Tuesday, August 12, 2014

RIP Robin Williams

Just laughed till the tears ran watching the best of the best - Robin Williams and Carol Burnett. Stay till the end, when they do the skit again.


And this, breathtaking, beyond brilliant:


I don't understand, I just do not understand how people can want so desperately to get out and leave it all behind. This extraordinary man, his God-given talent, his children - it makes no sense. I do not understand how a man who gave so much pleasure to so many and made it look so effortless could be in such pain himself. Maybe pain is harder to deal with when you're beloved, successful and rich - pace Phillip Seymour Hoffman and so many others. How profoundly tragic.

My son is dealing with the loss of a friend, not successful or rich but no less beloved, who jumped in front of a subway train last week. My heart is broken, Sam says. And that's what we're saying, too, about Mr. Williams.

Suicide is an issue dealt with obliquely in a film I saw this afternoon with my friend Ken: Calvary. It's a powerful and dark film about the legacy of the Catholic church in Ireland - for good, yes, in the way people turn to priests for counsel and comfort, but more visibly for bad, in the haunting aftermath of the sexual abuse of children. There's a mention that Jesus "committed suicide", and the intimation that dedication to the church demands literal self-sacrifice. Ken is Catholic and was non-plussed; it's not a film you'd tell your friends to rush out and see, and yet there's beauty, humour and honesty. And a great deal of anger. As I walked home, everyone I passed looked like characters from the film struggling with their own particular demons.

Or not.

PS. Pictures of wounded Palestinian children in the "Star" today, so devastating I had to quickly turn the page. The other day I heard Hilary Clinton say "Israel has to defend itself", and that all the casualties were the fault of Hamas. And that was the end of the considerable respect I once felt for Hilary Clinton.


  1. I had the exact same feeling vis-à-vis Hilary Clinton. But then, it's so obvious she says this for the Jewish vote. As for Robin Williams...it's mental illness, Beth. Mental illness is one of the most under-funded, neglected and misunderstood issues of our time. I'm off to London for a week. Can't wait.

    Juliet in Paris

  2. Juliet, have a wonderful time in London - impossible not to. There was a very good editorial about Hilary in the NYT the other day - how successfully the chameleon Clintons use people. And yes, I know it's mental illness, but still have that old-fashioned judgemental feeling, "Just cheer up, for God's sake!"