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Joan Rivers and the Humorless Generation: How the Politically Correct Culture is Killing Comedy
FrontPage Mag ^ | 07/14/2014 | Jack Kerwick

Posted on 07/14/2014 7:19:08 AM PDT by SeekAndFind

Joan Rivers made news recently when she walked off of a CNN set during an interview with Fredericka Whitfield.

When Whitfield suggested that Rivers could be “mean,” the latter informed the former that under no circumstances should she be interviewing someone, like Rivers, for whom comedy is a calling.

Whatever else may be said of Joan Rivers—I, for one, have never had much to say about her at all—this much seems certain: The woman knows that of which she speaks when it comes to her craft.

That is to say, she is acutely aware of the purpose, the invaluable purpose, served by humor. Far from being “mean,” the value of the joke lay precisely in its ability to neutralize life’s sting, to siphon off some of the tragedy of the circumstances into which Earthly existence seems hell-bent upon thrusting us.

Maybe, just maybe, this is the point.

As Jesus said of Hell, in it there will be constant “wailing and gnashing of teeth.” Hell is a laugh-free zone, a boiling cauldron of tears. Heaven, on the other hand, may also admit of tears. But the tears of Heaven are the fruits of joy, and the laughter that it calls forth promises to be as hearty as it is irresistible, for the inhabitants of Heaven will at long last recognize the seriousness with which we treated our lives on Earth for the folly—the joke—that is has always been.

And here we may be getting to the heart of comedy’s import.

This world of ours is an uneasy mix of dust and divinity, evil and good, suffering and delighting. In short, it is an endless supply of intimations of both Hell and Heaven. Humor, I believe, is a hint of Heaven, an emblem of eternity.

Humor is every bit as much of a divine gift as any other, and an even greater gift than some. The Joke permits us to come as close as possible, in this life, to arresting the relentless flow of time by transforming a situation that would otherwise paralyze those who are at its mercy into an object of ridicule. It permits us, in other words, to defang and declaw the demons that haunt us, and to do so effortlessly, with a laugh.

The Joke makes the humorous into caricaturists. But while caricaturists select for their portraits specific individuals, the humorous, in contrast, focus their attention not just on individuals, but upon whole sets of circumstances—including and especially that most peculiar set of circumstances that we know as the human condition itself.

However, as Fredericka Whitfield revealed in her exchange with Joan Rivers, all of this has been lost upon this most humorless generation. For certain, much of life demands seriousness, but our culture’s prevailing zeitgeist—what we commonly refer to as “Political Correctness” (PC)—demands not seriousness, but deadly seriousness.

In no place and at no time has the Joke been more needed than it is needed in a culturally, ethnically, racially, and religiously diverse society like the United States. Yet it is just such places—contemporary, incorrigibly PC, Western societies—that have essentially banned it.

The Joke diffuses intergroup tensions. Whitfield couldn’t have been further of the mark in suggesting that Rivers’ jokes foster mean-spiritedness. Just the opposite is the case: it is precisely in the Joke’s almost unique power to deflate mean-spiritedness that its value is to be found.

Contrary to the conventional wisdom, racial, ethnic, and religious “stereotypes” are most decidedly not fictions sprung from thin air. They reflect enduring patterns among a significant number of a group’s members—even if (as is almost always the case) it is only a significant minority. When these stereotypes reflect positively on a group, all is good. When they are negative, though, there is no end to the inter-group conflict that they can so easily fuel.

The Joke extinguishes the match before it reaches the fuse. It fumigates the air, so to speak, by allowing us to laugh at, rather than hate, one other. There was a time, not all that long ago, when people, particularly Americans, took this fact for granted.

Times, sadly, have changed. Still, what has not changed is that peaceful inter-group co-existence is much better served by the Joan Rivers than the Fredericka Whitfields of our world.


TOPICS: Music/Entertainment; Society; TV/Movies
KEYWORDS: comedy; humor; joanrivers; pc

1 posted on 07/14/2014 7:19:08 AM PDT by SeekAndFind
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To: SeekAndFind
As Jesus said of Hell, in it there will be constant “wailing and gnashing of teeth.” Hell is a laugh-free zone, a boiling cauldron of tears.

IOW, Exactly what the liberals are constantly trying to create for us on earth.

2 posted on 07/14/2014 7:21:08 AM PDT by Vigilanteman (Obama: Fake black man. Fake Messiah. Fake American. How many fakes can you fit in one Zer0?)
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To: SeekAndFind

Even comedy legend ol’ Jerry Lewis has become persona non grata among the media set because he had the audacity to make gay jokes.


3 posted on 07/14/2014 7:22:19 AM PDT by skeeter
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To: SeekAndFind

It’s not that the left doesn’t like a joke, it is the fact they don’t like their false idols to be laughed at.


4 posted on 07/14/2014 7:24:07 AM PDT by dragonblustar ( Psalm 103, Psalm 37:7, Ephesians 6:12)
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To: skeeter
Will Bob Hope be able to get away with making a joke like this (circa 1975, after the passage of the 1975 Consenting Adult Sex Bill:

“I’ve just flown in from California, where they’ve made homosexuality legal. I thought I’d get out before they make it compulsory.”
5 posted on 07/14/2014 7:24:34 AM PDT by SeekAndFind
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To: SeekAndFind

Probably not. Like my dad says, if this keeps up shuffling off this increasingly humorless mortal coil will be a relief.


6 posted on 07/14/2014 7:25:48 AM PDT by skeeter
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To: skeeter
Or even movies where he portrayed (a la Bob Beckel), a chinaman!


7 posted on 07/14/2014 7:27:37 AM PDT by Cletus.D.Yokel (Catastrophic Anthropogenic Climate Alteration: The acronym explains the science.)
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To: SeekAndFind

One more facelift on this hag and she’ll have a Fu-Manchu beard on the botox base face. She is however correct about mooch and bamby though.


8 posted on 07/14/2014 7:29:05 AM PDT by John S Mosby (Sic Semper Tyrannis)
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To: SeekAndFind

Andrew Dice Clay would not be allowed to exist in today’s environment, that is for sure!

Also, can you imagine Blazing Saddles, Young Frankenstein, Monty Python’s Holy Grail, Peter Sellers The Party or Dr. Strangelove, or a host of other comedies from das gone past being made today?

No, they would not.

However, I bet I could sell a script to Hollywood about a Right-wing, whacky, slutty ex-governor from Alaska who gets killed for her views by a person of color or sexual diversity and it would be a big hit with the Left.


9 posted on 07/14/2014 7:29:39 AM PDT by Alas Babylon!
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To: SeekAndFind

What’s interesting about the Treason party is they will rage against politically incorrect jokes, but praise political decisions that destroy lives.

Read this list, try to remember if the Treasonists got mad over any one of these things, I can’t!

The Corruption and Lies of KING Obama

Obamas IRS destroying evidence
DACA Amnesty
Common Core
Opening border to gang members and drug dealers
VA intentional deaths of veterans
Negotiating with terrorists
Fast & Furious
SEAL Team 6
Obamacare would save the avg family $2500 per year
Forcing businesses to violate their religious beliefs
Violating the rights and sanctity of our Churches
Obamacare web site-cronyism
NSA acting as Obama Gestapo
17 Trillion in debt
Lies about Benghazi
Voter fraud
Shovel ready jobs
Intentionally trying to hurt Americans during the sequester
Intentionally trying to hurt Americans during govt shutdown
Blocking veterans from seeing their own memorials
Allowing illegals on mall during govt shutdown
Shutting down ‘The Peoples House’ tours
We can keep our insurance if we like it
We can keep our doctors if we like them
Military not getting their votes counted
Supporting the Muslim Brotherhood with arms and money
DOJ spying on the free press
Not securing our borders
Spying on Americans on American soil with drones
SOLYNDRA
Picking winners and losers
IRS targeting conservatives
IRS targeting the Tea Party
Millions losing health care coverage
Increasing welfare rolls
Increasing disability rolls
Countless party’s
Countless exorbitant vacations
Releasing illegal’s from prison
Unconstitutional recess appointment
NO budget for 5 years
Clapper lying to congress
Holder lying to congress
Failing to prosecute the New Black PantherReading our e-mail
War on women
Promoting race war
War between makers and takers
A123 Systems
Cash for clunkers


10 posted on 07/14/2014 7:32:44 AM PDT by GrandJediMasterYoda (Hitlery: Incarnation of evil.)
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To: SeekAndFind

Her reaction looks like it came from having to deal with the deceptive PC liars for over a decade now. PC is outright lying to excuse bad human behavior so perps can continue to do whatever they want to whether it includes destroying a country, pounding a fist into the nearest white guy’s head if you’re black, or sodomizing children.


11 posted on 07/14/2014 7:34:17 AM PDT by jsanders2001
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To: SeekAndFind
“I’ve just flown in from California, where they’ve made homosexuality legal. I thought I’d get out before they make it compulsory.”

Now that photographers and bakers are being forced to participate in the "gay" lifestyle, with more services and professions to follow, this statement is no longer funny.

12 posted on 07/14/2014 7:35:15 AM PDT by Fiji Hill (-e)
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To: SeekAndFind

One of my favorite jokes that I was not allowed to tell back when I lived in Berkeley...

Q: How many militant feminists does it take to change a light bulb?

A: That’s not funny.


13 posted on 07/14/2014 7:35:48 AM PDT by Tigerized (Keep Calm, Carry On, but Never Give Up.)
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To: GrandJediMasterYoda

You can add to that the Justice Department’s investigation of a parade float mocking Obama.


14 posted on 07/14/2014 7:37:35 AM PDT by Fiji Hill (-e)
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To: Alas Babylon!

“...can you imagine Blazing Saddles, Young Frankenstein, Monty Python’s Holy Grail, Peter Sellers The Party or Dr. Strangelove, or a host of other comedies from das gone past being made today?”

Every now and then, I go to the bookshelf and blow the dust off of Dan Jenkin’s “Semi Tough” to remind myself that we once lived in a better time. The book drips with anti-PC humor, and would never get published today.


15 posted on 07/14/2014 7:38:49 AM PDT by Tigerized (Keep Calm, Carry On, but Never Give Up.)
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To: SeekAndFind

Just try to find some humor in the Sunday comics today.


16 posted on 07/14/2014 7:40:59 AM PDT by Last Dakotan
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To: SeekAndFind

Never could stand Joan Rivers. Don’t think she is funny at all. I guess there is something wrong with me then?

To me she is the predecessor to women so-called comedians like Sarah Silvermand and Sandra Bernhardt. Unfunny, vile, uncouth, disgusting and yest ‘mean’.

I understand that in comedy it’s to each his own. But I don’t see why I have to apologize for hating that kind of ‘comedy’. For the record, I don’t like male comedians that use ‘mean’ as their schtick.

I understand that women comedians are held to a different standard and some feel they have to be just as vile and disgusting as male comedians of their ilk. I get that.

But I don’t have to like it.


17 posted on 07/14/2014 7:53:17 AM PDT by Lorianne (fedgov, taxporkmoney)
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To: Lorianne

You probably don’t like Richard Pryor or George Carlin either I’m guessing. Comedy has to be a bit mean. Something has to be ribbed otherwise there is nothing to laugh at.


18 posted on 07/14/2014 8:05:53 AM PDT by Borges
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To: Lorianne

I agree with you concerning Rivers. I liked Phyllis Diller myself.


19 posted on 07/14/2014 8:08:48 AM PDT by 7thson (I've got a seat at the big conference table! I'm gonna paint my logo on it!)
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To: Lorianne

But I suspect you don’t want to silence her.


20 posted on 07/14/2014 8:11:00 AM PDT by Sherman Logan (Perception wins all the battles. Reality wins all the wars.)
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To: SeekAndFind

Mark Steyn essentially got kicked off of NRO for using that line to make a point in a blog post. Back in December, if I remember correctly.


21 posted on 07/14/2014 8:12:19 AM PDT by Sherman Logan (Perception wins all the battles. Reality wins all the wars.)
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To: SeekAndFind

Once you become a humorless society you are well on your way to collectivism. Drab, dreary, unimaginative collectivism.


22 posted on 07/14/2014 8:22:02 AM PDT by McGavin999
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To: Alas Babylon!

Also, can you imagine Blazing Saddles, Young Frankenstein, Monty Python’s Holy Grail, Peter Sellers The Party or Dr. Strangelove, or a host of other comedies from days gone past being made today?

Maybe it’s a little on the old side for many, but I like to remember “Song of the South” which may not be comedy, but should bring thoughts of joy and happiness to the minds of all, but unfortunately is locked up pretty tight, when it comes to a re-release. Uncle Remus, brer rabbit, the tar baby, and the music, I grew up with. So I guess that means Walt and all of us seniors are just a loverly bunch of coconuts.


23 posted on 07/14/2014 8:24:38 AM PDT by wita
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To: SeekAndFind

Joan Rivers is mean. The way she treated Annie Duke, the poker champion on Celebrity Apprentice a few years ago,was despicable.


24 posted on 07/14/2014 8:26:34 AM PDT by mjp ((pro-{God, reality, reason, egoism, individualism, natural rights, limited government, capitalism}))
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To: SeekAndFind

To quote Bette Midler:

“F-—k ‘em if they can’t take a joke.”


25 posted on 07/14/2014 8:33:43 AM PDT by Wordkraft (Remember who the Collaborators are.)
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To: SeekAndFind

Much of comedy is mean.


26 posted on 07/14/2014 8:34:41 AM PDT by Ted Grant
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To: SeekAndFind

Joan Rivers can be pretty crude, also mean... she can also be pretty funny.

If she would soften up and loose the blue humor I think she’d be more enjoyable.

Fav joke by her was calling Michelle Obama ‘Blackie-O’.

Now THAT one is shoved under the proverbial thought police rug.


27 posted on 07/14/2014 8:39:57 AM PDT by Beowulf9
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To: Sherman Logan

No, of course not


28 posted on 07/14/2014 8:49:23 AM PDT by Lorianne (fedgov, taxporkmoney)
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To: Borges

Oh I agree. Comedy is there for the ‘take down’. I get that. But there are many ways to do that, some of them quite subtle.

To me, there are just some comedians who are not just not funny. Rivers is one of them. I don’t object to the gist of what she is doing (and other comedians) but it’s her style that I don’t find funny at all.

I’m not as familiar with Pryor and Carlin so I can’t say about them.


29 posted on 07/14/2014 9:03:29 AM PDT by Lorianne (fedgov, taxporkmoney)
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To: Beowulf9

Debbie Schlussel claims Rivers stole that joke from her.


30 posted on 07/14/2014 9:28:34 AM PDT by Borges
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To: Alas Babylon!

I think Dice Clay toured within the last year. He sold out.

I saw a concert video on cable. Watched a few minutes, same ol schtick.


31 posted on 07/14/2014 10:38:03 AM PDT by morphing libertarian (Advanced technological development.)
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To: Sherman Logan

There was a time when The New Republic was the house organ of me-too leftism. National Review took over that role some years ago.


32 posted on 07/14/2014 10:45:23 AM PDT by Pelham (California, what happens when you won't deport illegals)
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To: Pelham
I am a political (conservative) comedian and I know from my friends and colleagues just how much it is destroying it. But this, if course is the Leftists goal. Real Alinsky — ridicule is on of his rules. If you can't ridicule the Liberals (who are truly ridiculous) then the Leftists own that power.
33 posted on 07/14/2014 10:48:50 AM PDT by cob201 (from EVAN SAYET)
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To: cob201

To learn who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize. - Voltaire


34 posted on 07/14/2014 10:51:34 AM PDT by dfwgator
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To: wita

What’s ironic is that the stories told by Uncle Remus were about wisdom. He’s an admirable character, an American Aesop, and not an object of ridicule.

Social Marxists were able to ban Song of the South through their endless charges of racism, but their success is due to the cowardice of Disney in caving to them.


35 posted on 07/14/2014 10:52:55 AM PDT by Pelham (California, what happens when you won't deport illegals)
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To: cob201

I wish you success. Taking the culture back from the authoritarian Left is where the real battle lies.


36 posted on 07/14/2014 10:55:00 AM PDT by Pelham (California, what happens when you won't deport illegals)
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To: Lorianne

Rickles and Newhart used to do some of this in their stuff as well where they ridiculed and cursed at people in the audience. I found Rivers a “bridge too far” for me on many occasions - that and her voice just grated on me. Diller had a similar effect. I couldn’t stand that foul mouthed semi-redhead (not sure if it was Sara or Sandra). Wasn’t a fan of Clay.

Carlin I was ok with for the most part. Kinnison was hilarious but you could only take so much.

Cosby - now there was a comedian. The dentist scene and the “dad is great” skit are my favorites.

Carol burnet and crew - siamese elephants anyone? I show that to my kids and they laugh so hard they nearly pee their pants.

You can be clean and funny but you have to work at it.


37 posted on 07/14/2014 11:33:39 AM PDT by reed13k (For evil to triumph it is only necessary for good men to do nothings)
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To: SeekAndFind
Offended By The Truth

;-)

38 posted on 07/14/2014 1:48:49 PM PDT by NoCmpromiz (John 14:6 is a non-pluralistic comment.)
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To: wita

I have a bootleg copy on DVD. :-) I think it was probably contraband from Europe.


39 posted on 07/14/2014 1:50:51 PM PDT by rhoda_penmark
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To: SeekAndFind
Just take the basic pratfall.

If a white guy slips and falls on a banana peel, everyone laughs. If a black guy slips on a banana peel, it's racist.

Just look at what happened when Obama tried to open a locked White House garden door. Classic pratfall joke, walking into the closed door, but it's racist if you point out Obama doing it.

-PJ

40 posted on 07/14/2014 1:58:27 PM PDT by Political Junkie Too (If you are the Posterity of We the People, then you are a Natural Born Citizen.)
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To: Lorianne
I understand that women comedians are held to a different standard and some feel they have to be just as vile and disgusting as male comedians of their ilk. I get that. But I don’t have to like it.

Jerry Lewis once said that women & comedy don't really mix. Stand-up, anyway. A woman can be a comic actress, but not a comedienne. Probably the nature of the beast -- really good comedy will be either cruel or coarse, "unfeminine" traits.

Hate to say, but I think he's right. The classy comediennes like Lucille Ball or Carol Burnett had started out in other ventures. Lucille Ball had been a dancer -- & a beautiful woman. They had a grace & elegance to them. I find the Jewish comediennes (I'm Jewish, BTW) irritating, shrill & vulgar.

41 posted on 07/14/2014 11:15:10 PM PDT by MoochPooch (I'm a compassionate cynic.)
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