Thursday, February 01, 2007

"Fish Gotta Swim, Hearts Gotta Bleed": Molly Ivins 1944-2007

The world of journalism and political commentary has darkened. Breast cancer has silenced the voice Molly Ivins, the witty and fearless defender of all things liberal, at age 62. To Molly, being liberal was a way of life and was never insulted when called that. "Fish gotta swim and hearts gotta bleed," she wrote. In this world of mouthy, uneducated, rabble rousing "journalists", her folksy humor and spot on barbs stood out.

Ivins speared politicians on both sides of the aisle, but reserved her best for GW Bush, coining the name "Shrub", referring to Bush policies as "Bushwhacked" and imploring readers and audiences to stand up to the Administration and stop the insanity in Iraq. No one was spared her barbs, especially Texas politicians. She has said nothing is as funny as Texas politics and referred to Texas Governor Perry as Governor Goodhair.

Even as an other round of breast cancer wracked her body, she never lost her wit and zeal. "I'm sorry to say (cancer) can kill you, but it doesn't make you a better person," she was recenly quoted.

This quote was published frequently in the obituaries and stories that appeared announcing her death. I remember reading it, as I read everyone of her columns when they appeared. It is my favorite and sums up her philosophy nicely:

"The trouble with blaming powerless people is that although it's not nearly as scary as blaming the powerful, it does miss the point. Poor people do not shut down factories ... Poor people didn't decide to use 'contract employees' because they cost less and don't get any benefits."

And another about Texas that could apply almost anywhere:

"Naturally, when it comes to voting, we in Texas are accustomed to discerning that fine hair's-breadth worth of difference that makes one hopeless dipstick slightly less awful than the other. But it does raise the question: Why bother?"

The pages are dimmed now with Molly's columns to no longer grace them. The void will be hard to fill. She was a voice of charm, wit and humor in an age where journalism was all clangor, rage and invective.

No comments: