Monday, August 11, 2014

Robin Williams, RIP

Robin Williams passed away today, losing a decades-long struggle with depression informed by bipolar disorder and alcoholism. I prefer the expression, "Death by depression" to suicide, since it decenters the individual as the cause and focuses on the illness, much as if he died from a stroke or congenital heart failure. I don't accept the simplistic rational that an individual is solely responsible for their mental illness - we understand that there are biochemical issues in the brain that can be treated with medication and cognitive therapy. It's hard for someone to fight these demons forever, though, and whether it was a momentary mistake or a deliberate decision from a perceived rational state, Robin Williams decided it was time to stop fighting. It's irrelevant to think this entails weakness or failure; if the success Robin Williams achieved and the millions of people he made happy couldn't beat this, maybe nothing could. He was wrong, however, because he believed he was not loved. If only he could see now how much we all wanted him to stay with us.

It's a shame to muddy that somber note with what we talked about on the rest of the show: the goddamn new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie. Hideously ugly green baby monsters slide down hills for hours while sexually harassing women and fighting Transformers. Awful. Irredeemable. Getting a sequel.

Music from:

What Dreams May Come, 1998 - Michael Kamen
Aladdin, 1992 - Alan Menken
Mrs. Doubtfire, 1993 - Howard Shore


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