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We Can Say This About Molly Ivins, Can't We? 

Molly Ivins.
Courtesy photo.
Molly Ivins, a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin’s journalism school, wasn’t a J-school creation. No “establishment” or system has the guts to encourage anyone like Ivins, the 62-year-old firebrand columnist whose journalistic life was devoted to turning establishments on their ears.

Just consider the titles of her books, devoted to the skewering of political yahoos and bad ideas: Bushwhacked: Life in George W. Bush’s America; Who Let the Dogs In? Incredible Political Animals I’ve Known; You Got to Dance with Them What Brung You; and, of course, her seminal Molly Ivins Can’t Say That, Can She?

A longtime columnist for the Texas Observer, and before that, the Dallas Times Herald, Ivins was a poet, a scholar, a skeptic, a partier, and a helluva fighter. But after more than 40 years of fighting and writing — her acerbic wit gracing the editorial pages of more than 400 newspapers and journals by last count — the syndicated columnist laid down her pen on January 31. Her seven-year struggle with breast cancer took her into that good night. She was immortalized Sunday in a packed First United Methodist Church in downtown Austin, where good songs and great storytelling abounded. All of journy-doms biggest dogs where there. Too many names to name, and Ivins, a friend of mine, would’ve hated namedropping about her funeral. Afterward, we all went for beer and barbecue at Scholtz’s Biergarten. That Ivins would have surely loved.

Her career began in grand fashion, with Ivins blazing through the New York Times newsroom, sans shoes, dog in tow, in the early 1970s, and ended with her telling us, as always, to raise hell. This time, the hell-raising was to involve pots and pans and lots of noise to force our country out of Iraq.

Sadly, Ivins will not be around to see the outcome of that horrific blunder — and the rest of us might not, either — but in honor of the late great Texas icon, journalist extraordinaire, truthteller, soothsayer, joyous lady giant, if we can bang those pots loud and long enough, maybe she’ll hear us. 

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