Monday, September 8, 2014

Joan Rivers Taught Us That Political Correctness Is For Punks And Pussies

Marie Osmond is so pure not even Moses could part her knees...Joan Rivers

Anyone who reads my work on a regular basis knows I'm not a big fan of the celebrity culture. With few exceptions, I could care less what they think, what they say or even what they do. One of those exceptions was Joan Rivers. 

  • Madonna is so hairy. When she lifted her arm, I thought it was Tina Turner in her armpit.
Perhaps a lot has to do with the stand-up comedians I grew up with. They included, but were certainly not limited to, Don Rickles (the last living comedian of that era who also took on political correctness), David Brenner, Lenny Bruce (took on religion, sex, government, politics, etc. with reckless abandon), George Carlin (political correctness was one of his primary targets including overreaching authority), Bob Hope, Bill Cosby, Richard Pryor (what can I say?), Eddie Murphy (genius in his prime) and Jerry Seinfeld (especially his TV show). There are countless others but those come immediately to mind.

  • Boy George is all England needs---another queen who can't dress.
I would contend that being a comedian is harder in today's politically correct culture and environment. Joan Rivers and Don Rickles, holdovers from an era that viewed political correctness for what it is: tyranny with a happy face---were "grandfathered" in. Even the political correct punks of today gave both a pass. But the line was already drawn for the rest of the comics. A striking example has been late night comics and SNL. It took most of the late-night comics over 5 years to even consider taking on Mr. Obama for fear of being called racists. SNL, while having a long history of taking on politicians from both sides of the aisle, still treat the president with kid gloves and conservatives continue to be their primary target.
  • Why would a woman cook? So her husband can say, "My wife makes delicious cake" to some hooker?
I don't even know if Rivers was a democrat, republican, liberal or conservative. Quite frankly, I didn't care. But it was strikingly clear, she didn't buy into the PC nonsense especially in her comedy. She refused to censor herself.  All she knew was how to make people laugh---because laughter can slice right through political correctness. Sadly, comedians today don't have the guts to pick up the knife and cut through that intolerance and rage. Even more disturbing, when some comedian's joke appears to be offensive to a particular group or minority, he/she is lucky to continue being employed. 

Real political incorrect comedy can be a useful tool in promoting freedom including ensuring our First Amendment rights are not abridged. Moreover, it's important a society and culture don't always take itself too seriously. It's always been comedians who force us to look at ourselves in the mirror and laugh. On the other had, political correctness has always had a thin skin. Comedians like Joan Rivers understood that. It's why she never allowed comedy to plunge into tragedy. A joke coming from Rivers was a momentary release from a society that too often take itself too damn seriously. It's freedom of speech was all about. And it's why she often said, "Oh...grow up!" In other words, she reminded us to never genuflect to political correctness. That's for punks and pussies.
  • At my funeral, I want Meryl Streep crying in five different accents.