In 1976, her writing, which she said was often fueled by “truly impressive amounts of beer,” landed her a job at The New York Times. She cut an unusual figure in The Times newsroom, wearing blue jeans, going barefoot and bringing in her dog, whose name was an expletive.I do have to say this is not a trait peculiar to the late Ms. Ivins, but more a product of Yankees who insist on stereotyping Texans (and which we, in turn, constantly use to our advantage. Yankees are so easy...):
Covering the Legislature, she found characters whose fatuousness helped focus her calling and define her persona, which her friends saw as populist and her detractors saw as manufactured cornpone. Even her friends marveled at how fast she could drop her Texas voice for what they called her Smith voice. Sometimes she combined them, as in, “The sine qua non, as we say in Amarillo.”Yes, NYT, we do know such words here in the Lone Star State. Why, we even have a university or two.
But this is why I was waiting for this obit particularly:
Covering an annual chicken slaughter in New Mexico in 1980, she used a sexually suggestive phrase, which her editors deleted from the final article. But her effort to use it angered the executive editor, A. M. Rosenthal, who ordered her back to New York and assigned her to City Hall, where she covered routine matters with little flair.The phrase, of course, was "gang-pluck." Even in death, the Grey Lady has to edit the Texas Lady. I also hoped to see this, of course; presented in the pages of the mitey New York Times with absolutely no irony at all. The "paper" is The Texas Observer:
Indeed, rarely has a reporter so embodied the ethos of her publication. On the paper’s 50th anniversary in 2004, she wrote: “This is where you can tell the truth without the bark on it, laugh at anyone who is ridiculous, and go after the bad guys with all the energy you have.”God bless her. She was Texan through and through, and there'll never be another one like her.