Garry Trudeau Nora Ephron - Essay

Nora Ephron

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

I am not one of those who believe that there is nothing to laugh at about the women's movement; in fact, there is plenty to laugh about without in any way putting down the movement, and I become downright irritable when I read lengthy feminist tracts justifying the women's movement's lack of a sense of humor. "How can we laugh when we're so oppressed?" That kind of thing. It seems to be that the exact opposite is true: how can we not laugh when we're so oppressed. (p. 93)

In any case, the women's movement has spawned very little humor—much less any humor that amuses me. And Joanie Caucus hardly seemed a likely candidate; she was, after all, the creation of a man. Then I started reading "Doonesbury," and there was Joanie, the runaway wife, the day-care center supervisor, the law school applicant, the newly-single woman coping with passes from a hip priest with hot tickets to a Jeb Magruder concert, and I began to roar.

There is nothing more hopeless than attempting to explain why something is funny…. I have no idea why she is funny. I just know she kills me…. It's not just that I know women like her and that I'm a little like her myself. It's not just that my friends constantly tell me stories about trying to bring the movement to their children, stories that are remarkably like the episodes in this book. It's also that there is something about what she looks like and the way she behaves—so downtrodden...

(The entire section is 415 words.)