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Friday 5 September 2014

Don’t Menshn Joan Rivers

Comedian Joan Rivers has died. Her career lasted almost half a century, and she worked almost to the end. As the BBC report noted, though, “Her stand-up act took no prisoners and her comments often proved controversial”. Much of what she said was in bad taste, but hilarious nonetheless (an appropriately tasteless tribute can be seen further down the post).
(c) Doc Hackenbush 2014

As the tributes poured in last night, though, there had to be a dissenting voice: Ms Rivers had reportedly made some seriously off-colour comments about the conflict in Gaza last month. She later claimed her remarks were taken out of context, and if someone is going to take remarks out of context and simultaneously put the boot in, who better than Manhattan’s Fox News wannabe Louise Mensch?
Her comments about Gaza and its civilians and children showed an extraordinary racism and cruelty ... Luckily, God is more merciful than we are” she asserted, and no, I don’t know where the ISIS and rape gang relevance is, either. Perhaps Ms Mensch found the Rivers quote “I knew that I was an unwanted baby when I saw my bath toys were a toaster and a radio” hitting a little too close to home.
And this snark wasn’t a one-off: “Joan Rivers was wicked and celebrated the death of children. She should not be lauded in death” she carped, and not even a gentle intervention from Danny Baker (“Not now, eh Louise?”) could prevent another kick. Maybe she’s jealous of Ms Rivers’ pad? “I adore my apartment in New York. It was a ballroom that I remade, so it’s like a loft, but done by Louis the Fifteenth”.
Back at humourless Mensch Towers, the attack on Ms Rivers’ memory continued. “On civilian victims in Gaza ‘Don’t you dare make me feel sad about that’ ... ‘we now don’t count who’s dead. You’re dead. You deserve to be dead’ On civilians in Gaza”. Oh for the Rivers self-deprecation: “I was not an attractive child. When I didn’t use my Girl Scouts uniform as a uniform, I used it as a tent”.
There is, Ms Mensch, a time and a place for everything, and not letting the dead go cold before putting the boot in is not a good way to win friends and influence people. But back to Joan Rivers to lighten things up: “I blame my mother for my poor sex life. All she told me was ‘The man goes on top and the woman underneath’. For three years my husband and I slept in bunk beds”.

What all those Joan Rivers quotes are intended to show – though getting through to Ms Mensch is nigh-on impossible – is that she wouldn’t have given the proverbial flying foxtrot what a nobody like Louise Mensch thought about her. Nobody who quipped “It’s so long since I’ve had sex that I’ve forgotten who ties up who” is taking it too seriously. So she offended people? That’s what she was there for.

And what, you may ask, is Louise Mensch there for? Who knows? And who cares?


Ceiliog said...

Quite. Joan Rivers was a stand-up comic and nobody, including her targets, should have taken her seriously. Mensch, on the other hand, wants to be taken seriously but she's on par with a tank of puke laced with acid.

Anonymous said...

I actually don't disagree with Louise Mensch on this one. And I honestly never thought I'd say that.

Joan Rivers was utterly vile. She hid behind 'it's just a joke' to say awful things about people, she spread as much misery and disgust as she did laughter. Her comedy was more and more at the expense of other people and the most vulnerable in particular as her career progressed. Her rant against the children of Gaza wasn't taken out of context - she said exactly what she meant to say and to try and claim otherwise would be disingenuous. People laud her as some kind of feminist icon - most of those people are men. She was a feminist trailblazer in comedy in the same way Margaret Thatcher was a feminist trailblazer in politics. And we all know how that legacy has worked out. She shouldn't be an icon but rather a cautionary tale.

Ian Y said...

On this occasion I agree with Louise Mensch, the remarks were not taken out of context and neither was it edgy black humour just a nasty, bigoted rant.