It’s hard to believe it’s almost been a week since the world found out about Robin Williams untimely passing, and yet there still seems to be a fresh sense of “What? Really? How could that be?” about the whole thing; but unfortunately, since the initial shock of this sad, event all we seem to be hearing about in the media are the following things, in no particular order: Morbid details of his suicide, his past alcoholism and drug addiction problems, the debt concerns that drove him back to episodic television, then how that episodic television series failed causing his depression to resurface, leading to the discovery of superficial cuts on the wrist, position of his body during the suicide, length of time the body took for riga mortis to set in, etc. – all very negative and grusome stuff, and mostly things that are nobody else’s business but his own.
Unfortunately, the way our culture reports such information is to sensationalize negative, morbid details first, then toss in a few accolades at the end before calling it “news”. Look no further than the CNN and/or Fox News anchors who enthusiastically blare out sad stories 24/7 in front of big splashy “Breaking News” backdrops, repeating the same “facts” over and over again every 4 minutes for days on end. *Note to Wolf Blizter and Nancy Grace – this bullshit is not journalism; it’s sick, twisted voyeurism designed to feed the macabre masses that you and your ilk cater to) In my book, these guys are true parasites who prey on the unfortunate for personal gain.
Then there’s the seedy crowd from the internet – you know, those who constantly focus on the sad angles of such stories, “reporting” the worst possible details of situations – I swear most of them do this just to create a forum where sweatpants-wearing trolls can leave cruel, nasty (and usually misspelled) comments about the deceased… what’s the point? I can’t begin to imagine what drives any of these people to say such nasty things about folks they’ve never met; and along with the so-called “Breaking News” reporting, it all turns an enormously sad situation into cheap entertainment for the masses, and rubs big boxes of salt into an open wound – a wound that can’t heal quick enough for the family and friends left behind. In my opinion, this is no way to remember or honour people who’ve left us – regardless of how they went. I believe they deserve far more respect than this, even if that respect is shown by keeping silent.
Wouldn’t if be nice if media outlets would instead demonstrate respect and privacy for the family, give them time to sort through the questions of what has just happened to them, and allow them to work through the grieving process? And as far as us as regular joe-citizens go, instead of revelling in the recently-deceaseds dirty laundry, we should celebrate their life and accomplishments, remembering all the good things they did, and how they made us feel; because if we want to be perfectly honest, we’ve all got a few skeletons in our closets that we wouldn’t be too pleased for the world to discover after our own untimely demise. However, the threat of this happening is pretty slim since we don’t understand the pressures that come with being “Robin Williams famous”, right?
So here’s the choice: Which image would you rather have of the late, great Robin Williams? The salacious, morbid “recently revealed” tidbits thinly disguised as “news”, or the happy, smiling manic character who lit up the screen and made us laugh, cry and think…? For me the choice is a no-brainer, I’d take the latter any day. So with that in mind, I want to highlight just a tiny bit of the good stuff from Robin Williams all-to-brief life, and hope that in some small way, these things will overshadow all the negativity we’ve been hearing this week; because dammit, the man was a genius.
R.I.P. Robin Williams – We miss you so much already, because you truly did make the world a better place.
The Top 7 Reasons Why I’ll Miss (the very kind, warm & wonderful) Robin Williams
He Was Insanely Talented: Whether it was watching him do stand-up comedy, acting in a serious role or just flying by the seat of his pants in an interview, Robin always struck the right note, and made us laugh or cry; let’s face it, we were always at his mercy!
He Loved Canada: Robin Williams made many movies up here in the Great White North, and always spoke fondly of our country. My favourite quote was during a Reddit AMA session where, when asked if he’d be visiting soon, his reply was “I will be there as soon as I can! You have to give me a more specific location, you are a big country. You are the kindest country in the world. You are like a really nice apartment over a meth lab.” And let’s not forget his version of the (Oscar Nominated) South Park ditty “Blame Canada”
His Charity Work At Home: In addition to his constant philanthropic deeds and charity work, in the 80’s and 90’s he – along with Whoopi Goldberg and Billy Crystal – formed “Comic Relief” and have raised over $70 million so far to combat homeless issues.
His Charity Work Outside His Home: This one’s personal, since Robin was always known for stopping by to spend time with special needs kids when travelling; there still hangs a signed photo from “Flubber” and a script from “Patch Adams” at Canuck Place Hospice in Vancouver, where Tristan has spent much of his youth getting respite. In addition, from 2002 to 2013 R.W. visited and entertained U.S. troops stationed oversea in 12 foreign countries, including Iraq and Afghanistan.
The Remarkable Way He’d Recite Quotes: Although many of his most memorable quotes were lines from his movies, it was his delivery that made them so good. For example:
“You’re only given a little spark of madness, you mustn’t lose it.”
“You’ll have bad times, but it’ll always wake you up to the good stuff you weren’t paying attention to.” – Good Will Hunting (1997)
“Please don’t worry so much. Because in the end, none of us have very long on this Earth. Life is fleeting. And if you’re ever distressed, cast your eyes to the summer sky, when the stars are strung across the velvety night, and when shooting star streaks through the blackness, turning night into day, make a wish. Think of me. Make your life spectacular. I know I did.” – Jack (1996)
“My favourite person to imitate? Oh my god, Jack Nicholson. He once was with me at a benefit and leaned over and said “Even oysters have enemies” in a very intense voice. I responded with “Increase your dosage.”
The Movies: What can I say about films like “Garp”, “Good Will Hunting”, “Aladdin”, “Good Morning Vietnam” or “Dead Poets Society” that hasn’t already been said? They are all incredible in every way!
His Kind, Gentle Nature: Most of all, I believe we lost a man who was incredibly kind, gentle and who genuinely cared about his fellow man; a person who – despite battling his own personal demons – gave selflessly and tirelessly of himself. If you look closely, you’ll see that this man could exude more kindness and empathy with his eyes than most of us can do with our entire bodies. It is a well known fact that Robin Williams would always take time out to talk to fans, sign autographs and wish people well – a far cry from how most celebrities behave these days. He was definitely one in a million, and for all of these (and so many more) reasons, he will be sorely missed by us all..
R.I.P. Robin Williams; and with that, all that’s left to say is “Genie, you’re Free.”