July 14, 2017

"Texas has always had a burlesque side to its politics."

"The columnist Molly Ivins made a national reputation as a humor writer by lampooning the people we elect to office. One of my favorites in this category was Mike Martin, a state representative from Longview. In 1981, someone shotgunned the trailer he lived in during his months in Austin. Martin was inside, and was slightly injured. He declared that the shooting was in reprisal for an investigation he was pursuing involving a satanic cult. Later, his cousin admitted that he had fired the weapon at Martin’s behest, ostensibly to gain Martin sympathy votes. (Martin was running for reĆ«lection.) Martin fled Austin, but, as Ivins noted, the police 'tracked him to earth at his momma’s house, where he was found hiding in the stereo cabinet.' She added, 'He always did want to be the Speaker.'"

From "America’s Future Is Texas/With right-wing zealots taking over the legislature even as the state’s demographics shift leftward, Texas has become the nation’s bellwether," by Lawrence Wright (in The New Yorker). I'm just quoting a paragraph I found very interesting (even before I got to the spectacular punchline). The title and subtitle of the article are a far more accurate indication of what's in the big article.

43 comments:

n.n said...

Gerrymandering through excessive immigration, forced refugee crises, and [class] diversity that is subsidized through redistributive change (e.g. welfare industry, reformed/progressive "religious" organizations).

Planned Parenthood doesn't help, but at least it's selective-child and not one-child, I suppose. The Ducks will inherit America.

There is definitely a left-wing swing. A clear and progressive anti-native, anti-American sentiment with a [class] diversity twist exploited by "minority" leaders.

Sam L. said...

There used to be a bumper sticker that read: A little town in Texas is missing its idiot." To which I always thought, when I saw one, "Molly Ivins, please call home."

Feste said...

This is poo. I’m not a subscriber to New Yorker. I cannot read the article. If Molly Ivins is involved, and one subject line is a politician ordering a shooting of himself to gain sympathy votes, then I’m guessing that the punchline is that every state politician in Texas is going to order self-shootings for sympathy votes, and end up succeeding in getting mortally shot (gotta do it big in Texas), and that is how the swamp in Texas will be drained.

It won’t be bipartisan fighting.

It will be each politician getting sucked into the Great Singularity of his or her own party, while suicidally pleading for sympathy from the Whole Cosmos of Texas Voters.

But the Republic of the Cosmos of Voters doesn’t care anymore.

All the politicians have self-destructed.

All the voters are happy.

FullMoon said...

Neighbor advises, "Go east until you smell bullshit, go south until you step in it. You will be in Texas

Michael K said...

I'm reading Robert Caro's biography of Lyndon Johnson. Actually, I'm listening to the audio book.

Two things: I was not far into it before I found that the author did not like Johnson.

Second, the part about his career as a "secretary' for Dick Kleberg is very interesting and tells me where the present day corrupt politics came from.

Quite interesting.

Jack Wayne said...

Texas has corrupt politicians like every other state. But the idea that it will go blue anytime soon is a pipe dream.

Rob said...

I knew when Trump was elected that The New Yorker would have dyspepsia, but I didn't anticipate the depth of their despair and the height of their dudgeon. It's the gift that keeps on giving. Thank you, Jeebus.

Mountain Maven said...

Ivins was sometimes funny. Mostly she was a nasty leftist with copious contempt for Texans.

deepelemblues said...

Any article that expounds demographics is destiny most likely isn't worth reading. They're usually lazy wishful (or mournful) thinking pieces.

chickelit said...

America’s Future Is Texas/With right-wing zealots taking over the legislature even as the state’s demographics shift leftward, Texas has become the nation’s bellwether,

Are lefties moving to Texas in droves? What's behind the assumption that demographics portend a lefty future? Are south-of-the border immigrants on board with gun control, unrestricted abortion, and transexual rights?

What is this guy smoking?

chickelit said...

Any article that expounds demographics is destiny most likely isn't worth reading.

The future does belong to those who show up. But sometimes those who show up are unexpected.

Jon Ericson said...

"the police
'tracked him to earth at his momma’s house,
where he was found hiding in the stereo cabinet.'

She added,

'He always did want to be the Speaker.'"

(chortle)

Achilles said...

"America’s Future Is Texas/With right-wing zealots taking over the legislature even as the state’s demographics shift leftward, Texas has become the nation’s bellwether,"

Leftists think all minorities vote in a particular way. Hence they, as racists, believe demographics are moving their way. Except they aren't winning elections...

Inexplicable really.

chickelit said...

Really do wish that my wife would stop, STOP reading The New Yorker.
OTOH, she objects to somethings I read so it's a wash.

Achilles said...

This story is popping up in several places.

Top officials in the Democratic National Committee are worried about a sudden drop in voter registrations in Colorado, concerned that President Donald Trump’s new election commission is encouraging Democrats across the country to remove themselves from the electoral grid for fear of revealing personal information to the GOP leadership.

Led by DNC Chairman Tom Perez, they’ve begun an effort — in conjunction with the Colorado Democratic Party — to persuade other members of the party’s rank-and-file to stay registered.


That last part should read...

"Led by DNC Chairman Tom Perez, they’ve begun an effort — in conjunction with the Colorado Democratic Party — to persuade other members of the party’s rank-and-file to keep their dead relatives and out of state family members and illegals registered risking jail time for voter fraud."

This is what democrats call "demographics."

chickelit said...

Jeff Sessions' DoJ just outed a bunch of healthcare fraudsters; just wait until voter fraudsters are outed.

chickelit said...
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chickelit said...

What's behind the assumption that demographics portend a lefty future?

As good cowboys, Texas lefties assume that they will herd immigrants and perhaps drive them north to market.

mike in houston said...

I once spent a weekend with Molly Ivins at a small house party in east Texas. While sometimes funny she mostly spent the weekend making snarky remarks about the people who didn't agree with her politics, She didn't like me reminding her of her own privileged background, especially her having graduated from The St. John's School.She grew up in the River Oaks section of Houston, something I wouldn't let her forget.

lgv said...

Molly Ivins had this condescending style of humor, call it nasty, mean, and petty. For an article predicated on shifting future demographics, quoting Ivins seems a little odd. Of course, by doing so it reveals the perspective of the author; somewhere to the left of Karl Marx.

gadfly said...

On 60 Minutes back in 2006, Daniel Shorn said:
There has been no shortage of great characters in the governor's mansion of the great state of Texas. There was Ma Ferguson, who, on the subject of teaching foreign languages, said if English was good enough for Jesus, it's good enough for Texans. And there was Sam Houston, who beat an opposing politician, literally throttled him with his cane. There was Ann Richards, who described George Bush senior as "Poor George, he was born with a silver foot in his mouth."

Then there was Kinky Friedman, a 2006 gubernatorial candidate, better known for his singing career. Kinky Freidman and his Texas Jewboys toured with Bob Dylan in the mid-70s, singing ballads with titles like "How Can I Tell You I Love You (When You're Sitting On My Face)" and "They Ain't Makin' Jews Like Jesus Anymore."

In 2006 he lost his bid for Texas Governor failing in his goal to "dewussify" the Lone Star State, getting only 12% of the votes. How can we not mention campaign slogans like: "How Hard Could It Be?", "Why The Hell Not?", "My Governor is a Jewish Cowboy" and "He ain't Kinky, he's my Governor"

Said Kinky: "Telling the truth is what I do and as, you know, the old Turkish proverb …'If you tell the truth, have one foot in the stirrup.'"

exiledonmainstreet said...

In 1995, conservative humorist Florence King accused Ivins of plagiarizing.

"The American Spectator‘s R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr. sided with King, writing that ”the cleverest and boldest commentator on the American left” has finally revealed ”the source of her prodigious talent…Molly Ivins Can’t Say That, Can She? Obviously she can, but only after reading Miss King.”

Ivins, 51, a syndicated columnist for the Star-Telegram, told The Washington Post she had a ”moral obligation” to apologize for the paragraphs ”that should have been directly attributed to Florence King,” but stopped short of admitting to plagiarism. ”I have no idea how the indirect quotations got scrambled up. I thought I had credited her every time I used her.”


That wasn’t enough for King, who issued a statement saying ”Molly Ivins brags that she’s a left-wing, aging Bohemian, non-lesbian journalist who fears no authority, so let me brag that I’m a gentleman, and that if we had the right kind of laws in this country, I’d challenge her to a duel over this.”

http://ew.com/article/1995/11/24/molly-ivins-plagiarist/

exiledonmainstreet said...


"Then there was Kinky Friedman, a 2006 gubernatorial candidate, better known for his singing career. Kinky Freidman and his Texas Jewboys toured with Bob Dylan in the mid-70s, singing ballads with titles like "How Can I Tell You I Love You (When You're Sitting On My Face)" and "They Ain't Makin' Jews Like Jesus Anymore."

Don't forget the classic "Asshole from El Paso."

Dickin'Bimbos@Home said...

Have you noticed that Leftwing zealots never mention Leftwing Zealots.

mezzrow said...

Back when I was a thoughtless liberal member of the edublob, I thought Molly Ivins was smart and funny. I was younger, dumber, and much less wise then than I am now. When I could finally see the contempt in the humor, it wasn't so funny any more. Kind of like discovering who the mark is in a con game when it turns out to be you.

GRW3 said...

People who spout demographics seldom look at on the ground facts. Texas, unlike my experience with California, is highly intermingled Hispanic and Anglo. Offspring of such unions are - Hispanic. And would be for several generations of Anglo recombination. The advantage is in being Hispanic, government wise. San Antonio is about 60% Hispanic but a lot of them, like granddaughter #2, can't speak any more Spanish than I can. We have dark brown Smiths and pasty white Lopezes. My white enough to be the definition waiter son has startled more than one party with his ability to speak the local TexMex.

Bad Lieutenant said...

Happily, Molly Ivins died what I am assured was a horrible death by cancer.

Some Seppo said...

Ivins was funny and inciteful up until about 1995. I think the bitterness of left wing politics finally destroyed her soul.

Much like Fascism perpetually descending upon the US yet always landing in Europe, so goes the demographic bombshells.

ddh said...

Everything about Molly Ivins was fake, including the accent.

MathMom said...

America’s Future Is Texas/With right-wing zealots taking over the legislature...

Yeah, we keep trying, but we have a "Republican" Speaker, Straus, who won't bring Republican bills to a vote. He continues to push the Dem's agenda. Go figure.

Hagar said...

I don't think any state can top California - at least I hope they can't.

West Texas Intermediate Crude said...

As luck would have it, I read the New Yorker article about Texas on the flight from Dallas to Philadelphia en route to visiting my east coast family. It, like so many such articles about this part of the country, had the "Gorillas in the Mist" feel to it- and, as Glenn says, if you like more Trump, this is how you get more Trump.
The upcoming HuffPo safari will be stopping in Odessa, Texas, one of the few cities they are visiting that did not vote for Hillary! (69%-28% for Trump). Maybe they will learn something. Maybe not.

John said...

Exiled:

Florence King was a national treasure. I still miss her.

Molly Ivins, not so much. She was fun to read sometimes, I even bought 1-2 of her books. fun doesn't mean memorable. Peanuts is fun but I remember very little. Ditto Ivins.

John Henry

jacksonjay said...

FullMoon's neighbor is prolly one of them Damn Yankees that invaded our Great State lookin for a piece of the pie! Them assholes is makin the state unlivable! Stay the Hell away if ya don't like bullshit!

MountainMan said...

I lived in Longview, TX, in the 1980's and remember the Mike Martin incident. We loved living there, except for the heat, humidity, cockroaches, and boom-and-bust cycles tied to the price of oil. The politics at the state and local level were always entertaining if not outright crazy.

Robert Cook said...

"Happily, Molly Ivins died what I am assured was a horrible death by cancer."

Only a very terrible human being could be happy for the "horrible death by cancer" of another because he disliked the politics and opinions of the deceased. (It's not as if she initiated or maintained America on a years-long path of murder, torture, destruction, and terror on the other side of the world. One can take one's pick of who I'm referring to...there's more than one.)

Ann Althouse said...

From The Kerrville Times, December 29, 1987:

"Martin's first flight from the law in 1981 ended two weeks later when he was found hiding in a stereo cabinet at his mother's home."

Bad Lieutenant said...
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Bad Lieutenant said...

Only a very terrible human being could be worthy of a "horrible death by cancer" and Molly Ivins was a very terrible human being. She named her dog Shit. That is one fucked up woman.

She would, undoubtedly, vigorously express such sentiments about people she opposed or disliked, either flatly or with coy litotes/praeteritio. There was no decency in her of the sort you evince and her decorum requiem is to receive none. I spurn her with my heel.

One is allowed to make these judgments for oneself. Nobody has to agree. And it's not like it matters now, certainly least of all to her.

Oso Negro said...

Hello All from Galveston Island in the Great State of Texas! Here is something that you can take to the bank - real Texans simply don't give a fuck what the New Yorker magazine writes about them. We always have a thread of liberals (Molly Ivins was one) bemoaning that we cannot become more Yankeefied. But somehow, we keep avoiding it. I used to work in a Half Price Books store about three blocks from the State capitol building. Sales of pornography doubled every time the legislature was in session. But that was only once every two years, one of the smartest things ever, as they can only do half the damage of a normal legislature.

tcrosse said...

Ivins was cut of the same cloth as Garrison Kiellor, sort of faux, faux folksy until the Folks vote the wrong way.

dreams said...

It had to be have been a source of quiet satisfaction for George Bush and other Texas politicians to know that that six foot pile of liberal refuse cease to exist 10 years ago.

Jim at said...

Back in the early '90s when I first started working in politics, our local paper carried Molly Ivins' columns.

So, I started reading her. Three, maybe five columns later it was simply the same old shit with a different arrangement of words.

Bitter. Snobby. Condescending. Arrogant. Leftist.

Never bothered to read any of her crap again.