Who Am I To Judge?

Like many people, I was shaken up by the recent death of Robin Williams.  It looks as if almost everyone in the blogosphere is writing about him.  That shows what kind of impact he had on people’s lives.

It’s safe to say that his death had a similar impact.  I already wrote about it in the previous post, but I fear I was hiding my emotions behind the remains of my intellect.  It’s fragile turf to tread on, as the issues surrounding the comic’s passing–addiction and depression–have visited me in various forms throughout my life, as has the forbidden appeal of suicide.

Sometimes I think what inclines me to excessive morbidity is that I’ve been relatively unscathed by death.  If I had suffered more fatal losses closer to home, I’d probably keep my mouth shut.

I don’t have much time to write today, as my wife and I have to take a five-hour bus trip to go see her parents down south in South Korea, where everyone speaks Korean with a southern accent.

I just want to apologize if I sounded too judgmental of Mr. Williams, whom I now admire significantly more after reading about what a saint he was to so many people.  Conan O’Brien gave a hushed and respectful–along with abrupt–tribute to him at the end of his show the other night, and Russell Brand wrote a particularly percipient and moving piece about him for the Guardian’s website.  He asked what it says about our world that it’s bad enough to make Robin Williams want to kill himself.

That’s a good question.

The vitriolic meatheads at Fox News and Rush Limblah have had their brainless say as well.

Apparently, according to Yahoo! News, the late comedian’s fans are rushing to watch his film What Dreams May Come, in which the character he plays goes to heaven.  I haven’t seen the movie, but I’m afraid there is probably no heaven for him to go to–and the one he left was too mixed up with hell for him to handle any longer.

When I read about the manner in which he took his life, part of me recoiled, not wanting to know the grisly details about his departure.  As selfish as it may sound, I just didn’t want to see him like that.

Still, it’s important to remember that Robin Williams was a human being, and every human being has feet of clay.

That makes the feat of his endurance for sixty-three years all the more remarkable, considering how much the poor man suffered.  Pain was the crucible in which he brewed the laughter that rises up from the magic formula of comic art.

May we all learn from his example to be kinder to one another, and to take care of ourselves and those we love as gingerly or passionately as possible, depending on which adverb the situation calls for.

Let’s see if we can make a better world somehow.


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