Joan Rivers: 1933-2014

Longreads

Joan Rivers, comedy legend, has died at age 81. Three stories from the Longreads Archive:

The Fresh Air Interview: Joan Rivers (Terry Gross, NPR)

GROSS: So, like, that’s kind of a paradox to me that you live to be on stage and at the same time, there’s this dread of being on stage.

Ms. RIVERS: Not a dread of being on stage, a dread of not doing well, of disappointing them. I you know, I always you think I have one friend who’s a very good, very, very famous comedian, comic, who once said to me: I give them five minutes. If they don’t like me, I go on automatic.

And I thought: They have bought the tickets, they have paid for a babysitter, they have come out to see you. They want to have fun. I want them to walk out of a show and say, that’s the…

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GENDER BENDERS

The SisterWives

It is true and obvious that men and woman are different. Most people would say what makes a woman a female and a man a male is the presence of a vagina or a penis. But it isn’t really that easy is it?

Beyond our biology, we are created and develop differently based on our cultural understanding of what it means to be a man or a woman. The complexity of how each individual is nurtured in relation to their nature – such as genetics or other functionally relevant changes that can occur to the genome, which can alter the way genes are expressed – make it difficult to study all the differing sexual manifestations the human race can exhibit. Regardless of what science says about the differences in our basic genetics, how different our brain mass might be, who has more white or gray matter, or how our hormonal…

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Can We Have a “Grown Up” Conversation About Scholastic Sports?

The Black Cager

The money is gone. As a local, “community” those of us living in, working in or near and thinking about Philadelphia have made good schools a luxury. Like a Bentley or a Mercedes, everyone simply cannot access one. We have given up and we are now watching the urban public school systems of our youth die a tortuous, slow and excruciatingly painful death. As with all deaths, assets are left behind. In recent weeks, we “the public” have sold University City High School to Drexel and William Penn to Temple.

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Let’s think about this for a moment: Twenty-two (22) District high schools lost 50 or more of their students from the Class of 2012 cohort, 2,200 dropouts in all. This represents a significant shrinkage of one graduating class. Unfortunately, it’s even worse across the Delaware River. According to the recent data only 42% of Camden High students and and 46%…

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Mission Accomplished? Syria, the Antiwar Movement, and the Spirit of Internationalism

In the Moment

Danny Postel

 

The American peace movement has been celebrating what it sees as its victory on Syria. “The U.S. is not bombing Syria, as we certainly would have been if not for a huge mobilization of anti-war pressure on the president and especially on Congress,” writes Phyllis Bennis of the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS). This represents “an extraordinary, unforeseen victory for the global anti-war movement,” she goes on, one that “we should be savoring.” Robert Naiman of the organization Just Foreign Policy vaunts “How We Stopped the U.S. Bombing of Syria”.

This turn of events is “something extraordinary – even historic,” writes my good friend Stephen Kinzer, coming from a different but overlapping perspective. “Never in modern history have Americans been so doubtful about the wisdom of bombing, invading or occupying another country,” writes the author of the classic Overthrow: America’s Century of Regime Change from Hawaii…

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