Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Is It Ever Enough?

Robin Williams dead at age 63

When I think of Robin Williams, my first thought is always Mork and Mindy (Give me a break. I'm old.)

What touches the depth of my heart about this sad turn of events is that Robin Williams had more than he had ever dared dream he would have. He had fame. He had fortune. He had the admiration of millions. He had followers. And he had those who said they were his friends.

Robin Williams was often funny, frequently silly, emotionally expressive, quick witted and spontaneous.

Is there something missing from that list of things Robin Williams had. Was there somehow more that he needed? Apparently so.

I wonder what it was, don't you?

(Here's the first I read about it.)


Z said...

Everything written about him over the years has included drug and alcohol abuse...and severe depression. That man needed God but sometimes even that doesn't bring folks out of deep depressions; not ones deep enough, and long enough, and tiring enough, to commit the cruelest thing possible to your 3 children, because he's gone and they're suffering now.
And his better side knew that, but his sick side could not.

I hope he knew that he was leaving millions behind who he made happy and that we'll never forget him. Also, he was SUCH a very fine actor.

He'll be missed.

Joe Calton said...

He suffered from depression.

That is an actual, medical illness that can be treated.

He didn't need "God".

God doesn't exist. God is a crutch for people who don't have the strength of character to face reality.

God is no different than heroin or alcohol. God is a coping mechanism for weak people.

No one ever needs "God".

Joe said...

Z: You are right

JC: You are wrong.

Fredd said...


Perhaps you should expand on your sentiment to Joe Carlton ("JC", paradoxically enough) on why he is wrong.

Of course, JC will never accept the existence of God unless he is confronted with absolute proof. Until then, JC will be forever a 'Doubting Thomas.'

Joe said...

Fredd: It has been my experience that people like JC are incapable of facing the truth.

His statement that depression is an actual medical illness that can be treated is (while perfectly true) absolutely not relevant to the post.

Just like a person with acute congestive heart failure needs a para-medic, so a person with an extreme attack of depression needs immediate medical attention. Our brilliant governments (local, state and federal) have never recognized or provided for such.

While Robin Williams undoubtedly suffered from depression, so do millions of others who manage, some with appropriate help, to live productive lives. Comedy and acting are not productive acts and thus do not lend themselves to self worth.

He certainly had access to all of the help he needed. Insurance should have been no issue with him.

His trouble extended beyond his depression, as have the troubles of hundreds of celebrities who have committed suicide.

Shaw Kenawe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Shaw Kenawe said...

Joe: "It has been my experience that people like JC are incapable of facing the truth."

"Croyez ceux qui cherchent la vérité, doutez de ceux qui la trouvent..." --Andre Gide

Shaw Kenawe said...

"Comedy and acting are not productive acts..."

Someone quick! Channel Bill Shakespeare and tell him what Joe has proclaimed for us mere mortals!

Globe Theatre Fact 7
William Shakespeare was a shareholder who owned 12.5% of The Globe Theatre. As a young writer Shakespeare bought shares in the theatre and benefited financially as his popularity grew.

sue hanes said...

Joe - I was deeply saddened by the death of Robin Williams. And I was so sorry that he had to experience such depression. Unless you've had depession you have no idea how bad it can be.

R.I.P - Robin Williams

Joe said...

SK: You have offered nothing to substantiate any claim that comedy and acting are productive. They are entertaining, that's all. Nothing wrong with that, I like RW and WS. They both enjoyed the benefits of their writing/acting. In enjoyed them, too. But they are not productive acts.

sh: I will miss him, too. I'm also sorry he had to experience such depression. Several members of my family experience it and it is very difficult to deal with.

Joe said...

For those who might not know: The translations of Gide's statement (quoted by SK) is: "Believe those who are seeking the truth, doubt those who find it ..."

He is wrong, but that's what he said.

Shaw Kenawe said...

Comedy produces laughter. Therefore, it is productive.

Acting produces reactions in the audience that watches it. It produces delight, sorrow, joy, sadness, enchantment, revulsion, excitement, ennui, hope and dispair, and, most important, insights into human frailities and strengths.

Actors interpret a playwright's work and give it life by bringing the human voice and aspect to what the artist has written.

To insist that comedy and acting produce nothing to to ignore evidence to the contrary.

If comedy and acting produced nothing, explain why humans have watched it for millennia.

Or at the very least, give us your definition of "productive acts."

Comedy produces laughter; acting produces all of the emotions I listed above, therefore I maintain they are productive acts.

Joe said...

SK: "Comedy produces laughter. Therefore, it is productive."

As usual, liberals redefine words according to their own agenda and world view.

Some of what passes for comedy produces no laughter in me at all. Some comedy makes me roll on the floor laughing (something I am much too old to do). Comedy is not productive. It is entertainment. There is nothing wrong with entertainment...I am entertained by it. It might even help propagate meanings and ideas, especially if it is good parody or real satire (unlike SNL). But it is not productive in the classical sense of the word.

"Comedy produces laughter; acting produces all of the emotions"

No, comedy elicits laughter. Acting elicits emotions (sometimes "yuck"). Eliciting and producing are two different things.

The loose use of the words "produce," "Productive" and "produces" is why some theories of economics are just plain balderdash. They call that which is not productive "productivity."

Shaw Kenawe said...

Not so fast, Joe. The dictionary gives us more than one definition of productive:

1. producing or having the power to produce; fertile

2. yielding favourable or effective results

3. economics
a. producing or capable of producing goods and services that have monetary or exchange value: productive assets

4. resulting in: productive of good results

5. denoting an affix or combining form used to produce new words

Acting and comedy are productive under definitions #2 and #4.

Joe: "Eliciting and producing are two different things."

Not according to the dictionary.


make or manufacture from components or raw materials.

synonyms: yield, grow, give, supply, provide, furnish, bear, bring forth, elicit,

make (something) using creative or mental skills.

cause (a particular result or situation) to happen or come into existence.

give rise to, bring about, cause, occasion, elicit, generate, engender, lead to, result in, effect, induce, set off; provoke, precipitate, breed, spark off, trigger; literary beget
"that will produce a reaction"

Whether or not some comedies produce/elicit laughter from you has nothing to do with this. Your personal experience is purely subjective.

Joe said...

SK:"Not according to the dictionary."

[producing or capable of producing goods and services]

Sorry comedy and acting does neither of these.

Look, I don't think we need to focus on this issue (unless you just want to...which is OK). I think something was missing from RW's life that resulted in his decision to hang himself.

That is sad. I wish he had found what it was he needed, whether it was more control of his depression or whatever else it might have been.

I hope you agree with that.

Shaw Kenawe said...

Yes, I do. I also know the agony of dealing with a loved one's suicide.

Duckys here said...

I have to take it by extension, Joe, tat you don't consider any of the arts, "productive". You're being more pedantic than usual.

But yes, it is sad he had such a difficult time finding peace.
Myself, I think the death of his good friend and mentor, Jonathan Winters, was part of the trigger for his renewed depression.

Joe said...

Ducky: Color me pedantic. The arts are the arts. They may be beautiful, they may be thoughtful, they may elicit an emotional response, they certainly require skill and talent, but productive? No. I am a minorly skilled writer, but I do not produce things. Photographers merely preserve what is already there. Unless you are a kids photographer helping a mother remember her kid's fifth grade class, you're not producing anything, either. A painter (even a Picasso) can only be considered a producer if people want his work to balance the colors in a living room.

I have a friend whose photographs always catch my eye and cause me to gasp in wonder. Yet I do not consider that he has produced anything. He has only framed what was already there.

I will miss RW a lot more than I miss JW.

Duckys here said...

Yeah, Joe, I hear you.

Steichen, Cartier-Bresson, Doineau, Maier, Steiglitz, Capa, Lange, Weston, Hine, Karsh, Winogrand, Avedon ... etc.

They don't increase our appreciation or understanding or provide inspiration. All you have to do is snap the shutter and you have a great shot.

Your statement on painters is levels beyond foolish.

Joe said...


Duckys here said...

Comments, Joe? :

Photography is about finding out what can happen in the frame. When you put four edges around some facts, you change those facts.

--- Garry Winogrand

Duckys here said...

"This ridiculous-seeming activity of walking along the street and lifting up a little camera is so powerful, so complicated, and so resistant to being mastered. If I had the choice between doing that and sitting in an office somewhere … Are you kidding?"

-- Tod Papageorge