Life, etc

Obituary: Joan Rivers, a lone voice of outrage in the wilderness of bland

By Pieter-Dirk Uys 5 September 2014

Today the world stage is crowded with Super Issues, each making loud speeches, thinking their monologues are unique. ISIS beheads, Ebola kills, Gaza bleeds, Israel justifies, Ukraine steels itself while Russia steals, NATO growls, Boko Haram plunders, Oscar waits, Zuma dances, news breaks and nobody laughs. And then Joan Rivers dies! By PIETER-DIRK UYS

As the incurable virus of political-correctness colonizes world opinion and it becomes racist and/or sexist to make jokes about humourless people, virtually impossible to make us laugh at unfunny horrors, unfashionable to allow the world to heal by looking at itself without rose-coloured valiums in hand, a lone voice of outrage in the wilderness of bland has been recalled. Joan River speaks no more.

Eighty-one is a number. Joan Rivers hooked onto it as an age. The world must have run out of Botox because she’s moved on. Never scared to say the unmentionable, she is now at the last frontier of what dare not be joked about.

Always ready to put herself first in the line of fire, Miss Rivers can now lash out at her tatty angels’ wings and plastic halo, and introduce her version of the Heavenly Fashion Police that will force Mother Theresa to hide in terror. Having survived every negative tsunami of life – from a husband’s suicide to ridicule and contempt from the snarling masks of good taste – Joan Rivers was one of a kind.

How depressing that this remaining dinosaur of free expression is now just a retrospective look at a rare life so fully lived.

The world of chuckle and gasp has lost too many guardian angels of laughter in the last few weeks: Elaine Stritch, Robin Williams and now Joan Rivers. There are still a few fearless old farts hanging around the perimeters of so-called good taste and blandly acceptable comedy, occasionally spitting the acid of shock into the becalmed seas of satire and what was once understood to be fun. Not much fun left; just fashionable forgettable over-tweeted blah blah blah. Joan Rivers always reminded us that nothing is above satire, that no one is immune to a joke! Victims deserve to be laughed at because no one needs to be a victim if they lead by the example of courage and dignity. The rich and famous swopped a sense of humour for money and elitism. Joan Rivers has clipped their Teflon wings.

Dare one insult her and say: RIP? No! Get up there to that Tonight Show in the sky and give them hell, Miss Rivers. Start with the Deities of all religions and work your way down the chorus line of the monsters and the mad. We mortals, who are bereft and left behind, will always treasure and practice your legacy: 49% anger vs 51% entertainment. DM

Photo: A file picture dated 26 April 2010 shows US comedienne Joan Rivers during her 2010 Tribeca Film Festival opening of ‘Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work’ in New York. EPA/JASON SZENES

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