By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

Molly Ivins, 1944-2007

The great Molly Ivins has died at the age of 62. The Austin American-Statesman runs a fine obit, but its registration scheme is truly odious. The Texas Observer, where she first came to fame, has put together a terrific tribute.

My first exposure to Ivins was in listening to her hilarious commentaries for NPR in the 1980s, a gig I don’t think she had for very long. After that, I read her first book, “Molly Ivins Can’t Say That, Can She?”, and was delighted, although I’ll admit I had not read her regularly in recent years.

Even so, I always considered her, along with Nat Hentoff, to be perhaps the finest columnist never to win a Pulitzer — and far better than many of those who did. I recall listening to the audio version of Ivins and Lou Dubose’s Bush bio, “Shrub,” just before the 2000 Republican National Convention. Among its best features was the fact that Ivins narrated it — she was as much a master of the spoken word as the written word. “Shrub” was tough but also fairly gentle in some ways, but that changed: She later called for Bush’s impeachment.

One memorable Ivins-ism that I haven’t seen brought up tonight is her description of then-governor George W. Bush’s ability to speak Spanish as well as English: “bi-ignorant.”

She was one of the greats.

Update: Here’s a link to Ivins’ last column, headlined “Stand Up Against the Surge.” “We are the people who run this country,” she wrote. “We are the deciders.” If only that were true.

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  1. Charles Swift

    Dan:For what it’s worth, I can click straight through to the obituary at the American-Statesman website. Perhaps the site opens up and doesn’t require registration if they detect a lot of traffic coming in?I agree with your assessment of her talents.

  2. Anonymous

    It is amazing that liberals can always turn a memorial of one of their own into a ‘Bush Bashing’ fest.Rest In Peace, Molly. The rest of you should be ashamed of yourselves.

  3. Stella

    She will be missed.

  4. Anonymous

    Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. To everything, there is a seaon. She lived a nice long life, not as long as it might have been, but longer than most. She educated us with her acerbic wit and with her profound insights. In some ways, she was a successor to HLMencken, who, in many ways was a successor to Ambrose Bierce. The cynic, as Bierce said, is CYNIC, n. A blackguard whose faulty vision sees things as they are, not as they ought to be. Yup, Molly Ivins was a cynic. The sad fact is that American mass media is not in the habit of producing cynics. I don’t know where the next one will come from.Back to you, Dan.

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