Molly Ivins was a good ole girl from Texas, progressive political pundit, humorist and respected journalist, who at the height of her career had the most popular political newspaper column in the country appearing up 300-400 papers across the country. She regularly called on and called out political heavyweights and owned a dog named sh*t. That drawl of hers no doubt made many of her quips much easier to swallow for those who were quick to criticize her candor.
Ivins’ relationships with many within the political arena dominated the news outlets, but her friendship with the late Governor Ann Richards was legendary. She was hired and fired by The New York Times, but not before spending days walking the newsroom barefoot or covering and writing about the funeral of Elvis Presley. A plethora of folks wanted her to conform to the norm, but as they say in Texas, ‘…that dog don’t hunt.’
Raise Hell: The Life and Times of Molly Ivins, (which announced acquisition by Magnolia Pictures) screened this week at the AFI DOCS film festival, chronicles the tart tongued, acerbic wit of this Smith College graduate who changed the landscape of political news, pundits and was a female humorist whose biting wit was refreshingly honest.
Like most women who speak unapologetically against the status quo, their fall and unpopularity appears as quickly as her ascend into celebrity. After all, you have to have a thick skin to be in the public eye and no one’s skin was thicker than Molly Ivins. She often times made fun of folks like Pat Buchanan, Dan Quayle, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and accused our system of engaging in ‘legalized bribery.’
What is fascinating is well after her death in 2007, much of what Ivins would say about politicians voting with public interest money and our 1st Amendment rights being endangered are happening in this country right now. Politicians were crying about illegal Mexican immigrants when she passed away in 2007 and has now become a staple in Washington politics that permeates the current climate of our nation’s capital. In the later part of her career, papers not happy with her criticism of George H.W. Bush, would buy her column and not run it as form of undercover censorship.
Directed by the ingenious Janice Engel (who literally is the cinematic embodiment of Molly Ivins), Raise Hell: The Life and Times of Molly Ivins should be required viewing for anyone contemplating casting a vote in any American election. This doc will enlighten, make you go hmmm and make you well up with pride that this one female journalist paved the way for April Reign, Rachel Maddow, Samantha Bee, Alexandra Wentworth and so many more. It was my pleasure and privilege to chat Janice Engel about Molly, her legacy and the impact her outspoken candor has left on American political landscape.
Here’s the trailer to the doc and for more information on the Magnolia Pictures Fall release date of Raise Hell: The Life and Times of Molly Ivins, pop on over to www.mollyivinsfilm.com. Like Molly said..”have fun while you’re fighting for freedom. I will Miss Molly…I will.