Like everyone else with a conscious, I do not care about the details surrounding the death of comedian and actor Robin Williams. I do not care at all how he died. The facts of how he died do not change the fact that this influential comedian is dead. But the sad thing is, those of us with a conscious are in the minority. For every one person who claims to be upset at the details released by the media, there are ten people whose appetite to know is exactly the reason why the media releases such information. I agree when people say, “Let’s honor this man by remembering and focusing on his history in the performing arts.” If only most people would take it just that far.
Instead of being content to simply remember Robin Williams, many people are taking the man’s death to focus on the ‘illness’ of depression. Depression is not an illness, though; depression is a deviation from our normal chemical balance (or homeostasis, or baseline, or whatever you want to call it). Depression is no more an illness than happiness. Sure, extreme depression is a serious condition because it may lead to suicide, but extreme happiness is a serious condition as well – just observe any member of a cult. If Robin Williams was in a state of suffering so great that he decided suicide was his only way out, well, it was his decision to make; no one else’s. I may not agree that suicide is a reasonable solution to one’s problems, but because I personally don’t like it doesn’t give me a logical reason to categorize simple depression as an illness. Those of us who have never taken our own lives due to severe depression (which would be everyone reading this) doesn’t know what it’s like to be in such a state that the conviction it takes to take one’s own life is actually there. We are not Robin Williams. We do not know what he was going through. Should he have sought help? Maybe he did. We do not know. It shouldn’t matter.
Then there’s the goddamn conspiracy theorists who are taking this opportunity to suspect that 1) It wasn’t a suicide because 2) they can’t fathom why someone would kill themselves or can’t fathom the conviction it takes or because 3) the media is trying to cover up other major world news events. As a mentioned just a few sentences ago, none of us know what it was like to be in the actor’s shoes, so just because we can’t fathom the why’s or how’s of suicide does not mean foul play is afoot. In thinking the media is trying cover some other important bit of news is preposterous; imagine all the major news network owners getting together and saying, “Wow, first this shit with Russia and now ISIS is really fucking up things in the Middle East. People are getting scared. We’d better kill off a celebrity and distract the public. Who can we get to?” You really have to be a moron to concoct a narrative like that. What I love/hate about conspiracy theorists is that they insist there’s a conspiracy to use fear to control the masses, while they themselves use fear to try and sell you on the idea that there’s a conspiracy.
In the end, it is the end of Robin Williams. I will fondly remember his stand-up comedy, him as Mork from Ork and the creep from One Hour Photo. I don’t care how he died. I care about the art he made.