“Can we turn the loss of this artist we loved so much into something that pushes back against the ravages of despair” Alan Alda
Sometimes, I just can’t understand the rationale that we stand on when a celebrity dies. It’s as if they have some sort of super power, some beyond human experience, existence that makes them more of an IDOL, than a real living breathing human.
The adoration and adulation is so displaced. A great attention given to a person who barely knows who he/she is outside of the admiration thrust upon them by their audience. In real life, beyond the big scream, they cry, they fart, they throw up and catch the flu. But on screen they are more than human, they are more than super human, they are GODS.
Somewhere in the human psyche we need to have these GODS, these DEITIES, who seem to give us this false sense of hope and a false sense of reality. We never see them sweat except as part of the act. We don’t see what it takes to get one scene together to fit the big screen. But alas, we are manipulated and mezmorized by their “bigger than life” persona.
Yet, by the same token we will walk over a homeless person lying in the gutter. Some of us will actually bring harm to them, as if they are not human and deserving of being treated as a living, breathing human manifestation of the Divine. We are also the same ones who will vote for the killing of thousands of children in other people’s homes. How is that possible? How do these two opposing beliefs come from the same species. Even in the animal kingdom you see a compassion that far outweighs what we tend to portray for one another, particularly in the more privileged side of the human family.
Robin Williams, brought us all a taste of a world beyond our own abilities to manifest in the sense that he could be all of us and none of us at the same time. He could be almost any character and make it so real, we really believed it. Yet who was he, and did he hurt every time he heard that another Palestinian home had been bombed and another 50 children killed in an areal assault? Did he pay attention to what was happening in the world outside of his fame? I tend to believe he did, but that could simply be a personal bias.
My point is this… Here we are mourning the likes of a ROBIN WILLIAMS, another human being who had the opportunity to make us laugh so hard, we’d better stop before we damage our hearts, yet, we are divorced from the sadness, the grief, the despair, the depression of others who are not on the Big Screen.
What gives them carte-blanche to our sympathies? What makes their pain bigger than any one else’s and what makes them so important, even more important than the thousands of Yazidi fleeing into war torn Syria. What kind of world is this? Imagine just for a moment what that must feel like, when 20 members of your immediate family is killed in an instance and you are the only one who survives. Would you consider the fact that this lone survivor could give into the deepest darkest despair and kill himself or become a suicide bomber? Would his suicide make headline news??
Why are we so divorced from the chemical, electro-magnetic impact that death and destruction has on all of us, in every single corner of this globe. Is one death and its reason more significant than the death of an old man who gave up after being shut away in an old folks’ home for 20 years where no one came to visit him? How is it, that Robin’s depression is a clarion call for folks to focus on remedies for it, and questions about it and how can we avoid it in others….?? How is that possible when we are constantly bombarded with all types of violence against one another and others we don’t even know? How in the same breath, we weep and cry and wish we knew before it was too late, and then say that Israel’s disproportionate force against Gaza is justifiable? How do we support the arming of rebels around the globe who have no compassion at all for their victims and their families as they slaughter, maimed and behead them. What type of mind do we as a human family have that we can go so deep into the mirror over a superficial SUPER STARwho told us himself that“NO MOVIES ARE REAL!” yet we are lacking in our ability to comprehend, respond or change the conditions of our world where distress, pain and misery lie.
Seriously, is the fact that Robin Williams was depressed more of a headline than the deep despair that Liberian Mother feels whose child succumbed to Ebola? Or the Ferguson’s mother whose son was shot several times and killing all his chances to go to college this coming September? How displaced is our attention, concern and adulations when it comes to a so-called Hollywood Celebrity than for our family and neighbors who live in our midst? How displaced is our concern when we spend ours and dollars on Pop Culture and ignore the pain of those who are on the other side of the globe, who are awakened from their sleep in the middle of the night to the rhythmic sequence of bombs falling on their neighborhood, a neighborhood they could not escape. What about their despair, what about their depression, grief and feelings of loss?
And finally, how can we avoid it? Sometimes, I think the Universe let’s it happen to us so we can see what it feels like and maybe, just maybe we will have more empathy for others. I wonder how effective that method is however. It seems we get more self gratification weighing in on our favorite celeb, sports start or politician than we do on the real issues. We are all one human family sharing one home, Earth, and surely, whatever is happening anywhere in the world is happening everywhere.
We hear so much about honoring the dead, honoring their families, giving the families of these famous deceased folks their privacy, etc., etc. ad infanitum, yet, who honors those that are killed by our tax dollars and warmongering Politicians? Who stops and places a yellow ribbon on their hearts for them. Who refuses to participate in their annihilation? If it meant that the way we could save Robin from his ill fated demise meant that we stop supporting the industry that killed him, would we do it. Would we release ourselves from the joys of his mania and allow him, the artist to live in peace? Would we rally around programs that brought peace into his life if it meant he would make no more movies for our gawking eyes and selfish idol worship to enjoy? Would we stop if it meant that we would have to find something else to entertain us or find a way to entertain ourselves without destroying the idol of our worship? Would we? Could we? Are we all crying out loud because we cannot live without Robin Williams, our major distraction from what is really happening in the real world????
Yes, another IDOL has succumbed to the ravishes of an industry that kills it. And to what does that mean? Save we shall simply find another distraction and move ever more from reality and deeper into the matrix of mind control.
I hope that Robin is doing well, wherever he is. I hope he realizes that our worshipping of him was a sickness as much as his desire to be worshipped and that if he comes back he will love himself, more than any mass of emotionally starved and derranged human beings could ever love him. Rest In Power, Robin Williams, and all those who preceeded you and all those who follow and particularly the forgotten ones whose physical bodies are wasting away under the rubble of human ignorance and cruelty.
Alan Alda: A Niagaraof Wit Falls Silent
Aug. 12, 2014Can we turn the loss of this artist we loved so much into something that pushes back against the ravages of despair?
Within minutes we were telling one another he was gone. His genius, that had burned so hot, was cold, and the whole country felt the chill at once.
For years, we had watched with awe as a Niagara of wit poured from his unconscious. Where did that manic waterfall of funny have its source?
And where did his fearlessness come from? The night that he and Jane Fonda and I hosted the Academy Awards show together, he kept coming up with outrageous jokes in the wings. But before he went out on stage, he seemed to be using me as his taste monitor. He would think of a line and say, “Is that too tasteless?” Invariably, I’d say, “Yes, it’s too tasteless,” and invariably he’d go on stage, say the line and kill with it.
Unfortunately, sometimes the mind that runs so fast it can’t keep up with itself also has its down time. I didn’t know he suffered from depression, although it doesn’t surprise me. But it makes me want to dosomething.
I hope it makes us all want to do something.
While the whole country, and much of the world, feels this moment of sadness at his death, can we turn the loss of this artist we loved so much into something that pushes back against the ravages of despair?
Can we educate one another to recognize the early signs of depression? Can we make it clear to one another how dangerous it is? We all know now that drunk driving kills. But, when I looked up the numbers, I was astonished. Each year there are more than twice as many suicides attributed to depression as deaths on the road due to alcohol.
Maybe our grief can be transformed into an awakening. The man who enriched our lives could be the focus of saving countless other lives. Robin Williams could be with us a little longer.