Thursday, February 01, 2007

Molly Ivins was a Minnesotan (briefly)

Molly Ivins has died. She’s been a feature on our family news page for many years, and I’ve quoted her many a time in my blogs. Her obits talk as though she was a satirist or humorist first, but I recall her as a editorialist first and foremost. She told us what she believed and why. Her once high opinion of the wisdom of the common American had been in decline for some time, but I suspect she wanted to live to see the Dems take the senate. A great polemicist, she was also a serious journalist who exposed some of the snakepits of her home state to a national audience.

What I didn’t know was that she was briefly a Minnesotan ..

Syndicated Columnist Molly Ivins Dies | World Latest | Guardian Unlimited

... Born Mary Tyler Ivins in California, she grew up in Houston. She graduated from Smith College in 1966 and attended Columbia University's School of Journalism. She also studied for a year at the Institute of Political Sciences in Paris.

Her first newspaper job was in the complaint department of the Houston Chronicle. She worked her way up at the Chronicle, then went on to the Minneapolis Tribune, becoming the city's first woman police reporter.

Ivins later became co-editor of The Texas Observer. She was the featured attraction in October at a huge Texas Observer fundraising ``barbecue,'' at which politicians, journalists and entertainers honored her.

She joined The New York Times in 1976, where she worked first as a political reporter in New York and later as the Rocky Mountain bureau chief, covering nine mountain states.

But Ivins' use of salty language and her habit of going barefoot in the office were too much for the Times, said longtime friend Ben Sargent, editorial cartoonist with the Austin American-Statesman.

Ivins returned to Texas as a columnist for the Dallas Times-Herald in 1982, and after it closed she spent nine years with the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. In 2001, she went independent and wrote her column for Creators Syndicate. ...

The NYT stopped regularly carrying Molly in the 1990s, but by then the web had come. I was able to read her at the Star-Telegram and Working for Change, though her national voice had clearly waned. I imagined she made too many enemies along the way, no matter what compliments they may pay her in the obits.

Molly never “got” the net. She never had a “feed”, she never had a public email address, she never leveraged the net to spread her influence. She was a person of another time. Her closest heir is probably Paul Krugman, and the legions who inhabit the electronic world where she was, ironically, best known at the end.

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