It's official: Joan Rivers has died. (Obit in the NYT here)
I learned the word "afterbirth" from Joan Rivers. ("After I was born the afterbirth came out and the doctor said Twins!") From her, I learned that a woman could be funny and headstrong and still be a woman. I learned that you could break a taboo without setting something on fire. Yet nothing was sacred, and you could set fire to words. I loved that irreverence.
Irreverance ... in a woman??? Yes! When all of us women had to decide between being docile Barbie Dolls or ballsy feminists, Joan Rivers offered us another route: She was a ballsy Barbie Doll!
I wear pink. I love pink. I fuss over my hair. I have too many shoes. Yet I'm nobody's fool (I hope), and I stand my ground in a most un-feminine way when the situation requires it. Even my atheism charts that course between docile believer and feminist social justice crusader. Or maybe it's that we have both lived in Brooklyn. You can't live in Brooklyn and be a doormat. It's just not possible. I brought some of my Brooklyn with me to the Midwest, where people still expect women to be doormats. I never say those things out loud that Joan said for me, but my inner voice sounds a lot like hers when it says "Up Yours."
Yes, Joan's gone, but her legacy lives on.
Here's a classic interview on the Tonight Show: