Joan Rivers ‘in critical condition’

Joan Rivers ‘in critical condition’


norman lebrecht

August 28, 2014

The comedian who provoked a recent furore with outrageous comments about Palestinians stopped breathing this morning while undergoing throat surgery. She is said to be in a critical condition. Ms Rivers is 81.



  • Kathleen McCarthy says:

    I must be missing something here. How is this related to classical music? Or any kind of music, for that matter.

  • Marshall says:

    I actually have a slight tolerance for her silliness, and outrageousness-going back 40 yrs.-a very slight tolerance, but what is she doing here-very strange-but after all we had a report on Celine Dion, for some reason

    • Mikey says:

      you might not like her, or feel that you are “above” her style of music, but Celine Dion IS a singer.
      Joan Rivers most certainly isn’t. She’s barely even human anymore.

      • Marshall says:

        Fair enough, she is a singer, IMO opinion part of the same “level” as Rivers-but at what pop or rock singer does this site draw a line? After all, it is described as”inside track on classical music and related cultures.” Ok-a related culture

        I don’t know in what sense you mean she is “barely even human anymore”-but that is a dangerous outlook on any human being

  • cabbagejuice says:

    It’s funny that what you wish on others might just come and bite you on the back. This is what the painted lady had to say:
    When told by a TMZ reporter than almost 2,000 Palestinians have been killed in the conflict, she raised her hands in mock shock:
    “Oh my God! Tell that to the people in Hiroshima,” she says on film.
    “Good. Good. When you declare war, you declare war. They started it. We now don’t count who’s dead. You’re dead, you deserve to be dead. Don’t you dare make me feel bad about that.”
    “They were told to get out. They didn’t get out. You don’t get out, you are an idiot. At least the ones that were killed were the ones with low IQs.”
    She obviously never heard of the 4th Geneva Convention with the OBLIGATION to protect civilians. She obviously was not aware of the incitement that was beating the war drums for the month of June that resulted in the burning alive of an Arab Jerusalemite boy. She is not aware that Gaza for all practical purposes is one big hot steaming prison bordered by yet another iron gate on the Egyptian side, so dense that rocket launchers will always be in range of apartments, schools and hospitals. She is not aware of Christians caught up in this, a family with just about a minute to “evacuate”. The mother was killed in the explosion and her 30 year old son is still in a coma with multiple limb amputations. Multiply this by a few thousand, Spoiled Hollowood B###H!
    If she doesn’t get out of her anesthesia, she won’t need warm clothing for where she is going, hotter than Gaza for sure!
    Give me the compassion and understanding of a Barenboim anytime!

    • Neil McGowan says:

      She obviously never heard of the 4th Geneva Convention with the OBLIGATION to protect civilians

      Somewhat unfair to blame Ms Rivers alone for this? Collective punishment has been the central plank of US foreign policy since WW2… Indonesia, Korea, Vietnam, Cambodia, Kosovo, Afghanistan, Iraq, Ukraine…

      In order to make some perceived ‘enemy’ twinge, it’s (allegedly) necessary to blow entirely innocent unarmed civilians off the planet :((

      And so it goes on, even last week: (bombing achieved with $5.5m of US-supplies munitions)

      • cabbagejuice says:

        Oh boy, you said a mouthful! It’s the Marie-Antoinette attitude “let them eat cake” or dirt in this case that condemns her. And isn’t she from that generation of “we needed to drop the nuclear bombs on Japan to save thousands of American servicemen”? I had a voice teacher 35 years ago who was still repeating that canard like a parrot. BS!!! It was to send a message to Russia, pure and simple.
        I am old enough to remember the tripe about dumping napalm on Vietnam, even to the extent that ‘Asians don’t value their children as much as Americans do’. Right, the price was only 55,000 American boys sent to die for a war they didn’t win anyway! And what was the result in Gaza? Judging by the steep slump of popularity for Netanyahu, some Israelis are finally getting it. But the damage has been done, not only to property and lives, but in ruined tourism and all around credibility.
        But really what is the bottom line here? Rivers said she did not want to have to confront “feeling bad about it”. Other countries may occupy, wage wars and kill but some have an incredible sense of moral superiority no matter what they do.
        This mentality makes their crimes even worse since they believe they are incapable of doing any wrong.

        • Neil McGowan says:

          I agree with everything you say here, of course 🙂

          Rivers has made a career out of being controversial, and “playing” an exaggerated and mouthy ‘character’. She has, on occasion, made me laugh.

          Whatever the case, I hope that if any improvement can be made in her health, she gets the best possible care and attention. She may even become less confrontational in remission? Let’s hope for both of those.

          • cabbagejuice says:

            Her health is not high on the list of my goodwill priorities, rather the families of the 500 children killed over the past two months, not to mention those paralyzed, crippled, blinded and bereft of family members and homes, whose lives were cut short and damaged by trauma, not pampered from luxury hotel to limosene.
            What do I care about an arrogant, spoiled piece of work?

          • M2N2K says:

            No, cj, you clearly do not care. It would’ve been better if you did care enough to learn about the other side of the story. And read Hamas Charter: it’s quite entertaining – for those of us who live thousands of miles away, that is. For Israelis, not so much.

          • cabbagejuice says:

            M2N2K,and you should be reading how Israel was courting Hamas in the 1980’s as a foil to Fatah. It’s the story of the US and Saddam Hussein all over again, a process of the more extreme radicals filling the void left by the meddlng of self-righteous, more technologically advanced nations.
            The timeline over the past 3 months: kidnapping of 3 hitchiking teenagers at night by local Hamas sympathizers in June that was probably by chance. In the next 3 weeks 400 people were arrested, 7 killed and houses were demolished in the West Bank. Meanwhile there was a not so innocent, unchecked explosion of rioting with shouts of “Death to Arabs” culminating in the abduction and murder of 16 year old Mohammed AbuKhedeir on his way to prayer at 4 in the morning during Ramadan. It would have been a 9 year old the day before but his mother luckily intervened. No Israeli houses of the known perpetrators have been demolished meanwhile. In fact one of them has filed an “insanity” plea.
            The bombing ot Gaza was on the tails of a carefully orchestrated beating the drums for war. The rockets came AFTER, which were quiet for19 months before. Obviously someone (Netanyahu) was boiling over Abbas and Haniyeh Hamas getting together in April to sign an agreement, so needed some pretext to bring out the big guns.
            Early on there were some attempts to exit the tunnels at the borders foiled by Israel’s advanced technology, the same with the very accurate interception of most of their primitive rockets. There was also some technology proposed for finding the tunnels by other means rather than bombing the H out of Gaza that apparently was rejected. Using that or finding some other means to neutralize them would have preempted the wanton destruction in that Ghetto called Gaza that no one cares about, surely not Rivers, but also the 64 Israeli solders and 6 civilians killed that could have been avoided. One can expect more radicalism to rise from its ashes and more self-righteous finger pointing from the other side.
            What bothers me about Hollywood folk is they REALLY do inhabit a world of perpetual youth and luxury, like the aristocracy around the time of the French Revolution. If the peons don’t have bread, well “let them eat cake!”
            The difference between me and you is I am informed but you are not.

  • M2N2K says:

    Actually, cj, you have absolutely no idea about the extent of my knowledge on this issue, but you seem to like presenting your opinions as facts. The difference is, I do not do that, and I have enough common sense not to believe every blatant lie and biased fabrication just because it happens to confirm a particular point of view. None of us knows everything, but I learn new details from well-informed reliable sources almost every day, and the more I know the less sense your version of events makes to me.

    • cabbagejuice says:

      So convince me. What facts do you know from your “well-informed reliable sources”? Even Israelis are questioning what the H did they get from the hysteria of the past three months? Everytime they take out a Hamasnik, with collateral damage of course by bombing since that is the preferred method of confrontation, aren’t 20 going to spring up in his place?

  • M2N2K says:

    A person who is “not informed” is not going to use comments on a cultural blog to teach someone who is “informed” about the facts relevant to this fairly complex non-cultural issue – this is simply not going to happen. And besides, no one can convince you better than you yourself can. Just be critical when you read stuff.
    Of course they are “questioning” – that is what Israelis always do, as they should. And so should we as well.
    First, look at the map occasionally, to remind yourself of Israel’s size and by what kind of neighbors it is surrounded. Second, spend some time in the area and talk to people – Jews and Arabs alike – who live there. While there, see how Arabs live in Israel and compare it to the way Jews (those very few who remain there) are treated in other countries of the region. And don’t forget to compare treatment of Christians as well! If you believe that Israel has a right to exist, try to figure out how it should ensure its own survival when being faced with existential threats from several directions.
    Whatever your point of view is after doing all that, you will have earned it and maybe will be able to teach others a thing or two.

    • cabbagejuice says:

      You can start by informing yourself where I teach and happen to live. It is on one of the back articles. (Clue: I can talk to both peoples, not perfect, in their native languages!) In modern warfare, technology, not size, matters.
      Primitive rockets are no match for the top of the line funded by Uncle Sam.
      Paranoia as state policy, was a constant refrain back in Menahem Begin’s own speeches, used as justification for massive settlements.
      The problem is a small endangered entity has to pick its battles and not spread out resources in every direction.
      World opinion should be devoutly desired as it supports one of the biggest industries, tourism, that has been virtually dead for two months.
      Looks like Rivers herself is not doing too good either.

      • M2N2K says:

        Glad to agree on something: “small endangered” country does have to “pick its battles” and take the world opinion into consideration. The rockets unfortunately are getting less and less “primitive” every year. It is extremely hard to make perfectly correct choices every time under such circumstances, and I do not see anything wrong when a country makes its own survival and that of its citizens a priority.

        • cabbagejuice says:

          It is beyond the scope of this discussion to set out the legal and rational arguments against the wanton destruction in Gaza. But they are related to Rivers’ flick of the finger dismissal (to save you from scrolling up): “When you declare war, you declare war. They started it. We now don’t count who’s dead. You’re dead, you deserve to be dead. Don’t you dare make me feel bad about that.” “They were told to get out. They didn’t get out. You don’t get out, you are an idiot. At least the ones that were killed were the ones with low IQs.”

          First of all about “war” that traditionally was fought by armies against one another, killing civilians disproportionately is not only morally reprehensible but is prohibited by international law. In other words, if you want to keep the higher moral ground, you don’t descend to the level of your enemies (if that is what they do). Otherwise, what the Nazis did was no better or worse than the Allies.
          I already set out in the timeline that they did not “start it”, at least this time.

          “Insofar as Iron Dome, the Israeli anti-ballistic missile shield, has almost universally protected against loss of human life from Hamas rockets, it can be said that defence was well deployed. But the right to “forward defence”, in this case military action to prevent further rocket attacks from non-Israeli territory, immediately runs into the problem of proportionality. The right to defence is not controversial; the proportionality of forward defence is.

          As a general rule, proportionality is tied to the offence caused. The damage inflicted by a defensive response should not therefore exceed the damage oneself has suffered. In the case of the Israeli ‘forward defence’ in Gaza, several hundred civilian deaths is a hugely disproportionate response to, at time of writing, two civilian deaths. As a second general rule, force should be proportionate to the objectives established for the military operation.”

          One obvious objective, the destruction of Hamas’s tunnel systems, has never been satisfactorily accomplished by military means; the tunnels cannot be destroyed by bombing suburbs and neighbourhoods above ground.”

          Here is where Rivers’ comments about getting out make me want to throw up:

          “The first, ‘we issued warnings to civilians to evacuate and they did not’, fails to consider that in a condensed area which is blockaded on all sides, civilians have nowhere to run. The second, that ‘Hamas embeds its rocket launchers near civilian facilities’, including beaches and hospitals, is undeniably true in a narrow sense – but again, in such a small and densely populated space, it is difficult to escape proximity to civilian infrastructure.

          All Gaza is surrounded. The border with Israel is only 50 km long, and the southern border with Egypt only 10 km. Israel operates a naval blockade along the coastline of Gaza. It is possible to traverse the entire length of Gaza in a single hour. In that sense, it is a sitting duck.”

          A superficial, self-obsessed person who made a career by dissing others couldn’t be expected to have an ounce of compassion, but she still wants to FEEL that she is still a good person by definition, and I am afraid this is the dilemma of a people who are used to occupying the higher moral ground.

          “Asked to explain how an offensive that has claimed so many lives is nonetheless supported in Israel, Eva Illouz, a professor of sociology at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, told the German magazine Der Spiegel: “Israelis have a strong sense of their own moral superiority. ‘We ask people to get out of their houses; we call them on the phone to make sure civilians are evacuated. We behave humanly,’ the Israeli thinks. An army with good manners.”

          Most of her fellow citizens, Ms. Illouz added, ‘judge by the intention, whereas the world judges by the consequences.'”

          I could go on but will rest my case here. Those who care will read the articles and allow themselves to be morally challenged.

          It’s interesting how many condolences have been expressed over her passing, meaning VERY FEW, if any. And when coming from a person like Netanyahu, well, it figures!!!

  • cabbagejuice says:

    Actual conversation last night:
    H: “Just on the news, the old w…h died.”
    me: “Who Hilary Clinton?”
    H: “No, the Hiroshima lady.”

    Actual broadcast in back of me while typing: “Joan Rivers pioneer in comedy, saying the abortion word before it was used in public”.

    Actual clip of Rivers doing ‘stand-up’: “She got married after she had 14 ‘appendectomies'”…

    Yeah, right – ha, ha – see who laughs last…

  • M2N2K says:

    Thank you very much, Joan Rivers, for your fearlessness and for giving us many years of good laughs.