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Wednesday, January 31, 2007
Molly Ivins, RIP
Molly Ivins has died.
Just Saturday the Chronicle carried an article saying that her cancer was "back with a vengeance". Apparently this was her third round with the disease. Man.
I forget what first brought her to my attention. I hear her speak at our campus when I was in grad school, and afterwards stood in line to have her sign my copy of her first book, Molly Ivins Can't Say That, Can She? Later, here in Houston, I saw her at the Brazos Bookstore -- where, I note for the record, she was wearing the most hideous olive green velvet dress -- and got her to sign Nothin' but Good Times Ahead. I also have You Got to Dance with Them What Brung You, and Shrub: The Short but Happy Political Life of George W. Bush. Lest you wonder at the title of that last one, it was published in 2000. The shortness of Bush's political life, it seems, was greatly exaggerated.
Molly Ivins Can't Say That, Can She? was witty yet serious, full of sharp but affectionate portraits of Texas problems and the politicians who cause them. (I particularly commend her pocket bio of John Henry Faulk, "One Lone Man", as an example of How It's Done.) Nothin' but Good Times Ahead was less so. It seemed she'd spent most of her best stories -- and her good humor -- on the first book. Instead of amusing titles like "Practicing Nuance Down at Luby's", we got things like "GOP SEEMS TO VALUE UGLY BUT TRADITIONAL TACTIC OF US VS THEM", complete with HUMORLESS ALL-CAPS TO SHOW OUR SERIOUS INDIGNATION. I realize the book designer is responsible for that sort of thing, but it does sort of reflect the tone of the book.
I didn't even consider voting for Bush in 2000, but even I thought Shrub was a bit overblown. Sure, she revealed some things which, if accurate, you'd rather not have in a President, but they were hardly shocking exposes of souls in bondage, either.
I've been ignoring Molly lately, which is kind of sad. She'd grown less and less funny and more and more shrill, until finally she was writing incoherent drivel like that described here.
So rest in peace, Molly, with the emphasis on rest and peace. Give it a month or two before you unionize the lesser angels, or petition for a pardon for Lucifer.