Sunday, January 28, 2007

A kick-ass muckraker needs our support

Send your good energy to Molly Ivins tonight.
Almost three weeks ago, Molly Ivins wrote that she would dedicate every single one of her syndicated columns from now on to the issue of stopping the war in Iraq -- until it ended. But she has managed to finish only one more column since.

The gravely ill Texas columnist has been hospitalized again this week in her ongoing battle with breast cancer.

Her assistant Betsy Moon says she may be able to go home Monday. She adds that those close to Ivins are ``not sure what's going to happen, but she's very sick.''

"I think she's tough as a metal boot," her brother, Andy Ivins, said Friday after a visit with her at Seton Medical Center in Austin.

The thing that's always stuck with me was that Molly, like Saul Alinsky, has insisted from the get-go that political dissent had better be fun, if nothing else.

I'd known of Molly before she hit the big time, but the great fun is hearing her work an audience. I got to do this about ten years ago, maybe a little more, when she came through Portland as part of the Voices series. (Oh, how that daughter of Texas mocked the Macheezmo Mouse concept of "healthy Mexican food.") I even got to talk to her for a bit. Lovely to be reminded that, in the right context, "satire" rhymes with "sports car."

One classic Ivins story from that evening has been told and retold countless times in the intervening years. As we sat in the First Congregational Church in the south Park blocks, hearing Molly tell it made me think I might for the first time in my life find out what it feels like to get struck by lightning. And, whichever version you find, a good story well told never goes stale.

If you haven't yet read Molly Ivins Can't Say That, Can She?--the 1991 book that launched her onto the national stage--you owe yourself a treat. The specific moments of political hijinx in her beloved Texas legislature recaptured in that book are now many years past (although you'll recognize some names whose careers should have been put to rest 'way back when), but a good story well told never, ever goes stale.

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