May Divorce Be With You

This weblog now has a second marriage to debate: the four-year union of the writers Carl Bernstein and Nora Ephron.

HeartburnI love the movie Heartburn, which Ephron wrote as fictionalized revenge after she and Bernstein crashed and burned. They had two sons, the second born prematurely after Carl was caught convening a rump parliament with the future Baroness Jay of Paddington, a member of Britain's House of Lords.

In novel and film, Ephron lampooned Bernstein so hilariously that I'd be amazed if he ever dated another woman without first making her sign a non-disclosure agreement. James Wolcott believes she scared an entire class of famous men from bedding female writers, calling it the Nora Ephron factor:

Now here's Maureen Dowd, attractive, witty, bitchy, a woman who likes to share bon-bons of her personal life with readers. Ephron, the daughter of screenwriters, was brought up to believe "everything is copy," and I suspect that's Modo's philosophy too. But men with a lot to protect don't want to be turned into copy. Any bigshot in a public position of power and accountability is going to have to consider, "If our relationship [or marriage] hits the rocks, am I going to get ripped in print as revenge?"

At risk of my own matrimonial bliss, I often quote fictional Bernstein from Heartburn when asked whether I enjoyed a home-cooked meal: "I never want my roast beef cooked any other way." The line's delivered in such an insincere manner you wonder how fictional Ephron resisted the urge to gut him like a fish.

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