February 6, 2007

Molly Ivins was a uniter, not a divider.

She spoke truth to power but she did it with joy and humor. And that's what set her apart from all the other pundits, politicos and various hangers-on who have waded into the political/publishing game.

Her joy brought people together. She wanted to kick some ass, but by God, she was determined to have fun while she did it. And she did. And she was always reminding her readers and her companions that the goal was to keep laughing. No matter how bad the situation or how big the bastard, she was not going to get too wrought up about it.

Molly really went out of her way to help me -- for no good reason at all. She wrote the forward for Pipe Dreams and for Cronies. And she always met me with a smile and a kind word of encouragement. And every time she did so, she'd turn to whoever was next to her and, pointing to me, she'd say something to the effect of "he's one of the best young journalists in Texas." In fact, she said something to that effect when I ran into her at Vespaio, an Austin restaurant, last August. When I thanked for the compliment and reminded her that I was 46, and not exactly "young" anymore, she said, "well, you're still younger than me."

Her dedication to the Texas Observer - dedication that included giving the publication many thousands of dollars from book royalties and speaking fees - was remarkable. There are many journalists working these days. How many of them believe so strongly in a publication that they would actually pay to keep it going?

She was, and is, an inspiration.

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