Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Robin Williams

I'm probably going to catch hate-mail for this one.

Are people really so saddened by his death?  All these tributes and RIP's and things--how many of these people said his name or even thought about him once in the last year?  I mean, I loved Mork and Mindy as much as the next guy, but so much of reading today seems over the top.

I've always wondered this, wondered if I were somehow the only person missing this mass-empathy gene, when the morning radio talk show hosts started discussing the same thing.  For the first time I realized I'm not the only one who feels this way.

Of course I'm not saying we should celebrate his death or anything, but all this wailing and gnashing of teeth?  Readers of this blog know I'm a Star Trek fan, and when Shatner goes, I'm sure I'll think something like, "There goes the Captain.  That sucks."  And that'll be the end of it.  When Queen Elizabeth goes, it will probably slightly bum me out for a few hours.  I'll be sad watching her family mourn at her funeral.  And that'll be it.

And those are two people about whom I've thought and talked a lot about in life. 

I don't understand all this garment-rending.  It's not that I'm insensitive (I don't think!) but I just don't understand how anyone could get that worked up over a person with whom they have no immediate connection.



Mrs. Widget said...

no, you are not the only one. I thought "that's a shame." and went on. It does not affect my life one way or another.

allen (in Michigan) said...

It's a cheap emotion - weeping crocodile tears for someone who wasn't really important to you but who was famous is an opportunity to publicly display your sympathetic nature. I appreciated his lightning-quick comedy of improbable juxtapositions but the outpouring of emotions has no relationship to his talents.

Pseudotsuga said...

Darren, I concur. I never knew him aside from his role as a performer. There is no Williams-shaped hole in my life right now.
So what's going on with all the saddening? It's an emotional band-wagon thing, I think. It's a group identity thing, and people hope that all that caring and emotion about a celebrity will label them as a member of the popular club. People like X, I like X, so those people should like me, too. (Same thing for the Oscars, Emmys, etcetera, I think.) I Am Not A Psychologist, but I think this may be the motivator.

Anonymous said...

A chunk of this is because Robin was "only" 63. We were expecting to have him around for a while longer. Bill Shatner is 83. Not looking to lose him, but at his age it won't be a surprise when he goes. Queenie is 88. Same deal.

And we lost Lauren Bacall this week, too. I was sad about that, but not as upset as losing Robin Williams. A big chunk of this difference was that Lauren was 89.

-Mark Roulo

Peter Reilly said...

I think that it was an apparent suicide might have been a factor.

Anonymous said...

I have read some articles on subjects such as the Missouri Riots ( I mean "protests") being used as a way to get away from real problems such as ISIS and Illegal Immigrants pouring in, ect.... so I'm just thinking this is another one.

Ellen K said...

I admit I was rather sad. The image from the Academy "Genie, you're free" did really get to me. But what was interesting was my 25 year old son's view. He has lost two good friends to drugs, hates them and hates people who use them. His view was that people who use drugs end up permanently numbing their senses. Sure they don't feel sad, but they become unable to feel happy either. When I look at people I know who have attempted suicide, that's often the case. Of course now the Parkinson's and money troubles come into the story too. It's sad. But then again, I think suicides always believe there will be a last minute reprieve-like they'll be magically saved. That kind of magical thinking is often what got them into the situation to start with.

Mike Thiac said...

Darren, two things I've gotten from coverage on his death. One, during the iHeart Radio 24/7 Comedy's tribute a comedian they interviewed (was inspired by Williams) said stand up is an addiction. The comedian on the stage gets something from the audience and once they get hooked on it they will always want it. Also, his wife said he was in the early stages of Parkinson's which would hamper his ability to do comedy (or drama for that matter). Like when Richard Pryor was really hit by the MS, for a while he did his comedy from a wheel chair but it got to a point he couldn't do it.

Speculation on my part, but between his financial problems and the inability to preform his chosen craft may have simply driven him off the end. Sad, no matter what the cause.

maxutils said...

Alright, I'm pissed. First of all, Darren, I'm reminded of two sayings: "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all," and "Don't speak ill of the dead." Maybe Robin Williams didn't do it for you -- and, with the possible exceptions of "Mrs. Doubtfire" and the highly underrated "Shakes the Clown" I didn't find his movies that great ...but he took a cameo on "Happy Days, " which I found to be a crap show and turned it int o a brilliant spinoff -- especially when he was improvising with his hero Jonathan Winters (also bad, I assume.). But my Robin Williams hole comes from the sf comedy scene, when morning DJ Alex Bennett would book SF comedians and just let them riff on whatever they wanted. He regularly hosted comedy in the park, a free comedy show in golden gate park which raised huge amounts of money ... but the best ever, was when I took this girl on a first date to see this new comedian no one had ever heard of before ... some guy named Jerry Seinfeld, at a box that was maybe 50' by 50' ... I noticed he was hanging out by the door. He asked if he could do a quick 15, and Jerry said, of course. He was hilarious ... and then Jerry came back out and matched him for an hour. After, we got to meet him (Robin, not Jerry) and he was a great guy. So, if he's not your cup of tea, so be it. And if you never saw him live early, I even understand it. But why try to .. not mock ... but question our grief? This was not the only show I saw him at ... it's the only one where he performed, but I'll never forget it. But that's my Robin Williams hole, so let's try not to forget that for every person who's seen the very mediocre "Mr. Patch," there are a ton of people who grew up with him who actually give a damn.

Darren said...

Max, yet *again* you're pretending I said something I didn't. I'll tell you for about the 8 zillionth time, please read what I wrote and not what you want me to have written.

If you can find where I spoke ill of the dead, please point it out.

As for your first quote--well, you'd *never* say *anything* if you lived by it. None of us would.

So bite me :)

maxutils said...

You began by acknowledging you would probably catch crap for your comments ... and while you didn't say anything specifically bad -- your overall tone was that we shouldn't care if he died beyond a passing thought. Robin Williams was beloved by enough people, and the circumstances so sad, that it warrants the public response it's getting. There are other celebrities who die where I have the same feeling of sad indifference ... (princess Di, Tupac, Michael Jackson, Lauren Bacall) but I don't generally advertise my feelings or question the fact that others have stronger opinions than me.