joan riversWhat's the big deal? Can't a comic make fun of a baby? Sheesh! Joan Rivers defended herself via Twitter over the kerfuffle she raised calling Kim Kardashian's baby North "ugly." You may recall, Radar Online quoted from her standup comedy routine, "That baby is ugly ... I've never seen a 6-month-old so desperately in need of waxing." Well, according to Rivers, we just can't take a joke. In context, that is. Haven't we seen her comedy get-out-of-jail-free card?

Okay, just to play devil's advocate (and I do mean devil literally), I see Joan's point. Comedians are all about pushing the limits of what's acceptable. Insulting a baby is definitely one of those limits. And part of Joan's shtick is making fun of our obsession with beauty.

As for taking her joke out of context, we'll just have to take her word for it. Radar appears to be the only outlet reporting on her standup routine. I guess we'd all feel better if she followed up her joke with, "Aw, you guys, that was shitty of me! You know I think that baby is cute. I would NEVER ..." But that would make for terrible comedy. And come on, Joan Rivers would almost be willing to sacrifice a live baby on stage so long as it killed. I mean, made people laugh.

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Now let's go to the dark side.

Right now, Nori is a baby who can't feel the barbs or anyone's wit. But I think we all know we're living in a culture that places a cruel, harsh magnifying glass on women's beauty -- and flaws. To put a child under that glass, even if she's the daughter of self-promoting reality stars, is too much. I mean, isn't Joan Rivers' own sliced and stitched face a testament to our unhealthy obsession with perfection?

So you have to ask, does Joan Rivers' joke send up that unhealthy obsession, or does it exploit it? It's hard to tell -- especially without hearing the rest of the routine. But I think the way it incensed so many people shows you how most of us feel about publicly calling a child ugly.

Do you think Joan Rivers' joke was more about insane beauty standards or about Nori?

 

Image via Joan Rivers/Twitter