A WRITER’S WIT
We are stimulated to emotional response not by works that confirm our sense of the world, but by the works that challenge it.
Joyce Carol Oates
Born June 16, 1938
My Book World
Much of my nonfiction reading is informed by C-SPAN’s weekend Book TV, and most of what catches my eye are recent releases. However, on May 24 I watched an early 1990s interview with the late Nan Robertson, New York Times reporter and author of The Girls in the Balcony. I was so taken with her wit, her analysis of what had happened to her and other female reporters during her long tenure at the newspaper that it spurred me to buy a copy of her book—which is now published as a reprint by the Author’s Guild. It chronicles the turbulent history that women reporters had with the Times, and she begins with the setting for the title.
“The Board Room at the pinnacle of the New York Times Building is calculated to awe. It is a huge room, with a baronial fireplace sheathed in green marble at the far end. Set against carved mahogany paneling that reaches from floor to ceiling” (3).
“It’s all there,” Betsy said. “All of us are afraid in our pocketbooks. It hurts you over your lifetime earnings, it hurts you in your pension, it hurts every way. And of course, the individual woman can do little to remedy this. She goes to her boss or to her manager and she says, ‘Look, I’m turning the same turret lathe as the guy sitting here and I’m making less.’ And he says, ‘Well you just don’t turn the turret lathe quite so well’” (13).
NEXT TIME: PHOTOGRAPHS