Thank God for Nora Ephron. Before she came along, the primary role model for a smart, wise-cracking female writer was Dorothy Parker, known both her sharp wit and her unenviable life. (After too much drinking and too many bad relationships; she died a famous but unhappy woman.)
I always thought, perhaps naively, that the Times was not going after just the wealthy, that they might have a commitment to people at the lower end of the wealth scale. Then I encountered the February 11 edition.
The paper is at an important crossroads. Should The Washington Post's legacy of editorial independence, investigative journalism, outstanding writing and reporting, and service to the public become the victim of "frugality" and "customer obsessions", the paper will precipitously decline.
Not since New Coke have we as a nation seen a disaster that both sides of the aisle can agree on. America is now unanimously and officially outraged that the IRS would have the audacity to target political groups -- groups that publicly despise taxes and call for the end of the IRS.
Combined with the ongoing tragedy of Vietnam -- including the secret bombing of Cambodia and the violent squelching of antiwar protest -- Watergate shook the public's confidence in government as it hadn't been since the bleakest days of secession and the Civil War.
Thirty-five years after losing a landslide election to Richard Nixon and winning only one state -- Massachusetts -- that branded him as one of the biggest losers in American politics, George McGovern has claimed his place in history as one of its biggest winners.
In "Yours in Truth," we get Ben Bradlee in all his charismatic in-charge sex appeal and dynamism, we get Katherine Graham and she gives total good value as an amateur who rose to the occasion, we get Carl Bernstein who could write and report in a manner his partner Bob Woodward couldn't.
In Parashat Korach, we learn about anshei shem, men of renown, who abuse their power to the detriment of the community. We saw a similar phenomenon 40 years ago in Watergate, and we see it today in our broken election financing system.
The real crimes of the last 40 years didn't fit into the box that Woodward and Bernstein and the Watergate scandal helped to create. In the end, the real exceptionalism of Richard Nixon was merely that he was dumb enough to get caught. The rest of them all got away with it.
Watergate. Has it really been 40 years? I was just a small-town teenager in the summer of 1972, but I remember being fascinated as the break-in and protracted cover-up unfolded. It was a drama like no other.