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Molly's gone...

 
 
BumbleBeeBoogie
 
  1  
Reply Thu 1 Feb, 2007 10:14 am
Molly Ivins tribute
Molly Ivins Tribute

MOLLY IVINS BEGAN WRITING HER SYNDICATED COLUMN FOR CREATORS SYNDICATE IN 1992. ANTHONY ZURCHER IS A CREATORS SYNDICATE EDITOR BASED IN AUSTIN, TEXAS, AND HE HAS BEEN MOLLY'S EDITOR AND FRIEND FOR MANY YEARS. THANK YOU FOR YOUR ATTENTION. -- CREATORS SYNDICATE, INC.

MOLLY IVINS TRIBUTE
BY ANTHONY ZURCHER
Originally Published on Wednesday January 31, 2007

Goodbye, Molly I.

Molly Ivins is gone, and her words will never grace these pages again -- for this, we will mourn. But Molly wasn't the type of woman who would want us to grieve. More likely, she'd say something like, "Hang in there, keep fightin' for freedom, raise more hell, and don't forget to laugh, too."

If there was one thing Molly wanted us to understand, it's that the world of politics is absurd. Since we can't cry, we might as well laugh. And in case we ever forgot, Molly would remind us, several times a week, in her own unique style.

Shortly after becoming editor of Molly Ivins' syndicated column, I learned one of my most important jobs was to tell her newspaper clients that, yes, Molly meant to write it that way. We called her linguistic peculiarities "Molly-isms." Administration officials were "Bushies," government was in fact spelled "guvment," business was "bidness." And if someone was "madder than a peach orchard boar," well, he was quite mad indeed.


Of course, having grown up in Texas, all of this made sense to me. But to newspaper editors in Seattle, Chicago, Detroit and beyond -- Yankee land, as Molly would say -- her folksy language could be a mystery. "That's just Molly being Molly," I would explain and leave it at that.

But there was more to Molly Ivins than insightful political commentary packaged in an aw-shucks Southern charm. In the coming days, much will be made of Molly's contributions to the liberal cause, how important she was as an authentic female voice on opinion pages across the country, her passionate and eloquent defense of the poorest and the weakest among us against the corruption of the most powerful, and the joy she took in celebrating the uniqueness of American culture -- and all of this is true. But more than that, Molly Ivins was a woman who loved and cared deeply for the world around her. And her warm and generous spirit was apparent in all her words and deeds.

Molly's work was truly her passion.
She would regularly turn down lucrative speaking engagements to give rally-the-troops speeches at liberalism's loneliest outposts. And when she did rub elbows with the highfalutin' well-to-do, the encounter would invariably end up as comedic grist in future columns.

For a woman who made a profession of offering her opinion to others, Molly was remarkably humble. She was known for hosting unforgettable parties at her Austin home, which would feature rollicking political discussions, and impromptu poetry recitals and satirical songs. At one such event, I noticed her dining table was littered with various awards and distinguished speaker plaques, put to use as trivets for steaming plates of tamales, chili and fajita meat. When I called this to her attention, Molly matter-of-factly replied, "Well, what else am I going to do with 'em?"

Perhaps the most remarkable aspect of Molly's life is the love she engendered from her legions of fans. If Molly missed a column for any reason, her newspapers would hear about it the next day. As word of Molly's illness spread, the letters, cards, e-mails and gifts poured in.

Even as Molly fought her last battle with cancer, she continued to make public appearances. When she was too weak to write, she dictated her final two columns. Although her body was failing, she still had so much to say. Last fall, before an audience at the University of Texas, her voice began as barely a whisper. But as she went on, she drew strength from the standing-room-only crowd until, at the end of the hour, she was forcefully imploring the students to get involved and make a difference. As Molly once wrote, "Politics is not a picture on a wall or a television sitcom that you can decide you don't much care for."

For me, Molly's greatest words of wisdom came with three children's books she gave my son when he was born. In her inimitable way, she captured the spirit of each in one-sentence inscriptions. In "Alice in Wonderland," she offered, "Here's to six impossible things before breakfast." For "The Wind in the Willows," it was, "May you have Toad's zest for life." And in "The Little Prince," she wrote, "May your heart always see clearly."

Like the Little Prince, Molly Ivins has left us for a journey of her own. But while she was here, her heart never failed to see clear and true -- and for that, we can all be grateful.

To find out more about Molly Ivins and read her past columns, visit the Creators Syndicate web page at www.creators.com.
COPYRIGHT 2007 CREATORS SYNDICATE, INC.
0 Replies
 
BumbleBeeBoogie
 
  1  
Reply Thu 1 Feb, 2007 10:16 am
0 Replies
 
BumbleBeeBoogie
 
  1  
Reply Thu 1 Feb, 2007 10:20 am
0 Replies
 
wandeljw
 
  1  
Reply Thu 1 Feb, 2007 10:33 am
farmerman wrote:
Did Ann Coulter ever come up against Molly?


Molly Ivins once witnessed a talk by Ann Coulter when Ivins was reporting on a conference of the Conservative Political Action Committee.

Excerpt from "Conservatives in Action" (Molly Ivins, February 8, 2003):

Quote:
Cheney told the crowd, "CPAC has consistently championed those ideas that make America great."

The great ideas that followed were Ann Coulter, who has to be one of the silliest women in America, attacking "the treason lobby" -- the Democratic Party -- whose platform "consists in breaking every one of the Ten Commandments." Aw, Ann, we're very big on "Honor thy father and thy mother."
0 Replies
 
BumbleBeeBoogie
 
  1  
Reply Thu 1 Feb, 2007 11:18 am
0 Replies
 
jjorge
 
  1  
Reply Thu 1 Feb, 2007 05:20 pm
I loved Molly.

It feels like a close friend has died. I cried when I heard about it.
(Like a whole lot of people, I guess). I've spent the last several hours
teary-eyed and obsessively reading obituaries and tributes.

There is a condolence book on line which at this writing already has 72 pages of messages. If any of you are interested, here's the link:

http://www.legacy.com/DFW/GB/GuestbookView.aspx?PersonId=86227263

My personal viewpoint is that Molly will live on in our collective memory and journalistic folklore, long after the biggest name columnists, and tele-journalists of today are long forgotten.


Regards, jjorge
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edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Thu 1 Feb, 2007 06:21 pm
I'm missing Molly, too.
0 Replies
 
Acquiunk
 
  1  
Reply Thu 1 Feb, 2007 06:32 pm
This is very sad news. I read her obit in the New York Times this morning. She used to work for the Times and at least they had the decency to report that she considered the editors a bunch of unimaginative stuffed shirts. Here writing was a breath of fresh air in an increasingly bland and timorous press.
0 Replies
 
jjorge
 
  1  
Reply Thu 1 Feb, 2007 07:20 pm
Hi Acquiunk,

I also read the Times obit.
Molly complained that the Times had drained the life from her prose. The most notorious example was when she, working from the Times Rocky Mountain bureau, reported on a New Mexico town's bizarre annual 'chicken slaughter'.

She wrote a piece referring to it as a 'Gang Pluck'.

That of course sent the stuffed shirts into a frenzy and it was purged from the version that went to press. She left the Times two years later.

Incidents such as that, plus her other sin of walking around the office barefoot, reportedly earned her the enmity of the Times top brass.

Interestingly, although today's Times obit. mentions the chicken story, the reporter did so without using the forbidden words, 'gang pluck'.

'Unimaginative stuffed shirts?' You said it Acquiunk.
0 Replies
 
BumbleBeeBoogie
 
  1  
Reply Fri 2 Feb, 2007 12:54 pm
I Remember Molly
I Remember Molly
By Charley James
t r u t h o u t | Guest Contributor
Friday 02 January 2007

It seems like a hundred lifetimes ago now but, sure enough, over in the not-yet-dusty corner of my memory are the razor-sharp etchings of sitting in a bar on the seedy corner of Hennepin Avenue and 9th Street in Minneapolis after work one Saturday night, tossing back a few scotches with Dave Moore, when in flew a very young Molly Ivins.

Well, we were all very young; after all, it was only the mid- or late-1960s. Molly had just graduated from Smith College and was covering the cops for the Minneapolis Tribune, I was in my last year at university and working part-time in the newsroom at WCCO-TV, and Dave was still building his reputation as the Upper Midwest's younger yet equally trustworthy version of Walter Cronkite, just on a smaller stage.

Molly wanted to meet Dave because of "The Bedtime Newz," which aired Saturday nights following a late movie. I helped Dave write the show, so he invited me to tag along. At the time, "The Bedtime Newz" was becoming a cultural icon in Minneapolis. Deciding that no one really wanted to watch another serious report on the day's events at midnight on Saturday, Dave started playing around with the stories and the commercials. The show became a satire/parody/send-up of the news, and this was a full decade before Lorne Michaels and Chevy Chase created the "Saturday Night Update."

A few things still stand tall in my mind about that first encounter with Molly: Her Texas twang - the first time I'd ever heard one for real and not in a Western TV show or movie - and her sharp yet humane, witty observations that later became her hallmark. She drank ferociously, yet never once teetered on the bar stool or stumbled when she politely excused herself to use the john - Molly didn't say "powder room" or any other euphemism that proper ladies were expected to utter in those days. And she was already beginning to hone her irascible view of politics and politicians.

That evening, Molly dazzled and wowed both Dave and me. As the three of us separately drove off in the early morning bitter cold, I knew I wanted to know this woman better.

A week or two later, I called her at the Trib and asked if she wanted to meet for another drink "but at an even seedier place than Mousey's," referring to the joint where Dave and I had met her originally. She accepted. Whether it was for the friendship, the liquor, or the opportunity for a transplanted Texan to savor more of the Twin Cities' low-life, I'll never know, but I began counting the days.

We met at some dive on the edge of downtown, not far from the train yards, where hard-drinking journalists rubbed elbows with union guys, down-and-outers and the decent, hard-working, thoroughly unpretentious Midwestern people Garrison Keillor eventually turned into American folk heroes.

Although Molly covered the cops, during her second or third whiskey she said was much more interested in politics. At the time, Minneapolis's mayor was a liberal Democrat named Art Naftalin. In Minnesota, the party is called the Democratic-Farmer Labor party. Before being elected, he taught political science at the University of Minnesota, a post to which he returned after several terms in office. Somehow, the conversation got around to Naftalin.

"He's a brilliant guy," I remember Molly saying. Having gone to high school with one of Naftalin's sons, I had a special interest. "Got terrific ideas, could really do something for the city. Poor Art's problem is that he's a typical academic who doesn't have a clue how to get anything done."

At one of those late-night drinking soirees, we talked about our careers. I wanted to end up as a correspondent for CBS News, still the tiffany network with Cronkite and a stable of really solid journalists who had been schooled in the Ed Murrow tradition. I assumed Molly would want to land at the New York Times.

"Hell, no," she said. "I want to go back to Texas and cover politics. With LBJ, John Connolly, Ralph Yarborough and a legislature full of cattle ranchers, oil men, honest-to-God bigots and good ol' boys to write about, why would I want to go to New York?"

We continued to meet about once a month. I noticed that Molly was gradually increasing the circle of people who would get together to swap stories. She included cops, people from the DA's office, other reporters and a few gadabouts, and there were always assorted hangers-on who would appear and disappear for no apparent reason. Turns out, she was beginning her lifelong habit of drawing people into her ever-widening circle.

After 10 months of being included in Molly's salon, I accepted a reporting job on the West Coast and moved away. Molly soon returned to Texas, got lured to New York by the Times - which, I suspect, was a mutually-unhappy and cheerless relationship that fortunately ended after a couple of years. We kept in touch with decreasing frequency, eventually losing contact altogether.

Actually, Molly lost contact with me but I didn't with her. I became a regular reader of hers once she turned her attention from Texas politics to focus on George W. Bush - a childhood friend and neighbor in Houston - and other topics of despair. She was what every great journalist needs to be: Honest, truthful, possessing a low tolerance for bullshit and always ready to spit vinegar - tempered by a gracious yet pointed wit.

Bill Moyers summed up Molly best when he paid tribute to her this morning in a piece on the Texas Observer web site. He said he imagines her in Heaven with all of the other great journalists - Lincoln Steffans, Horace Greeley, Johnny Apple and a long list of others. Moyers said he hopes they're having a great time leaning over the marble railing and laughing at people like Tom DeLay down below in Hades.

I hope she is having fun and is building a new circle around her, drinking whiskey and giving Heaven hell.
0 Replies
 
BumbleBeeBoogie
 
  1  
Reply Fri 2 Feb, 2007 12:57 pm
Bill Moyers tribute to Molly
A Tribute to Molly
By Bill Moyers
The Texas Observer
Thursday 01 February 2007

What a foot-stompin' reunion there must be at this very moment in that great Purgatory of Journalists in the Sky. I can see them now - Ida Tarbell, Lincoln Steffens, Ray Stannard Baker, Upton Sinclair, Henry Demarest Lloyd, Ida B. Wells, David Graham Phillips, George Seldes, I. F. Stone, Walter Karp, Willie Morris - welcoming our darlin' to their bosoms. Oh, my, how she comes trailing clouds of truth-telling glory! Look at her - big-hearted as ever, leaning over the balustrade and reaching down to the tormented of Hades, moistening Tom DeLay's lips, patting down Rick Perry's hair, erasing George W's sandstone scribblings. In the celestial light she glows as irrepressibly and vividly as she did here on Earth, where she made the mighty humble, the wicked ashamed, and the good ol' boys reach for the barrel to hide their forlorn nakedness. And, oh, the stories she must be telling as we speak.

At a PBS meeting a few years ago, she ended her talk with a joke that would have gotten anyone else arrested or excommunicated. But she was carried out on the crowd's shoulders, as right now she is being ushered into the Council of Ink-Stained Immortals, where the only religion is truth. Save some room up there, Molly: You have inspired us earthbound wretches to keep trying to live up to your legacy in the hope of joining you there one day.
0 Replies
 
BumbleBeeBoogie
 
  1  
Reply Fri 2 Feb, 2007 01:00 pm
Moyers tribute
A Tribute to Molly
By Bill Moyers
The Texas Observer
Thursday 01 February 2007

What a foot-stompin' reunion there must be at this very moment in that great Purgatory of Journalists in the Sky. I can see them now - Ida Tarbell, Lincoln Steffens, Ray Stannard Baker, Upton Sinclair, Henry Demarest Lloyd, Ida B. Wells, David Graham Phillips, George Seldes, I. F. Stone, Walter Karp, Willie Morris - welcoming our darlin' to their bosoms. Oh, my, how she comes trailing clouds of truth-telling glory! Look at her - big-hearted as ever, leaning over the balustrade and reaching down to the tormented of Hades, moistening Tom DeLay's lips, patting down Rick Perry's hair, erasing George W's sandstone scribblings. In the celestial light she glows as irrepressibly and vividly as she did here on Earth, where she made the mighty humble, the wicked ashamed, and the good ol' boys reach for the barrel to hide their forlorn nakedness. And, oh, the stories she must be telling as we speak.

At a PBS meeting a few years ago, she ended her talk with a joke that would have gotten anyone else arrested or excommunicated. But she was carried out on the crowd's shoulders, as right now she is being ushered into the Council of Ink-Stained Immortals, where the only religion is truth. Save some room up there, Molly: You have inspired us earthbound wretches to keep trying to live up to your legacy in the hope of joining you there one day.
0 Replies
 
jjorge
 
  1  
Reply Fri 2 Feb, 2007 11:31 pm
This article (originally a speech) describes Molly's importance as one of the few political columnists who are:

, "... solo voices of dissent that (have not been).... smothered by a choir of nervous careerists, psalm singing and well behaved, happy to oblige, eager to please, careful to say nothing disrespectful or uncivil..." -ie. the Washington press corps.






A Salute to Molly Ivins
by LEWIS LAPHAM

[from The Nation November 13, 2006 issue]

Eight hundred of the faithful gathered in Austin on a Sunday evening in early October to serenade Molly Ivins and pony up for the feisty and indispensable Texas Observer. Garrison Keillor presided, and late into the night the indicted and unindicted ascended the podium to recite Mollyisms ("If his IQ were any lower, they'd have to water him twice a day") and recall highlights from her career (including "gang pluck"--her description of a chicken festival she covered for the New York Times). Still, by the end of the program no one had topped Molly's own "overrated" list--"young pussy, Mack trucks and the FBI." The essence of Molly Ivins was captured wonderfully by Lewis Lapham, former editor of Harper's, who is launching a new venture, Lapham's Quarterly, and whose most recent book is Pretensions to Empire. His remarks are reprinted below with the collegial consent of our friends at the Observer. --The Editors

Mary Margaret Farabee asked me to introduce some sort of serious note into the evening's festivities, to place Molly Ivins in her proper relation to the founding of the country and the best uses of the First Amendment. Given the weight of the assignment, I'm probably well advised to begin with James Fenimore Cooper, the well-known author of The Deerslayer and The Last of the Mohicans, who in the 1820s abandoned his political allegiance to the New York monied interests and cast his lot with President Andrew Jackson's Western notions of popular government and free expression. Cooper in the 1830s published The American Democrat, arguably his finest book, in which he made the point that among all the country's political virtues, candor is the one most necessary to the health and well-being of our mutual enterprise. We can't know what we're about, or whether we're telling ourselves too many lies, unless we can see and hear one another think out loud.

Which is what I take to be the purpose of the First Amendment as well as its embodiment in the life and times of Molly Ivins. The working of her mind, like her writing on the page, speaks to the principle named not only by Cooper but also by Archibald MacLeish, the poet and once-upon-a-time Librarian of Congress who identified the dissenter as "every human being at those moments in his life when he resigns momentarily from the herd and thinks for himself." Molly has had so many of those moments that by now I think we can accept her resignation from the herd as permanent.

The country was founded by dissenters, and if as a doubter of divine authority Molly inherits the skepticism of Tom Paine, as a satirist she springs full blown, like Minerva, from the head of Mark Twain. Twain thought of humor, especially in its more sharply pointed forms of invective and burlesque, as a weapon with which to attack pride victorious and ignorance enthroned. He placed the ferocity of his wit at the service of his conscience, pitting it against the "peacock shams" of the established order, believing that "only laughter can blow...at a blast" what he regarded as "the colossal humbug" of the world. So also Molly, a journalist who commits the crimes of arson, making of her wit a book of matches with which to burn down the corporate hospitality tents of empty and self-righteous cant. Molly's writing reminds us that dissent is what rescues the democracy from a quiet death behind closed doors, that republican self-government, properly understood, is an uproar and an argument, meant to be loud, raucous, disorderly and fierce.

Never in its history has the country been more in need of voices capable of engaging such an argument. Over the last twenty-odd years it has become embarrassingly obvious that we have produced a corporate news and entertainment industry distinguished by its timidity, by its deference to the wisdoms in office, by its subservience to the price tags of economic privilege; the solo voices of dissent have been smothered by a choir of nervous careerists, psalm singing and well behaved, happy to oblige, eager to please, careful to say nothing disrespectful or uncivil.

In concert with the Bush Administration's increasingly abrupt seizures of arbitrary power, the increasingly polite interpretations of the First Amendment have cleansed the news media of strong language and imperfect hair, inoculated the Washington talk-show circuit against the infection of caustic adjectives and the suspicious movement of subversive nouns. Among the topics currently deemed "risky" by a Princeton Review survey on essay questions to be submitted for college application, in no particular order, were drugs, sex, religion and a host of other contentious issues. The handsomely illustrated cover stories in Time and Newsweek read like advertisements for cosmetics or detergents, the words deserving of the same labels, "risk-averse," "salt-free," "baby-soft." The airbrushed vocabulary shores up the interests of oligarchy with the comforts of cynicism.

As we know from any reading of the morning papers, liberty is never at a loss for ambitious enemies, but the survival of the American democracy depends less on the magnificence of its Air Force or the wonder of its fleets than on the willingness of its citizens to stand on the ground of their own thought. Unless we try to tell one another the truth about what we know and think and see, we might as well amuse ourselves--at least for as long as somebody in uniform allows us to do so--with fairy tales.

Several years ago on its editorial page the New York Times issued the complacent announcement that "great publications magnify beyond measure the voice of any single writer." As often happens in the Times, the sentence employed the wrong verb. The instruments of the media multiply or amplify a voice, serving much the same purpose as a loudspeaker in a ballpark or a prison. What magnifies a voice is its humor, its wisdom and compassion, opposing the colossal humbug of the world's injustice with the imaginative labor of trying to tell the truth. Not an easy task, but the courage required of the writer, if he or she seriously attempts it--and the response called forth in the reader, if he or she recognizes the attempt as an honest one--increases the common stores of energy and hope. That is what Molly Ivins does, who she is and why we're here to say a not-so-simple thank you.

This article can be found on the web at
http://www.thenation.com/doc/20061113/lapham
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Sat 3 Feb, 2007 12:09 am
Ah, just to say I'll back up and read. Not that I didn't read all the others, but that Lapham sometimes throws me, so I tend to attend him, and, I haven't subscribed to Harper's for some time more than a year now, miss it.
0 Replies
 
BumbleBeeBoogie
 
  1  
Reply Sun 8 Apr, 2007 09:30 am
Molly Ivins Visits the Police Blotter
I really miss Molly Ivins and was wowed to find this. ---BBB
0 Replies
 
 

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