Woman Bites Cop

Kurt Andersen and Nora Ephron

Woman Bites Cop

Kurt Andersen and Nora Ephron

Woman Bites Cop
An email conversation about the news of the day.
Sept. 14 1999 5:52 PM

Kurt Andersen and Nora Ephron

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But what about women who marry men to whom they wouldn’t deign to speak if the men in question weren’t (check one) funny or charming or driving a Corvette or head of the firm or the best bowler in the league? I mean, I wouldn’t even have known anyone I was ever in love with if the men in question were "mere wage-earners," and I once lost all interest in someone because I didn’t like his writing. Which I didn’t read until it was a little too late.

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No, I did not vote for Giuliani for mayor. I didn’t vote at all in that election. I couldn’t. My sister Delia didn’t vote either, and turned it into a very funny scene in You’ve Got Mail, where Meg Ryan starts a fight with Greg Kinnear by announcing that instead of voting in that election, she went to get a manicure.

I think Rudy’s a great mayor, by the way, and a city probably needs a Fascist to run it, etc. But a close woman friend of mine was jumped by the police and arrested and held for almost 24 hours in prison in a case of completely mistaken identity; the charges were dropped, after months of trauma for her and astronomical legal fees. The episode made me conscious, in a way I might never have been (but any black person is), of what the cost of all this zero tolerance is. My husband says that one of the side-effects of this lower crime rate is that police are arresting fewer people because so many criminals are already locked up. But promotions are based on the number of arrests, so the cops are under increased pressure to arrest people—and sometimes that pressure causes them to try to escalate a misdemeanor into a felony. My friend who was arrested, for example, was not charged with the thing she was jumped for—drug dealing, which she was completely innocent of—but of resisting arrest. She did resist arrest, by the way; the cop was in plainclothes, and she had no idea he even was a cop, so she bit him.

I feel bad about East Timor, a place I had never heard of. These things happen: You see the headline, and you think, please let this go away, please don’t make me have to learn about yet another place I have never heard of, and then it doesn’t. It took me weeks before I realized that Kosovo wasn’t exactly Bosnia. I am glad to talk about it if you insist. You first, though.

Meanwhile, here’s a truly disturbing trend: Waiters in restaurants have now taken to not writing down your order. Is this yet another plot to make those of us with short-term memory loss feel bad about it? Or is it just another bad development in restaurant life, like those horrible little designs made of chocolate syrup on the dessert plate?

Kurt Andersen was architecture critic for Time, co-founder of Spy, and editor of New York magazine. He now writes for The New Yorker, and his best-selling first novel, Turn of the Century, was published in May (click here to buy it). Nora Ephron is a screenwriter and director. Her films include Sleepless in Seattle, Michael and, most recently, You’ve Got Mail.