The Book Of Jezebel: I Is For Ivins, Molly

Illustration for article titled The Book Of Jezebel: I Is For Ivins, Molly

As you may have heard, on October 22nd we'll be publishing our first book, a 300-page, hardcover, illustrated encyclopedia called The Book of Jezebel. In honor of this milestone —which took many years and dozens of contributors to execute—we'll be posting one entry from the book a day, starting with "A" and continuing on through to "Z." Although the book itself has already been printed — it's gorgeous — questions, additions, annotations and suggestions on the entries that appear online are welcomed and encouraged.

Ivins, Molly (1944-2007)

Wickedly funny Texan writer who gave George W. Bush the nickname Shrub and was known for her no-bullshit, genuinely populist, faux-folksy political wisdom. Although barbs like "If his IQ went any lower, we'd have to water him twice a day" made her famous outside Texas, her intelligence and sincere patriotism shone through even her most vitriolic columns. After the 2004 presidential election, Ivins addressed readers who whine, "There's nothing I can do about it" in her Columbus Free Press column: "If the last election didn't teach you that every vote counts, you may want to consider assisted living. Of course, you don't have as much say in this country as the people who give big money to the politicians—but that can be fixed. As an American living today, your one vote means you have more political power than 99 percent of all the people who ever lived on this planet. Think about it: Who ever had this much power? A peasant in ancient Egypt? A Roman slave? A medieval shoemaker? A French farmer? Your grandfather? Why throw power away? Use it. Leverage it."

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DISCUSSION

anacanapana
anacanapana

• It is possible to read the history of this country as one long struggle to extend the liberties established in our Constitution to everyone in America.

• Politics is not a picture on a wall or a television sitcom that you can decide you don't much care for.

• There's never been a law yet that didn't have a ridiculous consequence in some unusual situation; there's probably never been a government program that didn't accidentally benefit someone it wasn't intended to. Most people who work in government understand that what you do about it is fix the problem — you don't just attack the whole government.

• One function of the income gap is that the people at the top of the heap have a hard time even seeing those at the bottom. They practically need a telescope. The pharaohs of ancient Egypt probably didn't waste a lot of time thinking about the people who built their pyramids, either. OK, so it's not that bad yet — but it's getting that bad.

• Just when you thought there wasn't a dime's worth of difference between the two parties, the Republicans go and prove you're wrong.

• I am not anti-gun. I'm pro-knife. Consider the merits of the knife. In the first place, you have to catch up with someone in order to stab him. A general substitution of knives for guns would promote physical fitness. We'd turn into a whole nation of great runners. Plus, knives don't ricochet. And people are seldom killed while cleaning their knives.

• The United States of America is still run by its citizens. The government works for us. Rank imperialism and warmongering are not American traditions or values. We do not need to dominate the world. We want and need to work with other nations. We want to find solutions other than killing people. Not in our name, not with our money, not with our children's blood.

• I believe all Southern liberals come from the same starting point — race. Once you figure out they are lying to you about race, you start to question everything.

• If you grew up white before the civil rights movement anywhere in the South, all grown-ups lied. They'd tell you stuff like, "Don't drink out of the colored fountain, dear, it's dirty." In the white part of town, the white fountain was always covered with chewing gum and the marks of grubby kids' paws, and the colored fountain was always clean. Children can be horribly logical.

• In Texas, we do not hold high expectations for the office; it's mostly been occupied by crooks, dorks and the comatose.

• Good thing we've still got politics in Texas — finest form of free entertainment ever invented.

• I dearly love the state of Texas, but I consider that a harmless perversion on my part, and discuss it only with consenting adults.

• I have been attacked by Rush Limbaugh on the air, an experience somewhat akin to being gummed by a newt. It doesn't actually hurt, but it leaves you with slimy stuff on your ankle.

• Let me say for the umpteenth time, George W. is not a stupid man. The IQ of his gut, however, is open to debate. In Texas, his gut led him to believe the death penalty has a deterrent effect, even though he acknowledged there was no evidence to support his gut's feeling. When his gut, or something, causes him to announce that he does not believe in global warming — as though it were a theological proposition — we once again find his gut ruling that evidence is irrelevant. In my opinion, Bush's gut should not be entrusted with making peace in the Middle East.