Robin Williams has passed

Rick Giles's picture
Submitted by Rick Giles on Tue, 2014-08-12 01:22

I'm sad to hear that Robin Williams has been found dead in his home today. A suicide after a bout of depression which alcohol was unable to keep him from on this occasion. I'm sure spokesmen will be asking that we not "speculate" on his pain but think only of the good times.

However, to learn from past lives is very important. I was very impressed when Deborah Hill Cone, a few months ago, wrote about Charlotte Dawson's suicide and referenced her depression. The suicide of Williams, Dawson, and Seymour Philip Hoffman all tell a similar story. It's unfortunate Deborah got kicked around the newsiverse for that.

As a rule most comedians lead desperate lives which being the family or the 'class clown' provide an early relief to. This habit becomes a public persona and, for the very best, a commercial service that will make these men famous. The lives of Billy T James and Peter Sellers back this up as, I'm also told, does the violent early life of Billy Connolly. He, like Mike King, seems to have made it past the drugs to survive. Connolly married a psychologist, King co-hosts a nightly psychology radio talk-back show called 'The Nutters Club'.

As a little kid I grew up with Robin Williams' Mork. I wondered if that influence of his joyful wacky Dionysian portrayal saved me from falling too deeply beyond repair for the Spock-like interpretation of Ayn Rand's philosophy? Also, well portrayed in Dead Poet's Society to show capability without severity. A few weeks back I also spontaneously watched the story of his co-star Pam Dawber (Mindy) for her part in being a female archetype I grew up watching. Robin Williams commented that she found herself happiness with a big studly man- Mark Harmon (from NCIS.) I was relieved to find out that things worked out for them, happily ever after, because I was afraid of otherwise. Turns out I should have been looking out for Robin.

He has a new TV show screening now with Sarah Michelle Gellar called 'Crazy Ones' (there's that theme again..) which I have not seen. I will *now* though, as it seems to be on free to air TV this week. The promo for the episode I saw had the cast standing on their desks as a hat-tip parody of the 'Oh Captain My Captain' scene in Dead Poets. Better tell Duncan Bane about this too because, I think I remember, he's fond of this film.


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The jihadists have taken

Richard Wiig's picture

The jihadists have taken great joy in his death, envisioning that he is burning in the fires of hell. Perhaps this piece of Williams humour will bring a smile to your face, Terry. I have never been a big Robin Williams fan either, but was still very saddened to hear of his passing, especially in the manner that he left.

Children With Old Faces

tvr's picture

Robin Williams claimed that his upbringing, with his two full time working parents, left him with an acute fear of abandonment and a condition he described as "Love Me Syndrome." He said he was bullied at school and is quoted as saying that he found his father "frightening" and "My only companions, my only friends as a child were my imagination," [Paranoia & Power: Fear & Fame of Entertainment Icons, p. 30-31]

It is clear from these and other confessions that he was, rightly or wrongly, a desperately lonely soul as a child, and that he never grew out of that state.

We are all now left to suffer the cries of the hypocrites who label Williams "selfish" for choosing his own exit cue. "He should have suffered more and lived for the sake of those who love him!", say (but in different words) those who demonstrate a complete lack of understanding of what love is. "How selfish he was…" they may as well scream, oblivious to their contradiction, "…to think of himself before me and those who I think he should have lived for the sake of!" Sickening.

Williams' humor never really made me laugh, except as a young kid when I watched him in Mork and Mindy, and the restaurant scene in Mrs Doubtfire, which was so well written and played that I remember it left me in tears. Reference to his stellar performance in Dead Poets Society is, admittedly, perhaps the best tribute one can give.

May he who made "Nanu Nanu" famous rest in the peace he so desperately sought.

'Seems' like a better way?

Rick Giles's picture

Why not? You mean like WW2 Kamikaze pilots, contemporary suicide bombers, and Elliot Rodger four months ago? Why not?

Why Not isn't an argument. I'm not going to supply you a Why Not. This is your baby, your proposal to champion.

Be the intellectual ally of these guys then. At least say how this fence-sitting 'why not' can co-exist with your Objectivism?

Thoughts on Suicide

Kyrel Zantonavitch's picture

Rick Giles -- Suicide may be the product of being defeated by yourself or by reality. It may be the product of giving up and blaming no others. Theoretically. But in my view it's usually the result of evil by others. Of irrationality, dishonesty, hypocrisy, and depravity in others. Also their betrayal. So why not fight back? Why not stand up for yourself? Why surrender quietly and go down to a melancholy, passive, defeatist oblivion? Why not a defeat which is at least somewhat glorious and heroic? Why not proudly assert your view of yourself and existence, and fight for what's right to the bitter end? If you have to obliterate your Sacred Self, that seems like the better way to go.

I would even suggest going for a few hand-gliding and parachute-jumping lessons first. Then decide if life is really not worth living -- existence not truly worth fighting for.

I got this

Rick Giles's picture

No one who willfully acquiesces to that mental state can possibly be happy, regardless of his frenetic attempts to demonstrate otherwise.

Fully agree. Film-maker friend of mine met him when he toured here and said he was very sad. He will appear sad without an audience to play to. This is not how he destroyed himself though, this was his refuge. Great, grave, sadness was his authenticity (which was not worked on) and mania the flight to relief.

Didn't work. No second-hand source for self-esteem.

Graham Norton. When I chance upon him, I immediately recognise The Enemy.

Ah, so do I. Speculated on this a few weeks ago with myself that his 90s predecessor was probably Noel Edmonds. His show was far worse. Before that Bruce Forsyth, less bad, who only just died. I identify these dancing monkeys as trading off their credibility to distribute low-brained opiate to the masses.

They could have been Michael Parkinson if they'd gone another way early enough. Nobody will fly Graham Norton to Australia to interview an Ian Thorpe in 30ys time! Not dead though. I think he'll still be alive and on some Irish radio station or 2044ad equivalent.

David Frost, so the story goes, was selected to interview Nixon because he was seen as going a bit Graham Norton. Next thing, he upsets the designs by switching back to being a Michael Parkinson.

what is it people in this airhead culture are afraid will happen if there's calm for five seconds? If truly witty, leisurely dialogue replaces lame babble? If a camera shot lingers long enough for the viewer to take it in? If we are not pounded by unremitting, ugly noise for the sake of noise?

I got this.

The answer to what we are afraid of is our true authentic selves. But they are not at peace but often in great agony inflicted by the earlier agony of others and their own attempts to drown it out.

Robin's authentic self was intolerable to him. Suicide was averted for sixty-odd years by second-hand substitute goods (alcohol, attention, workoholism) and when those ran out he was left alone with his personal Dorian Grey story.

This is the human suffering Schopenhauer and Nietzsche wrote about, offering different second-hand solutions. Ayn Rand's philosophy, I'm bound to say, led to an individual's ability (at last!) to shrug CULTure and accept the self.

Alas, no killing spree suicide for Mork?

Rick Giles's picture

Kyrel Zantonavitch
Life is beautiful
And why not take out a few enemies -- a few known and notorious Bad Guys -- before you go? Punish those who hurt you.

Because that's really what this tragic end needed to have made it better?

What the goddamn hell off the wall epistemology are you loading in your skull to say a thing like that?

FDR on Robin Williams

Rick Giles's picture

This great presentation from Free Domain Radio says it all. The information and the analysis is of great value.

Reflecting on this ...

Lindsay Perigo's picture

... indeed, if everyone were guided by a philosophy of reason and individualism, there'd be far less suicide. Given that no one is, it's a wonder there isn't far more.

When I think about it, Robin was destroyed long ago, probably by himself as much as anyone; when I think about it, Dead Poets was about the only time I enjoyed him—almost any other time I've seen him he's embodied the manic, no-attention-span look-at-me-look-at-me exhibitionist infantilism of our time. No one who willfully acquiesces to that mental state can possibly be happy, regardless of his frenetic attempts to demonstrate otherwise. Another "comedian" who does this is Graham Norton. When I chance upon him, I immediately recognise The Enemy. His shows are ridiculously, screamingly post-produced and over-produced, with relentless, contrived hysteria replacing what would once have been authentic, spontaneous humour. It wouldn't surprise me in the least if he too ends up tragic. I would argue he already is.

Can someone answer me this: what is it people in this airhead culture are afraid will happen if there's calm for five seconds? If truly witty, leisurely dialogue replaces lame babble? If a camera shot lingers long enough for the viewer to take it in? If we are not pounded by unremitting, ugly noise for the sake of noise?

Thus is the world driven mad, and suicide actually rendered rational.

Bad Philosophy

Kyrel Zantonavitch's picture

Life is beautiful -- if hugely challenging. It's eminently worth fighting for. Robin Williams made a terrible choice and mistake. I bet there'd be far less suicide in the world if everyone was guided by a philosophy of reason and individualism. I think Jesus and Marx murdered another. So too Kant and Hegel. Williams was almost certainly defeated and killed intellectually and spiritually long before he destroyed himself physically. And why not take out a few enemies -- a few known and notorious Bad Guys -- before you go? Punish those who hurt you.

Oh no!

Lindsay Perigo's picture

I'm beyond saddened to hear this. Just last Thursday evening I sat one of my speech pupils down, a 21-year-old struggling to find a career, and showed him Dead Poets, which he loved.

To think poor Robin suffered so much internal anguish.

More than ever: Carpe Diem!

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