1. “Last Girl in Larchmont.” Emily Nussbaum on Joan Rivers as a survivor of a sexist era: a victim, a rebel, and, finally, an enforcer.
“That admiring portrait was true, but it obscured a more complicated reality: in A Piece of Work, there are plenty of Holocaust jokes, and some hilarious elder-sex bits, but not a single fat joke, although for many decades jokes about female bodies were Rivers’s specialty. There is no Fashion Police, and no red-carpet routine, no mention of the night Rivers said, when the twenty-two-year-old Kate Winslet was nominated for an Academy Award, that the actress’s fat arms had sunk the Titanic. Was that a joke or an insult? A message to Winslet or to other girls watching? (Try to look better!) This was the harder-to-handle part of Rivers’s legacy, her powerful alloy of girl talk and woman hate, her instinct for how misogyny can double as female bonding. In many ways, Joan Rivers was the first Real Housewife: she was brazen, unapologetically materialistic, a glamorous warrior in an all-female battleground—a gladiator. To honor her, as both a role model and a cautionary tale, you can’t airbrush that out.”