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Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
The new, tiresome culture of outrage
The new, tiresome culture of outrage

There's a scene in "A Piece of Work," the 2010 documentary about comedian Joan Rivers, who died last week, in which she shoots down a heckler while performing in a casino in northern Wisconsin. In so doing, she effectively explains the purpose of humor in society. After she delivers a throwaway joke about Helen Keller, a man in the audience shouts, "That's not funny if you have a deaf son!" Rivers' eyes flash with a combination of anger and boredom. "Yes it is!" she bellows. "Let me tell you what comedy is about," she continues. "Oh, please. You are so stupid! Comedy is to make everybody laugh at everything and deal with...

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