"Damn fools, wake up and think"

Fierce, witty and acutely analytical journalist Molly Ivins died yesterday (she had battled cancer). In addition to her work as a columnist, Ivins co-authored the best-sellers Shrub: The Short but Happy Political Life of George W. Bush and BUSHWHACKED: Life in George W. Bush's America. David Rubien of Salon said of Ivins "[She] is a political columnist, but somehow that term doesn't do her justice. We've come to associate political columnists (or commentators) with the self-important talking heads who clutter the airwaves and the predictable bores who take up space on the Op-Ed pages. What she has in mind is more ambitious than that. Basically, she's a storyteller who uses satire to drive home her points, and thus is in the rarefied line of such legendary observers as Mark Twain, Ambrose Bierce, Will Rogers, H.L. Mencken and Red Smith, all of whom considered pomp deflation and conventional-wisdom dispersal among their primary missions."

Here are some inspirational words culled from her journalistic oeuvre:

"There are two kinds of humor, [the kind] that makes us chuckle about our foibles and our shared humanity. The other kind holds people up to public contempt and ridicule. That's what I do."

"The trouble with blaming powerless people is that although it's not nearly as scary as blaming the powerful, it does miss the point...Poor people do not shut down factories...Poor people didn't decide to use 'contract employees' because they cost less and don't get any benefits."

"We are the people who run this country. We are the deciders. And every single day, every single one of us needs to step outside and take some action to help stop this war. Raise hell. Think of something to make the ridiculous look ridiculous. Make our troops know we're for them and trying to get them out of there. Hit the streets to protest Bush's proposed surge. If you can, go to the peace march in Washington on Jan. 27. We need people in the streets, banging pots and pans and demanding, 'Stop it, now!'" (from her last article, "Stand Up Against the Surge").

You can read more at Salon, Editor & Publisher (with whom she did her final interview), and, of course, The New York Times.

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