Discussion in 'Off The Beaten Track' started by Rex, Feb 28, 2013.
Ah, Tinami. Good to see you back.
Joan Rivers is from the Don Rickles school of humor. Jokes through insult, though she is far more vulgar. I watched Fashion Police that night and the comment made me squirm. I'm not Jewish, but it felt really scuzzy to me. I enjoy watching Fashion Police for the fashion itself, but most of the time I wish Joan would just shut up. I don't know that she has to apologize, it is Joan, but she should edit herself. It seems that she doesn't care about funny any more, just shock. And there are things that just are not funny.
Sorry for the double post.
I agree with you, as far as they have the "right" to call themselves what they want. But, I agree with Rex. It is an ugly word that should not be used by anyone. If a Black person uses the word, they can unintentionally take away from it's ugliness and give permission to others to use it. I used to think it was okay for Italians to call themselves Guineas, and did myself. But, I realized it was wrong. That my using the word helped perpetuate the ugly stereotype. I realized that i cannot be offended by all of the Italian Mafia movies and other portrayals of Italian Americans as thugs and morons and then use that word.
Didn't Joan go through a personal tragedy when her husband Edgar committed suicide? H-mmmnnn....wonder how Miss Rivers would feelif someone did a joke along the lines of "A widow goes into a bar and orders a beer....." Sorry, I don't find her joke the least bit funny.
Interesting. I agree that it wasn't about fashion at all but shock. My first time seeing the show and oddly, found Kelly Osborne to have interesting insights on fashion. I didn't know this about her. I'd seen her on DWTS and Dr. Phil but that's it. Funny she was dressed as a WW2 Bomb Girl!
I actually find Kelly Osbourne to be the most insightful of the whole group. I really like her. I honestly respect that she has been able to (at least publicly) conquer her demons and carve out a successful life for herself. She looks fabulous (though I could do without the lavender grey hair), I (as a mom) feel proud of her. That George Kotsiopoulos is what? An actor, he's no fashion expert. Why is he even on the show? Joan dresses for shit, has awful taste in her own wardrobe. And Giuliana is just an idiot. But, we do get to see some great fashion on the show.
An aside: Why in hell would they have Joan on Project Runway, as a judge? She's clueless. I would bet that after her comment Heidi is regretting that decision.
Are you serious? I don't find her insightful at all, just opinionated. With that awful haircolor. I think George and Giuliana know more about fashion than she does.
According to wikipedia, George Kotsiopoulos is a
I guess he has some credentials.
I am no prude but I just don't find Joan funny anymore. I bow to her for being a pioneer for females in stand-up but there is so much time spent being snarky on this show that it limits the number of gowns we see when the program airs. I'd rather cut to the chase and put up a lot of gowns and a very limited amount of time to comment on them.
I suspect from things she's said in the past, she would be okay with someone telling such a joke. I'm not saying it might not hurt her feelings, but I don't think she would express outrage and say they should apologize to family members who had lost someone to suicide.
The first time she went out after her husband's suicide, she said to her daughter (in a restaurant):
'Honey, if your father saw those prices, he'd kill himself all over again.'
Jews are known for their black humor, and Israelis are not different.
I guess that is why even though I find Joan Rivers as a very vulgar person, her humor makes me laugh.
I don't think her joke would work if she wasn't Jewish, though.
BTW, Chaya Ostrower- Ph.D from Tel-Aviv University, picked an interesting Ph.D subject:
If not humor we would have committed suicide - Humor as a defense mechanism in the Holocaust.
Her thesis was published by Yad Vashem in Hebrew. The English version is about to be published as well, but here are some of her thesis work.
An example to the self Jewish humor during Holocaust:
After getting off the train in Auschwitz, one of the Jews who were on the selection to the gas chambers began laughing. The SS asked him why is he laughing? The Jew answered: You are taking me to my death, and I still have to wait in line for this?!
One of the Holocaust survivors said to Dr. Ostrower:
Humor was one of the integral ingredients of mental perseverance. This mental perseverance was the condition for a will to live, to put it in a nutshell. This I am telling you as a former prisoner. However little it was, however sporadic, however spontaneous, it was very important, very important. Humor and satire played a tremendous role, in my opinion. It was a cemetery all right and exactly for that reason, the mere fact that we wanted somehow to preserve our personality, they wanted to make robots out of us.
...This was the integral part of our inner, mental struggle for our human identity, the fact that we could still laugh at things like these.
I was at an event one time and overheard a few Jewish people zinging off Holocaust jokes one after another. I was shocked, but later somebody told me that for some Jewish people it can be like a test for non-Jews. If you can't handle some black humour, then you might very well struggle with being supportive of people whose history has not only included the Holocaust, but persecution on so many levels in so many places at so many times.
What's the difference between a pizza and a Jew? A pizza doesn't scream when it's put in the oven.
I don't remember the exact circumstances, and I can't find any articles online about this, but I do remember back then shortly after Edgar's suicide, someone made jokes or told stories about Joan wanting her husband to kill himself. Those comments obviously angered and hurt her, as I have a fleeting memory of watching her on the news rebut those rumors/remarks, her voice breaking as she vehemently denied wishing her husband's death.
While it's true that shortly after his death, she began telling jokes about it as a way to deal with it, it's also true that these inflammatory remarks were very hurtful to her at the time.
It would be nice if she'd remember that such jokes aren't funny to many people who were hurt by the events she's joking about. IMO, humor that hurts someone else is never funny.
I remember Howard Stern really ripping on the Edgar suicide back in the day so maybe that's who you're thinking of?
I think it's very different to accuse someone of wanting their husband to be dead vs. telling a joke that some people might find offensive. The first is an accusation and potentially slanderous/libelous. The later is of questionable taste depending on the circumstances but is not a personal accusation.
I watch FP strictly for the fashion -- and I DVR it so I can skip through some of the crap. Joan is Joan. I barely even listen to what she has to say anymore, but I do give her props for being an innovative and fearless comedienne (back in the day). I think it's just easier for her these days to do shock humor. It doesn't take nearly as much thought, creativity or wit. IMO, the joke just wasn't funny. I didn't even find it all that shocking; it came off as more juvenile to me.
Kelly and Guiliana are OK, but I despise their reactions to Joan. If you could "see" a laugh track, that's what they would be. They have the same, say, 3 expressions that they use over and over again in response to Joan's crude humor. Not all, but most of the reaction, looks canned.
I may be the minority on this one. Joan constantly uses holocaust/antisemtism in her comedy to remind her audience about this horrible chapter in history. Mel Gibson was her recent go-to-guy for her antisemitism jokes. This particular FP joke probably generates more conversation than the recent New York Times article (http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/03/s...just-got-more-shocking.html?pagewanted=1&_r=2) I'll say her crass tactics are quite effective.
I can see your point; I guess my bottom line is that if a "joke" really hurts someone, it's not funny.
I have written about this before in other contexts so I've thought about it a lot ... I think that humor is tricky. I do think it's okay to offend with humor. However, in the case of humor that hurts, I do think that, if people are hurt, they can say "hey, that's not funny." But the people being hurt are the ones who get to say if something is funny or not. Other people don't get to decide that for them just like other people don't get to say "lighten up, it's just a joke." So in this case, it really is Jews and Holocaust victims of which I am neither. If they say it's not funny, then that's that. At the same time, if they say "lighten up, it's just a joke" and it seems like a lot of them have, then that's that too.
In the same vein, given that Joan is Jewish, this is why I get to say that she gets to tell such a joke. (Note: I didn't say it was funny. In fact, I freely admit it: I didn't get her joke.) But if tons of Holocaust victims were to protest her joke and say it wasn't funny, then I think that trumps her being Jewish. Because she's not a Holocaust victim and they are. I haven't heard of them doing that though.
I really know how tricky it is.
I worked at the Holocaust Museum in DC, as I've posted before. Before the opening, there was some discussion (there was ALWAYS discussion...the place was a cross between a university, the federal government and a Jewish organization!) about whether the cafe would be kosher, dairy, regular....
One night after working too late before the opening a bunch of us came up with the right menu. It was horrible. The one I remember was Anne-Frankfurter-on-a-bun.
So there you go, black humor that kept us sane after years of working with this topic. I guess if I didn't think Joan Rivers wasn't a classless comic long past her sell-by date, I would have been more amused by her comment.
But I have to say after all these years, when I drive by in the spring and still see long lines outside, I'm touched by how many people want to learn about the Holocaust. The people who have said to me, I'm sorry, I just can't visit that place -- them I understand. I think if I were not brought up in the midst of it, as it were, I would never have gone near the whole subject.
As I said, I am not Jewish, and therefore cannot react as a survivor/child/grandchild. I cannot react as someone who is Jewish. However, I am human and can react to the concept of what was done. I have been to Auschwitz. I have walked through the gates, knowing I could leave. I have been in the gas chamber, the crematorium. I've seen the shooting wall where the non-Jewish Polish political prisoners were shot. I have been in the former barracks and seen the rooms full of clothing, hair, eyeglasses, prosthetic devices. I have seen the photos and records of Mengele's experiments. The records with names of the incoming prisoners. Having been there, it is very hard for me to find humor in a joke about the victims. I do not believe that makes me insensitive to understanding the horror. I believe it means that I know how very real it is. It is a horror and pain that will never end. I can understand the need for the victims to have used humor to survive. But, that time has passed. There should be a reverence for those who perished. We certainly would not make jokes about those who died on 9/11. Why is it alright to make Holocaust jokes?
I'm prepared to believe that humor was used by the targets of the Nazis but I've also read a lot of Holocaust literature written by survivors. It's the terror and confusion and pain that comes across. How their descendants can joke about it escapes me.
This. I've mentioned this before, but my father's father's side of the family is Jewish, and my grandfather did serve in WWII, so my father is a scholar of WWII for both those reasons. I can remember watching part of War and Remembrance with him one time, the scene where Aaron Jastrow is talking about the whys of Jewish suffering. Dad has read the books (WAR and Winds of War) and has watched both mini-series on DVD, which he owns, countless times, yet I STILL saw him going for the tissues as we were watching that scene. And then when you watch the death camp scenes with the knowledge that most of the extras were actual survivors, filming those scenes where it all took place...
IMO, it's just not something to be joked about, in any sense.
Why not? I bet some of the survivors make jokes all the time. Gallows humor helps people cope. Just because it's not something you would do doesn't mean no one does or should do it.
I think a person that had actually survived being at ground zero can make a joke about 9-11 and justify that he has a right to do it. It has not happened yet but would not surprise me if we hear a 9-11 joke in the future.
Making a joke about it on the national level has not happened. I'm sure people make tactless jokes among themselves all the time but doing it for millions to hear is another matter.
I've never understood the idea that some people have the "right" to make jokes because they are one of the people that survived something or belong to a particular group. What if the other 9/11 survivors, their families and those who did what they could to help that day don't find it funny? What if it's hurtful to them, reopening wounds and impeding their healing process, or belittling what they went through, and in some cases, may still be going through?
As for racist jokes made by people of that race (or ethnic group, or religion etc), again others may not share their humour, and not appreciate that stereotypes or prejudices they've fought hard to overcome are being given a platform and trivialized.
Plus, I think to say that some people can do this and some people can't do that just further divides us as a people. There are many reasons to celebrate our differences, but I don't think this is one of them.
I agree but we do not love in an idealistic world. At least in the U. S., it is not ok for a straight person to use the F word, but some gays will use that among themselves. A white person better not use the N word out loud, but some blacks will refer to another black person as that, etc.