Back to previous post: All Watched Over By Machines of Loving Grace

Go to Making Light's front page.

Forward to next post: Invoking the Lazyweb

Subscribe (via RSS) to this post's comment thread. (What does this mean? Here's a quick introduction.)

January 31, 2007

Farewell to a good one
Posted by Patrick at 08:29 PM * 30 comments

There are two kinds of humor. One kind that makes us chuckle about our foibles and our shared humanity—like what Garrison Keillor does. The other kind holds people up to public contempt and ridicule—that’s what I do. Satire is traditionally the weapon of the powerless against the powerful. I only aim at the powerful. When satire is aimed at the powerless, it is not only cruel—it’s vulgar.
Molly Ivins, 1944-2007. Well said, well done.

UPDATE: More at the Texas Observer.

Comments on Farewell to a good one:
#1 ::: Brenda Kalt ::: (view all by) ::: January 31, 2007, 09:12 PM:

I just heard about her on the radio while driving home. I miss her so much.

#2 ::: Kelly McCullough ::: (view all by) ::: January 31, 2007, 09:20 PM:

Wonderful lady, fine writer, fiery speaker. I'll miss her.

#3 ::: Steven Brust ::: (view all by) ::: January 31, 2007, 09:41 PM:

Oh, good quote! I really like that!

#4 ::: Claude Muncey ::: (view all by) ::: January 31, 2007, 09:43 PM:

One of the Big Disapointments of my life was working in Berkeley for the entire year that she was in residence, without managing to meet her.

She gave me one of my favorite phrases: You're just beating your head against a dead horse.

Molly, I hope that wherever you are the beer is cold, the music hot, and the company loud. Farewell.

#5 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: January 31, 2007, 09:43 PM:

Sh*t. No more fun with Texas politicians.

#6 ::: pericat ::: (view all by) ::: January 31, 2007, 09:50 PM:

Thank you, Patrick.

#7 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: January 31, 2007, 10:20 PM:

Molly Ivins produced some of the best political journalism I've ever read. Her commentary was incisive, clear, intelligent, and, indeed, all the things that you want political journalism to be. She made me laugh at the foibles of politicians. She made me roar with anger at the stupidity of people who confuse election to public office with the Mandate of Heaven. Her death is a true loss to humanity.

#8 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: January 31, 2007, 11:02 PM:

She was tough, outspoken, and always kept her sense of humor, even when she was rightly pissed off. We saw her on a screen once, in Virginia -- her talk was so popular, the room she was in filled up, so we were put in another room with a monitor. She kept me going a lot of times.

The sad thing is, we still need her. Blast.

#9 ::: Aconite ::: (view all by) ::: January 31, 2007, 11:14 PM:

Damn it. She was much too young, and we need her so much.

#10 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: January 31, 2007, 11:18 PM:

Goodbye, Molly. Damn it, damn it, damn it.

#11 ::: ctate ::: (view all by) ::: January 31, 2007, 11:32 PM:

Damn, damn, damn, damn.

#12 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2007, 01:05 AM:

Her columns had become few and far between, so it didn't really come as a surprise. And yet... She was my favorite columnist. I'll miss her voice.

#13 ::: Edward Oleander ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2007, 01:22 AM:

Mel introduced me to Molly's work just as I was really hitting my stride as a liberal. Her words crystalized our thoughts and made us howl with both laughter and righteous rage.

It's already been said, but bears repeating... damn, damn, damn, damn.

#14 ::: breeamal ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2007, 01:45 AM:

I started reading her columns and books when I was 24. Without her I might not be the crazed, tin foil hat wearing, liberal populist I am today.

Damn, I'll miss her.

#15 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2007, 02:13 AM:

I hate it when people I respect cut in front of me in line like that. Now Jim Hightower is going to have to do his best to take up the slack left by Molly's passing.

#16 ::: Neil in Chicago ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2007, 03:31 AM:

It's to be expected that the people here are in tearful awe of Molly Ivins' prose. My own is probably inadequate to do hers justice, but I'm gladder than ever that I saved so many of her columns, once I found out where to get them online.
A greater marvel, beyond mere talent or genius, was her character. She looked unflinchingly at the most ghastly violations of human decency and human spirit of our times, and seemed never to lose her warmth.
Now I have to change from saying it is beyond me how she does it, to saying it was beyond me how she did it.

Her memory for a blessing indeed.

#17 ::: Eve ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2007, 07:00 AM:

I always liked this column of hers: Don't Mourn, Organize

These last two years have been that dead rotten chicken.

#18 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2007, 08:49 AM:

One more thing about Molly. She probably could have described her life by quoting Gene Kelly's character of a journalist in Inherit the Wind:

"I comfort the afflicted, and I afflict the comfortable."

#19 ::: amysue ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2007, 10:27 AM:

Molly Ivins was one of the only people I have ever actually "hero worshipped". I was lucky enough to hear her speak several years ago and it was SRO and every word she spoke was truth. She'll be missed. She is missed.

#20 ::: Joe J ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2007, 10:43 AM:

I started reading Molly regularly a few years back. She was always insightful and funny. Even when things seemed particularly bleak, she was able to charge me up either with a good satiric quip or with her righteous fury. It was partially due to her influence that I got involved in the ’06 congressional campaign of my local Democrat. (We won. Yes!) Who knows how many others she influenced to take action and stand up for what the US is supposed to be? We need more people like Molly Ivins in the world.

She will be deeply missed.

#21 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2007, 10:52 AM:

We went to what may have been Molly's last big public appearance in November when she was the yearly Distinguished Lecturer at UTexas' journalism school. It was quite the high holy occasion; seemed like the entire local press establishment was present, and the ratio of people over 60 to those under that age was impressively high.

It was clear that she was failing, but the essential Molly still came through, and I'm glad to have gone. I'd read a couple of days ago that she was back in hospital, and was afraid it wouldn't be too long.

RIP a great lady, Texas division.

#22 ::: Electric Landlady ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2007, 11:47 AM:

Oh hell. What a loss.

#23 ::: Mary Frances Zambreno ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2007, 11:49 AM:

Damn. One of my fondest memories is sitting at a World Fantasy Convention with a bunch of friends and laughing hysterically over Molly Ivins' first collection. I'm going to miss her almost as much as I still miss Mike Royko.

#24 ::: Chryss ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2007, 01:47 PM:

Alas, and alas, and alas.

#25 ::: clew ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2007, 02:22 PM:

"Even now the silk is tugging at the staff:
Take up the song; forget the epitaph." (Millay)

But damn, damn, damn.

#26 ::: Stephen G ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2007, 02:53 PM:

Aw, man. I grew up reading Molly Ivins and reveling in her prose and her clear-headed presentation of facts. Her absence has left a hole for a while -- this takes that hole and puts bricks around it to keep it in place.

#27 ::: Lexica ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2007, 04:11 PM:

I'm having another attack of "well, yes, everybody dies eventually... but why her right now?"


May she rest in peace, if that's what she'd want. If not, may she have another good go-round on the cosmic wheel with plenty of opportunities to raise more hell.

#28 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: February 02, 2007, 02:12 PM:

Losing her so close onto the loss of Ann Richards is just heartbreaking. They both gave us something we needed very badly.

I hope that whoever arises to fill the void left by Molly Ivans will fill it with wisdom, aplomb, and direct-hitting snark.

#29 ::: in medias res ::: (view all by) ::: February 02, 2007, 07:12 PM:

Molly Ivins was just a couple years older than I am and and it was too damn early for her to die. After reading her columns for decades I look around and there is nobody out there to take her place. In all this time I have never ceased either to laugh at her bone deep wit or to be surprised at her ability to not turn mean. Not ready to say farewell, still at the NO! stage.

#30 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: February 03, 2007, 08:06 PM:

The WashPost appreciation is by her identical twin, Maya Angelou, with verse.

Welcome to Making Light's comment section. The moderators are Avram Grumer, Teresa & Patrick Nielsen Hayden, and Abi Sutherland. Abi is the moderator most frequently onsite. She's also the kindest. Teresa is the theoretician. Are you feeling lucky?

Comments containing more than seven URLs will be held for approval. If you want to comment on a thread that's been closed, please post to the most recent "Open Thread" discussion.

You can subscribe (via RSS) to this particular comment thread. (If this option is baffling, here's a quick introduction.)

Post a comment.
(Real e-mail addresses and URLs only, please.)

HTML Tags:
<strong>Strong</strong> = Strong
<em>Emphasized</em> = Emphasized
<a href="">Linked text</a> = Linked text

Spelling reference:
Tolkien. Minuscule. Gandhi. Millennium. Delany. Embarrassment. Publishers Weekly. Occurrence. Asimov. Weird. Connoisseur. Accommodate. Hierarchy. Deity. Etiquette. Pharaoh. Teresa. Its. Macdonald. Nielsen Hayden. It's. Fluorosphere. Barack. More here.

(You must preview before posting.)

Dire legal notice
Making Light copyright 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 by Patrick & Teresa Nielsen Hayden. All rights reserved.