I love angry humor. It's true. There's nothing funnier, for me, than an angry comedian. I like Joan Rivers. I'm not a hardcore fan in the least, but I've seen and read enough of her work to appreciate her particular brand of hard-edged funny.
But man, I did not like this book.
To be fair to Joan (and ward off the honking geese of "wah, racism, wah, prejudice, wah, intolerance") she is certainly an equal-opportunity kind of woman. It doesn't matter your ethnicity, culture, color, gender, sexual preference, moral compass: If you exist and you are sensitive to this sort of thing, you might as well save yourself the cash and just get offended right now. Offense, however, wasn't my problem. And I admit I found myself laughing during some parts of the book:
"I have children!" "Well, next time give your husband a blow job and you won't!"
But for the most part, it's a book banking purely on offense and shock value. Which is really cheap. Borat-level cheap. And if you like Borat, more power to you. You'll enjoy this book. You should probably go and read it right now, you're likely to have a blast. The rest of humanity might take issue though.
It's just plain mean. Not 'funny, but in kind of a mean way', but rather, 'really damned mean, but in a trying to be funny way'. Some people like that, I get it. If you're young you're certainly more apt to chuckle for the shock value alone. But mostly in that kind of uncomfortable, glancing-around-to-make-sure-nobody-saw-that kind of way. You might laugh, but you might feel kind of like a tool for laughing.
I can see this kind of humor transferring to the stage better than it does to book form. I've heard it said that I should try listening to the audio book (narrated by the author herself). The book feels more like Joan took a condensed version of some stand-up comedy and padded it out with some toxic filler which, in the context of the rest of the book, might have seemed like it would fit in. But that's all it is: padding. Angry, mean-spirited padding amidst the original routines. Epic one-liners to distract you from the fact that most of the content is something your old, racist grandmother might shout around the dinner table while trying to get her med dosage just right: 'Please, grandma, please stop throwing the dishes and shouting about the Jews you had to share a neighborhood with once. Please.'
"Next, let me scream about those gays and their gay sex!"
For the most part, it's not funny. It's really not. But it's entertaining to some because of how outlandish, cruel, and reality-show-level entertaining it is. Something that Rivers herself (likely intentionally) makes very clear right from the get-go:
"Being with haters is much more entertaining than being with depressives, because haters are always, always willing to make a scene."
One has to ask herself which camp Joan Rivers belongs to and, after reading this book, it becomes obvious that she belongs to the latter, while vying for the former. The book makes no secret (it's on the title, don't bother arguing) that Joan Rivers is none too happy with herself as a human being. So, she does what people do: And you either get depressed or you get angry. Joan got angry. Very angry. Then she realized other people like angry people because it makes them forget how depressed they feel in turn, and decided to start making money with it while peppering the content with jokes to mask what is essentially just rage-vomit over the course of 200+ pages.
But then, I read the damn thing. Smart move, Joan.
Most techies are familiar with Augmented Reality technology. I know I am. I love the stuff. My first toy with this new, fantastic feature was my iPod Touch.
For the two of you that have never heard of it, Augmented Reality allows you to overlay the real world with information and images of your choice via your iPod/iPhone/Smartphone/Tablet/Chocolate Chip Cookie.
It has some great practical uses: Need to get directions for your destination? Just use your built-in camera to overlay GPS information onto the real world.
Why yes, I am a nerd, thank you.
Want some mindless fun? Amuse your friend via tiny dancing hand-bear:
Want to go out for a walk with your AR anime girlfriend? Sure you do, why the heck not?
It's a fun technology that's started to catch on a mainstream level. So much so that Google has launched a pair or AR glasses. Do I want a pair? You bet I do. So did this awesome gentleman right here, who not only has been wearing the tech for decades now, but actually INVENTED the stuff he sports himself. Also, it's attached to his skull. Kind of Borg-ish, but I'm not going to criticize (because I would totally do that too. Immediately).
So, why? Because apparently rocking a pair of these makes certain people lose their minds. And common sense. And manners. And a bunch of other decent-people-making features.
If you find yourself walking into a Paris McDonalds with a pair of these bad-ass puppies attached, you might find yourself on the receiving end of some colossal douchebaggery by way of the employees of the... "restaurant". That's what happened to a University of Toronto professor during what should have been a nice outing with his family, which quickly degenerated into some seriously low behavior by way of several people allegedly working there. Why did this happen? Because they had a problem with the AR glasses (the ones ATTACHED to him. As in, unable to remove with sheer pull-power without potentially causing harm).
What would you consider a safe, polite way of informing someone that you have an issue with them wearing something (not that your subjective view counts, as he was breaking no laws). Perhaps politely speak to the man? Maybe outline your concerns? If you really feel the need, very nicely ask him to finish his paid-for meal and be on his way (again, up to him, not you). Those are all very human ways to voice your opinion.
Which makes one wonder what three employees at said McDonalds were smoking that day when they decided their approach was acceptable: To basically surround this guy while he's eating with his family, physically assault him by trying to remove the glasses by force (seriously, idiot that tried to do this? Did all those burgers finally amass completely over your brain?), tear up the doctor's documentation detailing this man's right to wear them, try to hide your identity when called on your utter and total amount of BS and then physically remove him from the premises? Did I miss anything? I probably did, with this already-long list of things I would sue for.
Speaking of lawsuits, this guy is clearly a bigger person than I. Because while I would rage-vomit lawsuits all over the place, this gentleman takes the high road and simply wants his glasses (rightfully) repaired. Of course, I'm sure the McDonalds's over there is doing everything in its power to right this wrong: And by everything, I mean nothing.
That's a good way to start a blog post, right? Grabbed your attention, did it? I know it certainly grabbed MY attention when it happened, but it's hard to not notice a large, fast-moving, dangerous piece of metal, rubber, and death when it's purposely trying to run you off the road.
Or do people just not think anymore?
Let me explain: I have an electric bicycle. A scooter, I suppose you could still call them. It's a great, fun little machine that is essentially a power-assisted bike. It's zippy, it's convenient, it's nice, it's green. It's a lot of things. Here it is. Cute, right?
Looks like this, plus an additional fruity basket at the front.
What it's not, fellow travelers on the road, is immune to your damned cars. It's not superman's e-bike. It's not some life preserving machine that will, should you choose to tap it with your car, somehow magically float into the air and set me down amidst a bed of baby-soft flowers, completely unscathed. No, here's a more realistic version of how that would play out. How it almost played out:
The Labcoat and I decided to go to our first Meetup.com meeting with fellow e-bike enthusiasts. Fun times were to be had, but apparently not before the mental breakdown I would have in short order on the way. You see, what some people have yet to realize, is that you have to share the road with cyclists: Bikes, E-Bikes, Scooters, Motorcycles, whatever. As long as I'm not taking up the entire road (and seeing as the notion of getting hit by a car has the tendency to make me nervous) and being courteous by staying well to the side so you have all the room you need to drive and pass, you have no room to complain.
No, shut up. I don't care how stressed your day has been. I don't care if you're in a bad mood. I don't care if you're in a hurry somewhere and the additional .5th of a second it takes for you to pass me somehow invalidates your manhood/womanhood. I HAVE A RIGHT TO BE THERE.
Hey, you know what you don't have a right to do? You don't have a right to ride up slowly behind me so I don't notice you. You don't have a right to to start coming rapidly up beside and toward me. You don't have a right to start swerving your car into my bike in order to....what, exactly? Commit murder? Because, driver of the car that did this to me today; that is what you nearly did. Had I not seen you a the last possible second and swerved violently to the side amidst a torrent of shrieking terror, you would have run me into and under the other cars on the road. On a scooter. Do you seriously need a medical lesson on what happens the human body when it suddenly finds itself thusly stressed? Are you just THAT stupid? Here, let me give you a visual aid:
Ahahahaha, yes, you're right, very amusing.
Count yourself lucky, driver, that you did not stop and get out of the car. That you thought only to, like the coward you are, swear at me and scream at me instead of confronting me. Because driver, had God answered my earnest, earnest prayer that you should leave the car, I would have beaten you to death with my helmet. And this applies to any and every drive that has ever screamed at, swerved at, played chicken with, or just generally messed with someone on any kind of bike: This is not a joke. It is very, very easy for someone to go flying over their handlebars and into the great beyond. Leaving behind a family, people who love them, and people who will no doubt be wanting to know why that extra, short moment it would have taken you to pass was worth a life.
And maybe you'll think on it while sitting in a jail cell.