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You Got to Dance with Them What Brung You:…

You Got to Dance with Them What Brung You: Politics in the Clinton Years (original 1998; edition 1998)

by Molly Ivins

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289461,733 (4)8
Molly Ivins exposes the the fatuous and hypocritical in American political life.
Title:You Got to Dance with Them What Brung You: Politics in the Clinton Years
Authors:Molly Ivins
Info:Random House (1998), Edition: 1st, Hardcover, 244 pages
Collections:Your library

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You Got to Dance with Them What Brung You by Molly Ivins (1998)



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"It's been five years since Molly Ivins' last book, which is probably too long a time in the opinion of her many fans. But the intervening years have given the bestselling author and syndicated columnist some of the best raw material a political writer could ask for. The Republicans staged a revolution, Clinton was reelected, welfare 'deform' swept the country, and the militia movement came out of the bunker: in short, it's been a banner time for Molly's brand of shoot-from-the-hip commentary and uproarious anecdotes.

"You Got to Dance with Them What Brung You brings together a first-class collection of smart, spirited, and fiercely funny writings. From the wild and woolly politics of her native Texas to the waffling in the Oval Office, Molly exposes the fatuous and hypocritical at all levels of public life. Whether she's writing about the 1996 presidential candidates ("Dole contributed perhaps the funniest line of the year with his immortal observation that tobacco is not addictive but that too much milk might be bad for us. The check from the dairy lobby must have been late that week"), conspiracy theorists ("Twenty-five years in the newspaper bidness have given me a fairly strong faith in the proposition that if you haven't read about it in The Daily Disappointment or seen it on the network news, it's probably not true") or cultural trends ("I saw a restaurant in Seattle that specialized in latte and barbecue. Barbecue and latte. I came home immediately"), Molly takes on the issues of the day with her trademark good sense and inimitable wit.

" 'I can think of few causes more important than keeping free voices alive in a world of corporate media,' Molly writes. She is one of those voices and a national treasure; as the Los Angeles Times puts it, she is 'H.L. Mencken without the cruelty, Will Rogers with an agenda.' Whatever your political persuasion, you're bound to agree that Molly Ivins is one of the sharpest and most original commentators on the American scene today."
~~front & back flaps

Just to keep things out in the open, let me announce now that I am a huge Molly Ivins fan, so this review might possibly be unobjective ...

She's incredible. And funny. Laugh-out-loud hysterically funny, like P.G. Wodehouse, Robert
Benchley, James Thurber or any other author who can make you hoot and howl with laughter so easily that you dare not read their books in public.

For example: she wrote about a "community chicken-killing festival" in New Mexico and called it a "gang-pluck" ... I dare you to read that in public without embarrassing yourself by roaring out loud!

"For example, in her 1993 essay "Taking a Stab at Our Infatuation with Guns", she begins by saying:

"Let me start this discussion by pointing out that I am not anti-gun. I'm pro-knife. Consider the merits of the knife.

" In the first place, you have to catch up with someone in order to stab him. A general substitution of knives for guns would promote physical fitness. We'd turn into a whole nation of great runners. Plus, knives don't ricochet. And people are seldom killed while cleaning their knives.

" As a civil libertarian, I of course support the Second Amendment. And I believe it means exactly what it says: "A well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed." Fourteen-year-old boys are not part of a well-regulated militia. Members of wacky religious cults are not part of a well-regulated militia. Permitting unregulated citizens to have guns is destroying the security of this free state.

" I am intrigued by the arguments of those who claim to follow the judicial doctrine of original intent. How do they know it was the dearest wish of Thomas Jefferson's heart that teen-age drug dealers should cruise the cities of this nation perforating their fellow citizens with assault rifles? Channelling?" [Wikipedia]

For example: "On James M. Collins, U.S. Representative, R-Dallas: 'If his IQ slips any lower we'll have to water him twice a day.' Collins had said that the current energy crisis could be averted if 'we didn't use all that gas on school busing....' "

I could go on for pages. Molly's trademark was withering criticism of public stupidity, in language guaranteed to make the reader laugh, and thereby guaranteeing that the reader would remember the quote, and the foolishness of whoever or whatever she was against.

And one of the most politically astute objective observers of American politics. Clear-eyed, concise and pungently on target.

Molly died in 1993 of breast cancer. Paul Krugman (https://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpag...) and I think the world is a poorer place since she's been gone.

Molly, where are you now when we need you? ( )
  Aspenhugger | Aug 20, 2017 |
I first read Molly Ivins when I came across her book titled "Shrub". Damn funny and insightful I wish more people had read it before the 2000 election. Well, to late, and unfortunately she wasn't around for the election in 2016. But, after reading "You Got to Dance with Them What Brung You" I'll bet it would have been funny, satiric, and have the Donald in the corner, crying! Yeah, a lot of us would have loved it! If you haven't yet, read her books and see for yourself. ( )
  thosgpetri | Feb 5, 2017 |
Molly Ivins, boy do I miss you. But this collection of your essays is a small reminder of your biting wit and spot on analysis of the absurdity of American and Texas politics. If you haven't read Molly, you don't know Texas! Or The Shrub. ( )
  Oreillynsf | Jun 18, 2010 |
Molly Ivins just gets better each time out. This is her third collection of her smart, funny, tough-minded columns from the best-writing liberal Tex-fem alive. The last chapter is a selection of tributes to those who have passed on, from Barbara Jordan to Richard Nixon (not exactly a tribute) to her mother. This book contains one of her best lines, on the occasion of Rush Limbaugh's attack of her on his show: "...an experience somewhat akin to being gummed by a newt. It doesn't actually hurt, but it leaves you with slimy stuff on your ankle." My favorite columnist, and only partly because I have generally agreed with her views. She is damn smart, funny, and always interesting. ( )
1 vote burnit99 | Feb 1, 2007 |
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