If Robin Williams had been a New Zealander we would not be having a discussion about his suicide, and certainly not publishing the method of execution, but the law in the US state in which Williams died is exactly the opposite – police are required to release all the relevant details of his death.
The media restrictions in New Zealand and the limited discussion is something I have been critical of, but that’s another story; Robin Williams is American and beyond the media eulogies the subject of his suicide is being openly debated.
It’s not a bad thing, to rationalise and make sense of human tragedy.
So, what did kill Robin Williams?
Some will say, “It was his demons that got him in the end” and others will say “No, it was definitely the black dog”.
Let’s cut away the fame and glory of this rare talent, one that attracted a world-wide audience and remember for a moment that behind all this was a man – let’s cut that back to a man sized argument.
Williams was a tradesman; comedy and theatre were his trade, and he was good – possibly the best we’ve ever seen. For any tradesman’s phone to keep ringing, the standard of work has to be good, and he has to keep his clients happy.
The tradesman’s conversation:
“Are you happy with the job?”
“Yes, it’s fantastic; we love what you’ve done.”
“If you’re happy, I’m happy.”
Happy for this man was other people’s laughter, other people’s ratings and the quality of ‘his’ work.
The heart of that goes to pride some would say, but it is better described as identity.
William’s was left in debt by ‘the system’ – a feminist system that left him financially beholden to his former wives.
The same system threatened him with incarceration should he find himself in contempt of the court’s order.
He was required to work, regardless of his state of health. Like all tradesmen, age takes away the skills they once could take for granted.
Williams was gradually being stripped of the identity he valued, his qualification as a master tradesman, and was required to work for a lessor income that could not meet the demands that society had placed on him.
The power of choice was not on his side.
That’s how it is for men in a feminist society, power rests with the wicked, and a man’s choices are no longer choices but demands and obligations.
Williams is in the minority in the sense that he is a celebrity, we in the masses far out weigh him, but he is far from alone in the sense that he is a man in the system.
Look for a moment at US serviceman; their suicide rate fluctuates from 15 to 25 per day.
While some of these suicides involve veterans of all ages, shockingly there are now more suicides among active duty soldiers than there are combat deaths – their power of choice is limited, run and be a deserter, quit and be a coward.
Can we blame that on demons and black dogs too?
Lose your ability to work, lose your identity, suffer the shame, cave in under the same financial demands from the same courts on behalf of the same women – their former wives, and deal with age and health issues.
Society is killing men and Williams is not an isolated case – yes, there was a little more publicity about demons and black dogs – but not so much about his loss of identity and powerlessness and the loss of his freedom.
It happens here in New Zealand too. A slightly different system that uses different terminology, but in the end the result is still the same.
Who is it that most relates to Robin Williams here in New Zealand?
There’re those of us that feel close to the man because we were his audience. He came into our homes and our movie theatres and made us laugh – we loved the man. Then there are some of us that can understand the man and his situation and what was demanded of him.
While we continue to celebrate his great work and outstanding achievements, let’s not forget who was instrumental in forcing upon him, such a miserable end to his life, and who and what he felt so compelled to escape from.
Robin Williams – a great men’s advocate