It’s not an irrelevant question: She was a newspaper columnist, mostly, from Texas, and the Chronicle is a Texas newspaper. We would have liked to have read about that, somewhere amid the gee-hawing.
Obvious question aside, we noticed that the author of the editorial forgot to disable the “insert cliché here” function on whatever program was used to write it. Ivins’ wit, we are told, was “rapier-like,” her barbs “razor-sharp” and one public service (their words) she performed was “comforting the afflicted and afflicting the comfortable” (that should have said “some of the comfortable,” if accuracy were an objective).
Well, you never saw any of those razor-sharp barbs in the Chronicle.
What really bounded out at us, though, was a gratuitous bit of nastiness floating midway through the piece:
One lovely irony of her 30-odd-year legacy is that, more than most other prominent Texans, she embodied the values — the love of country, state, family and friends — that so many of her victims so publicly claimed but so often betrayed.That so so-so paragraph is screaming for adult supervision. (And we think the writer meant “targets,” not “victims,” but we’re not here to worry the small stuff.) It’s a sentiment worthy of Ann Coulter and the kind of unthinking maliciousness that Ivins either tried to avoid or blunted with humor, sometimes successfully.
Before leaving off, the editorialists use the occasion of Ivins’ passing to offer grammatically contorted instruction on who’s a real Texan, and where real Texans are from. (Hint: Not Texas!) Although born in California, the paper notes, Ivins
was a true Texan — most of whom were not born here, either.Yes, that’s how it is on the Upper West Side of the mind: Those who live there may tell themselves otherwise, but it’s a very exclusive place.