August 17, 2010 |
Seventy-five years ago this week, the 55-year-old columnist and entertainer Will Rogers, along with the aviator Wiley Post, died in a plane crash near Point Barrow, Alaska. This was before the advent of the 24/7 news cycle, so it took a while for word to get around. It wasn't until the next day that Senate Majority Leader Joe Robinson, a longtime friend of Rogers', stood up on the Senate floor to announce: "Will Rogers, probably the most widely known private citizen and certainly the best beloved, met his death some hours ago in a lonely, faraway place.
June 13, 2010
By Meghan Daum Alfred A. Knopf. 256 pp. $24 Reviewed by Susan Balée Meghan Daum has been making me laugh for nearly 20 years. She writes essays for the New Yorker and a column for the Los Angeles Times. A few years ago, she plunked herself down in Nebraska and wrote The Quality of Life Report , a funny novel about the American heartland. Any topic that takes her fancy, from Internet dating to writers' conferences to playing the oboe, becomes grist for her snarky mill. She's got the wit of Molly Ivins and the brains of Mary McCarthy, but unlike these dead icons, she can't be pinned down to any region, religion, or political affiliation.
March 26, 2010 |
If the apple never falls far from the tree, as common wisdom has it, no one told the razor-sharp commentator Molly Ivins. Or maybe someone did and - typical of Ivins - she laughed at the idea. Then disproved it. Ivins was born into a well-to-do, conservative Republican family in Texas. She fell from the tree, brushed herself off, then walked away a head-held-high liberal, precisely as the spot-on Kathleen Turner plays her in the world premiere of Red Hot Patriot. Ivins delighted in challenging people who thought like her parents.
March 21, 2010 |
Molly Ivins, the late and legendary Texas political columnist, is being brought back to life by Kathleen Turner in Philadelphia Theatre Company's Red Hot Patriot: The Kick-Ass Wit of Molly Ivins - a world premiere that also manages to be a revival. Ivins' Texas accent and brassy humor added style to her indictments of government shenanigans and malfeasance. No fan of "43," she wrote in Bushwhacked (2003) about how ordinary citizens' lives can be affected - negatively - by government decisions.
December 29, 2007 |
NEW YORK - Former first lady Lady Bird Johnson outlived her husband, Lyndon, by more than 35 years, expanding on her White House efforts to carve her own legacy as an environmentalist. When she died July 11 at age 94, she left behind countless miles of scenic highways across the United States, dotted not by billboards and junkyards but by wildflowers. She is one of the political figures, artists, businessmen and heroes to whom we said goodbye in 2007. Two charismatic but flawed leaders, Russia's Boris Yeltsin and Pakistan's Benazir Bhutto, aimed to bring democracy to their homelands.
February 4, 2007 |
Molly Ivins, who died Wednesday after a long battle with cancer, wrote the 1991 book Molly Ivins Can't Say That, Can She? She could say it. And she did. I discovered the depths of what she could say when we were both new hires at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. It was the early 1990s, with the Anita Hill controversy fresh on the American conscience, and the newspaper's corporate owners were requiring new employees to undergo sexual harassment awareness training. The poor soul picked to lead these sessions had to deal in these sensitive, hot-button topics in the blandest way possible.
November 7, 2004 |
Guant?namo Bay Nov. 7 My dear wife, They are letting me write one letter to let you know that I am alive. I am at the new Liberal Media Re-Education Camp here at Gitmo; I am not allowed to see a lawyer or make phone calls. They are afraid that if I talk to a lawyer, I'll pass a coded message to my old colleagues on the Editorial Board, telling them to oppose the flat tax or support Arlen for Judiciary Committee chairman or something. This letter will be censored, so I have to be careful.
October 24, 2004 |
Having coffee with Molly Ivins is like sitting down with your jocose aunt, the one who tells slightly off-color stories at family funerals. I met her 22 years ago, when I was a cub reporter at the Dallas Times Herald, where she was a rare female star. Devoting more than 30 years of her professional life to writing political commentary that drips with dry wit and leans heavily toward old-school Texas populism, Ivins, 60, has become an eminent voice in American journalism and a sweetheart of the liberal left.
January 17, 2002 |
IN THE FOUR months since September, we've moved from our first waves of dread and rage over a massacre to the slower task of facing what has been lost. The new year is a good time to assess how we're doing. In a thousand ways we've honored our dead with honorable behavior toward each other, but in some quarters we're still captive to fear. We hurt. In our frustration with the impossibility of making our world safe, some are drawn to easier targets, willing to have straw enemies set up to be shot down, to relieve the popular anger.
July 7, 1997 |
No shortage of material for a holiday weekend column celebrating the nuttiness, diversity and rampageous, outsized je ne sais quoi (as we always say in Lubbock) that makes these shores such a treat to live on. You must admit we have more interesting heavyweight championship boxing matches than the average place. And a charitable organization has demonstrated our extreme flexibility by naming Rupert Murdoch "Humanitarian of the Year," an award presented by Henry Kissinger. We live in a great nation.