01 February, 2007

Molly Ivins, 1944-2007

Political humorist/newspaper columnist Molly Ivins died yesterday after a lengthy fight with breast cancer. Although I often found much to disagree with in her personal political views, she was almost unparalleled in her ability to hone in on the foibles of the self-righteous & self-justifying (like those in the current administration whom she aptly labeled "Bushies") and skewer them in delightfully scathing prose.

A particularly beautiful example (from the linked obit in the NY Times):
After Patrick J. Buchanan, as a conservative candidate for president, declared at the 1992 Republican National Convention that America was engaged in a cultural war, she said his speech “probably sounded better in the original German.”
She wielded words like a scalpel, slicing away nonsense and exposing the bare bones of demagoguery and foolishness. Of her own style she noted (ibid),
"There are two kinds of humor,” she told People magazine. One was the kind “that makes us chuckle about our foibles and our shared humanity,” she said. “The other kind holds people up to public contempt and ridicule. That’s what I do.”
In today's world we tend to shy away from ridicule as a critical tool, but in my humble opinion some notions are worthy of no greater (or lesser!) treatment; specially in the political arena where the promotion of stupid or ridiculous ideas by politicians often masks deep cynicism and an utter contempt of their constituents. Such behavior needs exposure and in this venue, Ivins will be sorely missed.

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