Skip to main content

I'll Miss You, Robin

As I write this, I've just learned that the great comedian and actor, Robin Williams, has died. It was an effort just to type that. There is something about him, the way that he understood suffering, that has always resonated with me. The funniest people understand it at a different depth.

On the other hand, perhaps the way things have ended, he didn't understand it as well as it appeared. Lord, have mercy!

I only know that I can encapsulate the fondness I feel for him, and my great respect for his human insight, in four performances he gave. My generation reveres Dead Poets' Society, and rightly so. Even if we realize after repeated viewings that the nihilistic Epicureanism on offer doesn't help much. Also, the hope of eternal life is too easily dismissed.

Later, he had a well-regarded supporting role in Good Will Hunting. Suffice to say that I understand Will's wounds better than I'd like, and I wish that someone like Williams' character had been there for me.

It's a trend that comedians--especially crass ones--do "family films" almost as penance when they get older. But when Robin turned dramatic, he didn't do it to make up for things; he did it because there isn't much difference between the bitter laughter of disappointment, and the longing that fuels it. He was teaching us. Sometimes the best teachers fail to teach themselves.

I've never seen a more underrated movie than Hook. Spielberg disavowed the thing, and he's a buffoon. The only performance better than Robin's was Hoffman's, and the film gets better the more you watch it. Some call it sentimental, and that's fine. Some of us have been through enough that earnestness isn't dismissed, as is the fashion today.

What Dreams May Come. The funeral scene. The theology of the film is dodgy, but at least there is theology. It's a deeply human film. Maybe that's the best way to describe Robin Williams: human. I never felt like he was doing something for a buck; he wanted to say something important, and he did, even as he made us laugh.

I have no idea what brought this tragedy about, but I pray for mercy, and I give thanks for my friend, though we never met. I do feel like I knew him through his art, and I don't think he'd mind that.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Underneath, It's All The Same

 As a general rule, I hate "pox on both your houses" takes on politics. Most of the time, I'm inclined to think that a particular person chooses this take because someone else has made them uncomfortable with a certain aspect of their own philosophy. If they adopt a posture of cynicism, maybe they can escape the moral force of that criticism. That could be bulverism in any one case, but I have seen it before, and I can't paint a picture without generalizing. Anyway, I didn't come here to talk about that. I came here to say that both major parties in the United States--and the people themselves--have embraced the absolute individualism at the heart of classical liberalism. Rightists want freedom from constraint in economics, environment, religious liberty, and a few other things. Leftists don't believe in this absolute individualism with respect to economics or the environment (not to mention religious liberty), but they do embrace it with respect to human sexu

You're Not Going To Die If The Democrats Win The Elections

I guess I'll tell you my gripes with Crisis magazine: the whole thing sounds like a Rod Dreher fever dream. You would think that armies of drag queens were kidnapping children to take them to the infamous Story Hour, in some kind of right-wing dystopian novel that is the reverse of The Handmaid's Tale. Come on, man. In other news, I would like to congratulate the Democrats, on seemingly finding some semblance of an economic message. You know, I'm old enough to remember when they actually were the party of the working class; it seemed like there for a while, they were the party of debt-ridden upper-class English majors, complaining because their slice of the pie lacks cherry sauce. [Wait, aren't they still those people?--ed.] Too soon. Anyway, I am what they used to call a "social conservative". And to be clear, I am not a social conservative for the sake of winning an election; I really believe and try to do the things that I say in this regard. Someone, howev

Final Election Analysis

 We might even say we're mere hours away from beginning to know who will assume the office of president on January 20 of next year. I'll cut right to the chase: I think this is going to be a really big win for Joe Biden. Real Clear Politics has shown a very heavy right bias, in the including of sketchy online polls, and in delaying the release of live voter polls more favorable to Joe Biden. Even so, their national polling average shows the lead for Biden at 7.8%. Keep in mind that if that were to hold, it would be a bigger percentage margin than Barack Obama achieved in 2008. The state polls are tight nearly everywhere, but they show clear leads for Joe Biden. The upper Midwest probably will not make any presidential calls on the night of the election, but Biden's lead in states that Trump should absolutely easily hold in a reelection campaign indicates to me that the president is in real trouble. He achieved a popular vote percentage in 2016 of 46%. He's going to be n