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Raise Hell: The Life & Times of Molly Ivins
Directed by Janice Engel

Molly Ivins was a unique character in political journalism, unmatched by anyone because of her clear-eyed, brutally honest, and wildly funny indictments of political foolishness on both sides of the aisle. Ivins was a civil libertarian, even as that would include listening to what she referred to as “bubbas” expressing themselves on guns, monster trucks, and, of course, beer.

Ivins was a graduate of elite Smith College, where she felt like an outsider, a feeling she expressed as having had throughout her life. Campus was home for young women in skirts, delicate cardigans, and pearls, and while she felt like she didn’t belong, her academic excellence was a conduit to her entrance to the renowned Columbia University School of Journalism for her master’s degree. She came of age in a time of unrest in resistance to racism, civil rights activism, war protests, and growing culture wars, and she immersed herself fully in the battles.

Ivins became a columnist as various Texas newspapers skewering politicians and at the same time, drinking hard with them behind closed doors, and where she was twice nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. Her column was eventually syndicated and she continued to be an outspoken critic of political incompetence and absurdity with a wicked sense of humor.

Ivins was not a believer in objective journalism and asserted that most journalists are deceiving themselves about that as she explains in her famous statement: “First of all, there’s no such thing as objectivity. Everybody in journalism knows it and I think we hoist ourselves on our own petard constantly by pretending we’re objective, when there is no such thing. How you see the world depends on where you stand and who you are, there’s nothing any of us can do about that. So my solution has been to let my readers know where I stand, and they can take that with a grain of salt or a pound of salt, depending on their preferences.”

Her uncompromising style and originality will be remembered not only by journalists, but by champions of social justice and everyone fighting battles against racial and economic inequalities and political corruption.

— Marianne Mallon