Some weeks The PopCulteer just pours out of me, and some weeks it doesn’t. This week was a tricky one. We got off to a lousy start with the suicide of of Robin Williams and I really thought it would be sort of fatuous to dedicate a blog post to that topic. But here it is.
I was a fan of Robin Williams from before he appeared on Mork and Mindy, and I really enjoyed some of his movie appearances, like The Fisher King and Awakenings. He also made a lot of movies that I would have been happier not to experience, like Patch Adams.
But while I generally enjoyed his work, I wasn’t quite as gobsmacked by his death as many people have been. I’d read and seen many interviews where he talked at length about his depression and other mental issues, so it just wasn’t much of a shock to me. When the news broke that he died, I assumed it was either a suicide or overdose.
The reaction to Williams’ death has been interesting to watch. Of course, people are saddened to varying degrees, some of them greatly so. There are a few folks on social media who are expressing another common reaction to suicide–anger.
It’s easy to be angry when somebody takes their own life. If, like me, you’re someone who has been lucky enough not to have to deal with depression or debilitating mental issues, it can seem selfish when someone chooses to exit stage right. It’s more work for us to comprehend, or try to comprehend, what Williams was dealing with.
You have to have empathy for this sort of mental illness. I’ve seen people on Facebook express anger that Williams killed himself over depression, then backpeddle when it was revealed that he was in the early stages of Parkinson’s. There’s a belief that it’s okay to spare yourself the pain of a debilitating physical illness, but it’s selfish to take your life if you’re only depressed.
If you don’t suffer from it, it’s “only” depression.
I understand the thinking behind that belief, but those folks are missing the point. Depression is a debilitating illness. It robs the sufferer of the ability to enjoy anything. Maybe people could be more understanding if we called it “thought cancer.”
Like I said, this was a tricky week. Robin Williams died, then Lauren Bacall, and then it was time for my birthday, which being in the middle of the week turned into a nice, low-key day where I spent time with my fiancee and fell behind on work. At least I didn’t have to attend a funeral on my birthday, like last year.
Other stuff happened. HarraH put on a killer show last night at the Empty Glass with the impressive Sondergeist and the very cool Stonecutters. I shot a video of Johnny Compton that I’m still editing. A few nice paying jobs have crossed my desk in the last couple of days. Plus the Charleston Gazette, my benevolent host, filed suit against WV Attorney General, Patrick Morrisey to get him to follow the FOIA, and that allowed me to revive this lovely video…
It has been a full and busy week.
And that’s why the rest of this column is going to consist of digital flyers for local shows. And THAT is why, if you have a local show, you really ought to make a flyer, because some weeks your PopCulteer just phones it in.
STUFF TO DO
That’s it for this week. Keep reading this crap and I’ll keep writing and posting it.