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4:19 p.m. - 2012-06-28
Healthcare and Nora Ephron

Things I haven't had enough time to process and/or am unsure how I feel about them.*

* This will not stop me from talking about them anyhow, I'm just saying I have mixed feelings and/or need more information.

#1- The Supreme Court's decision to uphold the biggest chunk of the healthcare mandate. Roberts? Really? Despite his argument to reframe the mandate as a new tax thus bolstering an election year GOP talking (screaming) point...OBAMA IS GOING TO TAX YOU TO DEATH!!!!! I honestly believe he voted the way he did because he fears for his life. Roberts knew striking down the healthcare mandate would mean he'd spend the rest of his (short) life in the crosshairs of desperate parents whose kids had the terrible misfortune to be born with pricey life-threatening conditions that would otherwise immediately make them ineligible for health insurance. Roberts knew he didn't dare fuck over parents with sick kids. Not if he wanted to go on breathing past 2013.

As for the healthcare mandate itself, I think it's a flawed concept, but something is better than nothing. I honestly don't see what's so fricken hard about setting up a nationalized healthcare system. Even countries who've had NHS for a long time still have an upper tier private pay thing going on, so the 1% will still be able to get their illegal organ transplants, abortions for their daughters, cosmetic surgery, and stem cell regenerative stuff on the sly as they always have. But at least with some kind of nationalized healthcare in place the 99% might have a shot at not dropping dead in the street for lack of any care at all. Hey, you're talking to someone who went three years before getting tested and treated for Lyme disease. I ended up losing half the function in my face before I was finally driven to visiting an ER and afterward it took me over two years to pay off the entire bill. To this day my right eye droops and I bite my tongue a lot (literally) because crazy stuff like making sure my kids had adequate food and their own preventative care came in before me being seen for any kind of medical problem. THIS is the kind of desperate choice people have to make when they don't have access to affordable healthcare.

#2- The death of Nora Ephron. I have all but the most recent of her books. She, Judith Viorst, Gail Parent, Erica Jong, and Cynthia Heimel all put their stamp on me as both a feminist and a writer. Carrie Fisher was late to the party but she's in there too. A member of the Gang o' Smart Chicks- my personal pantheon of snarky, neurotic, honest, fragile, tough, sexual, damn talented writers who dare combine the desire for personal and artistic freedom with the mixed bag of motherhood, being ferociously intelligent, mostly hetero, funny, and having the need to be desired, wanted and accepted by men and peers.

When I say 'mixed bag' I mean it. Almost everything on that list jousts with the others for the right to exist.

Imagine, please, what it's like to be a mother who dares close the door to that room of her own to write. It means to say aloud that your own need for creative expression is MORE important than being instantly and always available to your children to make a PB&J, kiss a boo-boo, settle an argument, answer a question, or applaud a poopie in the potty.

Funny? Men are funny. Women coo admiringly. Women who are funny are bitches. We say true things and often step on feelings. Seriously, who didn't secretly cheer when Joan Rivers' husband Edgar committed suicide? "See? THAT'S what funny women get! Joan should have been home cooing over Edgar's jokes like a good woman. Instead she was out there on TV and in nightclubs being her bitchy 'funny' self and her poor husband was driven to killing himself from shame and neglect. Serves her right. Stinking uppity bitches being 'funny'."

Smart? Don't talk to me about smart. Americans loathe smart women. They're not overly enamored of smart men either, but if the guy is odd-looking enough being a brain is acceptable. (Hi, Bill Gates!) It's thought that if a guy is doofy and weird looking he's not getting laid so it's okay to be a brain. What the hell else has he to do? But smart women? Getthefuckouttahere. Sure, sure, sure. A lot of people say they enjoy and respect smart women. Right. Mother Theresa always tops polls of women people admire too, but how many of those people are going to developing nations and feeding the poor, working on solutions to the causes of dysentery, or when she was alive having Mother Theresa over for dinner? None. Not one single person. Same deal with fiercely smart women. We make people uncomfortable. Women and men, but mostly men. Think on this, John McCain didn't pick Christie Todd Whitman as his running mate. Nope, he went for the most twitterpated dimwit he could find. Why? You tell me. It's not that there aren't smart women out there, of course there are. But an overwhelming majority of Americans would invite Snookie to a barbeque before they'd invite Hillary Clinton. Smart women are scary and off-putting.

Which, of course, brings me to being mostly hetero and wanting acceptance from men and peers. See above for reasons for rejection. Yet my pantheon didn't just want Pulitzers, best-sellers, advanced degrees, and scholarly accolades, they also wanted to get laid and be loved, and own nice purses. They kvetched about crow's feet and jowls. They had the schizoid mess of wanting to earn recognition with their brains and their talent as is the due of anyone with those attributes, but still wanting sparkly jewelry and being the most popular girl at the prom. They loved clothes and being pretty and having style and sitting in the front row at Fashion Week. But always, always had to tilt at that windmill which their higher angel selves told them that such concerns were demeaning and self-defeating. Fricken Andy Rooney had shrubbery eyebrows and bad suits and he still got to work and be on TV until he was 90 years old. Shouldn't Nora Ephron or Erica Jong be offered the same deal? They were just as smart, just as funny, had just as much life experience. And does it truly matter that they liked shawls and being mothers and had deep pashes for Vera Wang wedding gowns? It shouldn't, but it does.

Does getting respect always mean denial of self?

This is one of the main themes in Nora Ephron's work. She had the chops to discuss foreign policy and micro-bead moisturizers in the same breath. She loved language, her kids, being female, sex, and work. She spoke often and well about the absurd juxtaposition of the duty to one's inner self- the talent, courage and smarts within, and the befuddlement of wanting everything society said we're supposed to want as well. Husbands, a nice exterior, a witty yet non-threatening personality, kids, a satisfying work life that somehow never, ever impinges on all the other crap we're supposed to do. Do and do well. Cub Scouts. Gymnastics mom. Agile inventive bedmate. PTA and environmental and political causes of choice. Best friend to husband. A good dutiful daughter. Chef. Employer and employee. Keeper of the hearth yet also minder of the muse.

Nora Ephron understood and wrote eloquently about the absurdity of being a 20th/ 21st century Western white woman. One who supposedly had every door open in front of her yet ridiculously was made to feel like she'd never quite made it through any of them all the way.

Nora Ephron, at least to me, got it. She got what it was like to want to drive the powerful engine inside our heads and still want to wear a tiara.


Pet me. Eat what's on your plate. Adore me. Now get the hell out of my way, I have my own shit to do. ~LA

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