February 1, 2007

Molly Ivins, R.I.P.

Even though I often disagreed with her politics, no one was a funnier political writer than Molly Ivins.  I had the good fortune of living in the same house at Smith as Molly and many were the late nights when I and many other girls gathered in a single bedroom arguing, talking and laughing with Molly.

Molly Ivins dies of breast cancer at 62
More than 400 newspapers subscribed to her nationally syndicated column, which combined strong liberal views and populist-toned humor. Ivins' illness did not seem to hurt her ability to deliver biting one-liners.

"I'm sorry to say (cancer) can kill you but it doesn't make you a better person," she said in an interview.
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Born Mary Tyler Ivins, the California native grew up in Houston. She graduated from Smith College in 1966 and attended Columbia University's journalism school. She also studied for a year at the Institute of Political Sciences in Paris.

Boston Globe

She described herself as "a left-wing, aging-Bohemian journalist, who never made a shrewd career move, never dressed for success, never got married, and isn't even a lesbian, which at least would be interesting.

New York Times
“There are two kinds of humor,” she told People magazine. One was the kind “that makes us chuckle about our foibles and our shared humanity,” she said. “The other kind holds people up to public contempt and ridicule. That’s what I do.”
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Her subject was Texas. To her, the Great State, as she called it, was “reactionary, cantankerous and hilarious,” and its Legislature was “reporter heaven.” When the Legislature is set to convene, she warned her readers, “every village is about to lose its idiot.”
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While she drew important writing assignments, like covering the Son of Sam killings and Elvis Presley’s death, she sensed she did not fit in and complained that Times editors drained the life from her prose. “Naturally, I was miserable, at five times my previous salary,” she later wrote. “The New York Times is a great newspaper: it is also No Fun.”
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Ms. Ivins learned she had breast cancer in 1999 and was typically unvarnished in describing her treatments. “First they mutilate you; then they poison you; then they burn you,” she wrote. “I have been on blind dates better than that.”

From a tribute by Anthony Zurcher

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."

Posted by Jill Fallon at February 1, 2007 11:55 AM | Permalink