Farewell and thanks to political columnist Molly Ivins, who was as sharp as a Bowie knife and took to the warpath in print at least as eventfully as Quanah Parker did on horseback. Despite the bruises she left them with, both Bush and Clinton managed grace notes about this great lady, the former calling her ‘a Texas original” yesterday and the latter admitting last year that she was “good when she praised me…and painfully good when she criticized me.”
Ivins once called the Texas Legislature “the best free entertainment in Austin,” which makes me wonder if we should have budgeted our time differently while in that city for the World Fantasy Convention. When I first began reading [redacted]’s work, his humor struck me as Ivins-esque at times, and for some of us who, rightly or wrongly, have been enraged ever since December of 2000, she, like Howard himself, was a reminder of what wondrous beings Texans can be. Hope she and Ann Richards are making inroads on the bourbon together wherever they are.
MARK ADDS: That’s one of the best compliments I’ve ever received, Steve. Thank you Molly, for being a wondrous Texan.
LEO ADDS: I wish Ivins all the best in the Hereafter, although to get out of the cheap seats she’ll need to bring all of her rhetorical powers to bear on massaging away the various witticisms she vomited at the Big Guy while here on earth. I wasn’t a fan: her famously funny, semi-Conan-related comment about Governor Schwarzenegger looking “exactly like a condom stuffed with walnuts” was plagiarized from conservative columnist Clive James, while her more substantial plagiarism of former National Review columnist Florence King still rankles. The Bush statement Steve mentions was telling — after calling her a “Texas original” he went on to say: “She was loved by her readers and by her many friends, particularly in Central Texas. I respected her convictions, her passionate belief in the power of words, and her ability to turn a phrase. She fought her illness with that same passion. Her quick wit and commitment to her beliefs will be missed. Laura and I send our condolences to Molly Ivins’ family and friends.” That’s far more grace and common decency than Ivins ever granted him, and I wonder if her reputation will long survive the dwindling half-life of the scathing political hatchet jobs for which she is most revered. I wouldn’t bet on it.