking for? No, they have both been more fundamentally instructive than that, have sat and thought about what others are doing.
I think that’s important, an element of active reflection on society. Perhaps it’s ironic to mourn the passing of the essayist in a long post on my blog, but there are no standards here, no academic rigour or commitment to challenging society. It’s not just that I love Nora Ephron’s films – When Harry Met Sally and You’ve Got Mail are genuinely my two favourites – but that she made such seemingly frothy material capable of being loved, full of longevity and wisdom.
I love Nora’s lists. I need to make more lists. In fact, that’s number one on my list of things I need to do more. I love Clive’s every shared thought, but short of porting myself into his magnificent brain I shall have to content myself with downloading the podcasts of his Point of View programmes for Radio 4. Perhaps sharing your thoughts like Nora and Clive is a way to achieve a subtle immortality.
I don’t strive for immortality myself, but rather perhaps to be more effective a bludgeoner than a moth smacking into a lightbulb. Whichever way you look at it though, society is the worse off for not having the cleansing pulse of kindly irony aimed at it every now and then.
5 hours ago