Award-winning filmmaker Janice Engel presents the story of the late media change-maker, Molly Irvins, in her documentary Raising Hell: The Life & Times of Molly Irvins.
Noted often as a modern day Mark Twain, Molly delighted in the opportunity to call-out corruption whenever she found it and used her humor, commanding and loud voice as a journalist (literal and figurative) as her platform. Yep! She was also deemed 'trouble' among 'good-'ol-boys' no matter what arena but often she'd hit the politicians hard.
Molly gained acclaim as a bestselling author, Pulitzer Prize nominee and popular television guest as an expert on a particular topics. Molly had fans and 'frenemies' because she spoke the truth to power. Her courageous outcries often had its consequences. Engel incorporates those circumstances in her piece because it is a part of Molly's relatable story.
The most endearing aspect about her style of journalism was her clever humor. Engel says, "The gal was funny! Her razor-sharp wit left both side of the aisle laughing. Here's a few examples from speeches:
"My fellow citizens, we live in a great nation. It's occasional resemblance to a lunatic asylum is purely coincidental and doubtlessly not the intention of the author of us all." ~ Molly Irvins
"Texas Democrats are enough trouble. Why the hell anyone ever thought we needed two political parties down here is beyond me." ~ Molly Irvins
"I get a lot of mail from the NRA. Most of it comes on Big Chief tablets written in red crayon." ~ Molly Irvins
Former President Bill Clinton said, "When she (Molly) writes something good about you it's the best thing in the world, when she writes something bad it's almost as good." Molly understood the value of humor because people listen to that style of communication. At the height of her career over 400 publications carried her byline. Molly was a trail-blazer and often raised hell against big government calling it "Big Bidness." She said, "Either we figure out a way to keep the corporate cash out of the political system or we lose the democracy." Engel continues, "Molly insisted that America's problems weren't from "left-to-right partisan" but "top-to-bottom economic."
Engel's documentary opens up a dynamic discussion in which Molly was brave enough to start until her passing. Her influence ignites former colleagues (Dan Rather, Rachel Maddow, Paul Krugman, Anne Lamott, Ben Barnes, Jim Hightower, Victor Navasky, Cecile Richards among others) and each take on a portion of her torch, Engel says, which is, "...to shed light on the "unholy alliance" between modern politics and media, define responsible journalism and prove how relevant Molly's Civics 101 is today: The Constitution and The Bill of Rights belong to We The People."
"Politics is not a picture on a wall or a television sitcom that you can decide you don't much care for...politics is not about those people in Washington, those people in your state capital...this country is run by us, it is our deal, we run this country, we are the board of directors, we own it, they are just the people we've hired to drive the bus for a while."~Molly