Sunday, February 04, 2007
Molly Ivins (1944-2007)
Last Wednesday, journalist, author, columnist, humorist and feminist Molly Ivins died (1944-2007). The Feminist Wire Daily noted:
As a journalist, Ivins worked for the Texas Observer, where she served as co-editor from 1970 to 1976, the New York Times, the Dallas Times Herald, and the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. In addition to her newspaper work, Ivins also wrote several books critical of George W. Bush's presidency, including "Shrub: The Short But Happy Political Life of George W. Bush" and "Bushwhacked: Life in George W. Bush's America." She was always an advocate for women and frequently pointed out the hypocrisy of the US that works against women.
That's far from a complete listing but a complete listing would be very lengthy. Ivins wrote for many publications included, at the tail end of the 80s, Ms. magazine. That was little noted in the coverage. Another national publication also got overlooked: The Progressive. Matthew Rothschild noted her passing and her twenty-plus years of contributing to that monthly magazine, "She was the favorite not only because of her humor and her style. She was the favorite because she never lost hope in the promise of America."
From The Progressive, here are a few samples of her writing. The first one was used by Rothschild who provides a wide range of excerpts from 1995 to the present. We don't believe the others are included.
January 2007, "Populists Have More Fun" (page 46):
Listen, a populist is someone who is for the people and against the powerful, so a populist is generally the same as liberal -- except we tend to have more fun.
July 2004, "It All Stinks" (page 50):
As a matter of actual fact, it's quite difficult to covince people you are killing them for their own good. A hard sell. That's where we are in Iraq.
June 2004, "Imperialists' Ball" (page 50):
Apparently, the reasons why we went to war in Iraq will never ceast to morph: If one turns out to be inconveniently untrue, we just invent another.
September 2005, "Rove 101" (page 50):
But we're missing something here. Of course, Rove outed Plame; the most important question is why. Why would he go so far out of his way to undermine the report about a claim so weak that no one who saw it took it seriously? Because Joe Wilson stood up in front of God and everybody and said they didn't just hype the intelligence, they lied. And that was too much for Karl Rove.
September 2004, "The News Hens Get Teresa" (page 50):
Hate to be the skunk at the garden party, but one topic the D's -- in their determined-not-to-be-negative mode -- are avoiding like said skunk is Iraq. Since their candidate was in favor of going in, he's stuck with that position. The more or less official Democratic line is: "Whether you were for the war or against, the Adminstration has screwed up the implementation beyond recall," which I suppose works politically and has the added virtue of being true. Nonetheless, I don't think it gets us far enough. We spent at least twenty years after Vietnam arguing about what we needed to learn from that experience, and I don't want to see the lessons of Iraq confused.
In addition to the monthly column in The Progressive, Ivins wrote a newspaper column (bi-weekly and then weekly as she began battling her third bout with breast cancer) that was the largest syndicated column by a woman. Even when making you laugh, she took her platform seriously. In early January, she raised it up another notch. From "Iraq Exit is Up to Us:"
This will be a regular feature of mine, like an old-fashioned newspaper campaign. Every column, I'll write about this war until we find some way to end it. STOP IT NOW. BAM! Every day, we will review some factor we should have gotten right.
A lot of people have been offering memories of Ivins, some have shared very touching stories. But have you noticed anyone who, while praising Molly, says, "I'm going to honor her by carrying out her final campaign"? If you have, please let us know because we must have missed it.
We've heard her humor being minimized. We've heard her be used to argue against media consolidation. We've noticed that her feminism is little touched on.
Rebecca's shared some personal memories at her site. Dona spoke with her near the end of 2005 in what she hoped would be a few minutes of seeking advice but ended up being nearly an hour of Ivins sharing experiences. Wally spoke with her in 2006 right after a depressing period (the confirmation of Alito with no Democratic efforts to stop it and his grandfather's serious illness) and remembers her advice being, "Get 'em to laugh and they'll listen."
In the gina & krista round-robin Friday, C.I. and a friend shared (in the roundtable) memories of a party in the 90s (they dispute the year) that was a multi-birthday party for three women. (One of which was the friend sharing so C.I. notes, "I could be wrong, I often am" on the year, but our monies on C.I.) It had been an all day affair, beginning around noon (on that C.I. and the friend agree). Sometime after one in the morning, they, Molly and two other friends ended up in the backyard, sitting on lawn chairs ("sprawled," says C.I.), staring up into the night sky and laughing about everything. It was then that Molly explained that it wasn't talking bad about someone, in Texas, if you added, "Bless his heart" or "Bless her heart" to the end of it. She then proceeded to give in depth examples that had everyone laughing. C.I. and the friend both agreed that while everyone was else was ready to crawl off to bed, Molly was glowing and that as much as she loved earning a well deserved laugh, she loved providing the laughter as well.