I dearly love the state of Texas, but I consider that a harmless perversion on my part, and discuss it only with consenting adults. – Molly Ivins (1944 – 2007)
Molly Ivins was a writer best known for her columns in more than 400 newspapers across the country which poked fun at her favorite targets: the corrupt Texas legislature, George Dubya Bush and Bill Clinton, her adopted state of Texas, bubbas in that state, herself, and the breast cancer that eventually killed her. A best selling author, humorist and speaker, she became one of the most famous female storytellers ever to claim the state of Texas as her own – to run with that image as the tall Texan in her cowboy boots, her pickup truck and her dog named Shit as she mixed it up with the most powerful people in the state capital of Austin. At her height of 6 feet she was easily spotted at the bars and cocktail parties where she drank with enthusiasm and was frequently overserved. Alcoholism was an addiction she considered necessary for her humor, but the laughs came with a steep price.
I grew up in Arizona. I love it. I’m a part of the desert. I feel like, really I’m from the Sonoran Desert, which extends to both sides of the border. I’m really from that part of Mexico, also. And I hate that there’s a fence, you know running through it. Linda Ronstadt (1946 – )
Linda Ronstadt was two years younger than Molly Ivins and came from a state farther west; she told her stories with musical notes rather than simply relying on written words. A voice with a truly pure sound that defied labels, her eclectic genres included rock and roll, hard rock, soft rock, folk, art rock, country, gospel, rhythm and blues, opera, standard American classics, Mexican mariachi, pop, five golden rings and a partridge in a pear tree. She became a female musical powerhouse in America during the 1960s and 70s when the profession was male and drug dominated – not necessarily in that order. Linda avoided heavy drugs but succumbed to an addiction for diet pills that plagued her at various times during her ten years on the road. In 2011 she retired due to the onset of Parkinson’s disease, a disease that also affected her maternal grandmother, a disease that has taken away her voice.
This past weekend Pretty and I went to see two documentaries…Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice and Raise Hell: The Life and Times of Molly Ivins. I’m glad we saw them close together almost like an old double feature because I had an opportunity to reflect on the lives of two women who used their individual voices of celebrity and talent to challenge the politics and culture of the newspaper and entertainment industries at a time when women across the globe sought to make their own voices heard wherever they worked and lived. Post World War II women never again would fit nicely into their ticky tacky boxes that all looked just the same. The times they were, indeed, a changing for women – Molly Ivins and Linda Ronstadt were two of them.