lessly dishonest old hack HubertnHumphrey is until you’ve followed himnaround for a while on the CampaignnTrail. . . . [Humphrey] should be putnin a goddamn bottle and sent out withnthe Japanese current.”nMr. Thompson’s unique brand ofnlunacy is entertaining, to be sure, but itnis also instructive insofar as it representsnthe New Journalism in its mostnpure form. His work is, if nothing else,nhonest, because the essence of the NewnJournalism (and of the New Politics)nis cynicism, and Mr. Thompson’s cynicismnextends, not only to politics andnhuman nature generally, but to himself.nAs a result Mr. Thompson does notneven attempt to conceal his self-contempt,nor the wretchedness of thenwildly irrational world through whichnhe careens. This means that his worknbecomes a kind of caricature of thenNew Journalism. Like all good caricature,ntruth is at its core, and so it is notnwithout some redeeming social value.nUnfortunately, not all New Journalistsnare so willing to live according to thencode they impose on others; in truth,nmost are shameless hypocrites.nJb nter Nora Ephron. Scribble Scribble:nNotes on the Media, a collection ofnher Esquire columns (she is a contributingneditor), aims to lampoon thenOld Journalism, and it has no doubtncaused some red faces at the editorialnoffices of the New York Post, Playboy,nPeople, Time, CBS, and the Palm BeachnSocial Pictorial, to name but a few ofnher victims. Tough investigative reporternthat she is (she raked her firstnmuck for Cosmopolitan and GoodnHousekeeping), Ms. Ephron here producesncharacteristically hard-boiled exposesnof such media stars as The NewnYorker’s Brendan Gill (he is an ass, asnevinced by his having shamelesslynboasted in his book about making Skulln& Bones at Yale); chic publisher ClaynFelker (he has midriff bulge); andnCraig Claiborne (his food column innthe New York Times is part ofnthe “new pornography” ). Conservativen8 Hl^HH^HH^HlnChronicles of Cttlturenreaders in particular will enjoy hernprofiles of Theodore H. White, DanielnSchorr, and the Christian Science Monitor’snGodfrey Sperling. But unlikenHunter Thompson, who indiscriminatelynlambasts all of the ladies andngentlemen of what he calls the “linearnpress,” Ms. Ephron spares a few ofnher Establishmentarian colleagues, apparentlynbecause she simply cannotnbring herself to abandon the idea thatnjournalists, insofar as they selflesslynserve “the public’s right to know,” arenthe Guardians of American democracy.nAnd so columnist Russell Baker, for instance,nand the “assassination reporters”nof the Dallas Times Herald, managento escape the pig-sticking, as doesnCarl Bernstein, who, although weddednforever in the public’s mind to BobnWoodward, is in real life Mr. NoranEphron.nWhich brings us to the subject thatnis most thoroughly and sympatheticallynexplored in this book: Ms. Nora Ephron.nThe attentive reader of ScribblenScribble learns that Ms. Ephron lovesnDouble-Crostics, but is not particularlyngood at it; that she renews her subscriptionnto Gourmet whenever she gets marriedn(unaccountably, she does have anfew endearing bourgeois hang-ups);nthat she keeps apartments in both NewnYork City and Washington, cooks beefnborscht, worries a lot about her appearance,nand watches public television.nThe last-mentioned vice constitutes anrich vein for the self-confessed “mediancolumnist.” In the midst of her lucubrationsnon the weighty BBC draman”Upstairs, Downstairs,” for example,nthe erudite Ms. Ephron astounds evennher most enthusiastic fans by deliveringnup pithy, simultaneous, and wholly gratuitousnepitaphs for the second andnsixth presidents of the United States.nIt seems that while Hazel, of “Upstairs,nDownstairs,” was a real “pill,”nshe was “not nearly as terrible a pill asnAbigail Adams and her entire family.”nWhat a pity that our forebears, lackingnGuardians as faithful as the celebratednWoodward and Bernstein, had no de­nnnfense against such “pills” as John andnJohn Quincy Adams.nIf Ms. Ephron fails to measure up tonthe lofty standards of the New Journalismn(set by Hunter Thompson), itnis because her cynicism, unlike that ofnMr. Thompson, has limits. Specifically,nit does not extend to herself or hernwork. That she is aware of this hjrpocrisynis apparent in her criticism of journalistsnwho indulge in what she indelicatelynrefers to as the “circle jerk ofnmedia interviewing media.” At thisnpoint she avers: “The logical endingnfor this column, I suppose, is for me tonstop writing a media column. … Inreally ought to give it up. I’m not goingnto, not yet.” But why she insists onnkeeping her hand in is a complete mystery,nespecially since by her own admissionnjournalists “aren’t as interesting asnthe things they cover.”nBecause Ms. Ephron is right in thinkingnthat journalists who write aboutnjournalists aren’t very interesting, hernbook would not be worth reviewingnwere it not for the fact that Ms. Ephronnis both an epitome and eminento.nWhile the redoubtable Edith Efronntoils in the relative obscurity of TVnGuide, Nora, fending off the challengesnof Shana Alexander, Charlayne Hunter-nGault, Sally Quinn, et al., has emergednas heiress apparent to the first lady ofnAmerican journalism, Barbara Walters.nThere would be something fitting aboutnher ascension, actually, since it wouldndramatize the fact that the distinctionnbetween the New and Old Journalismsnhas always been more apparent thannreal. What, after all, is the differencenbetween making a fetish of one’s eccentricityn(the method that New Journalistsnemploy to prove how liberatednthey are), and making a fetish of one’snhaving no idiosyncrasies at all (thenOld Journalisrn’s obsession with neutrality)n? And how far removed, really,nis Nora’s “up-close-and-personal” exploitationnof media (and, more recently,nacademic) superstars from thenmore vulgar, Hollywood-oriented typenof sensationalism that one finds in then