Friday 5 September 2014

Rivers on the Radio

Sad news that Joan Rivers has died, though she was a good age and working to the end. I always had a soft spot for her - not least for the memorable occasion on which she took on the appalling Darcus Howe. I should perhaps explain for American readers that Darcus Howe is a former (British) Black Panther whose sonorous tones, physical presence and 'dangerous' political past made him a great favourite of the metro-liberal chattering classes. He seemed to work on the assumption that white people are innately racist - music to the ears of the metro-liberals, who would eagerly roll over to have their little guilt-racked tummies tickled. But not Joan. When Howe made the mistake of casually accusing her of racism - on the usually innocuous Radio 4 talk show Midweek (where Howe was promoting a film he'd made about his relationship with his son) - all hell broke loose. Joan was seriously riled and let rip at him. It was electrifying radio...

Howe: Since black offends Joan I will make it..
Rivers: Wait. Just stop right now, Black does not offend me. How dare you, how dare you say that. Black offends me? You know nothing about me, you sat down here. How dare you.
Howe: The use of the term black offends you.
Rivers: The use of the term black offends me? Where the hell are you coming from? You have got such a chip on your shoulder. How dare you say that to me.
Howe: I think this is a language problem.
Rivers: No I don't. I think this is a problem in your stupid head. You had a child, you left them, your wife said you weren't there. You married a woman, you deserted her, now your son comes back he's got problems. Where were you when he was growing up, until he was eight years old?
Howe: May we continue?
Rivers: How dare you. Please continue, but don't you dare call me that. Son of a bitch.
Purves (Libby, the host): Right Darcus, can we just say you don't think Joan is a racist and then perhaps we can move on?
Howe: I don't know whether she is a racist or not. I don't care.
Rivers: You just said the word black offends me. That's the stupidest thing I ever heard.
Howe: Normally I wouldn't ever meet you in my life.
Rivers: No normally would I meet you, nor would I choose to meet you.
Howe: No she's not a racist.
Rivers: OK please continue about your stupid film.
Purves: Right can we talk about your tour Joan?
Rivers: Talk about anything you want.
Howe: I don't think you brought me here to be insulted.
Rivers: No I don't think I was brought here to be insulted by someone, to be called a racist.
Howe: Let's go on with my film please?
Rivers: Please go on with your film.
Purves: Well we have to move on for time reasons...