Saturday, February 17, 2007

LONE STAR PANEGYRIC

Recent Texas gubernatorial candidate and hellraiser Kinky Friedman eulogizes Molly Ivins:
Molly was a truth-seeking missile. She was a devil and an angel and a spiritual chop-buster who went after anybody who got in the way of a better world. Quite often she towered above the people she wrote about. They, as likely as not, were merely the slick, lubricated heads of well-oiled political machines; she was a dreamer, a little girl lost at the county fair, who somehow grew up to be a brave and bawdy and brilliant ball-buster in a state where men have always been men and emus have always been nervous.

In an age in which the five major religions are Bank of America, Wal-Mart, McDonald's, Kentucky Fried Chicken and Starbucks, Molly Ivins was an atheist. The New York Times, which got Herman Melville's name wrong in his obituary, called Molly a "liberal newspaper columnist." The Los Angeles Times said she was a "political humorist and best-selling author." They were right, of course, but those are the words we use when we don't know what to say.

In her dark, American heart, Molly was mostly a troublemaker in the feisty spirit of Jesus Christ, John Brown, Joe Hill and, not to be a male chauvinist or needlessly alliterative, Joan of Arc and Josephine Baker. Two, and possibly three, among this esteemed and reviled assemblage spent time in France. Molly studied in Paris. I do not like France. I do not know what Molly thought of that country. I know she loved this one.