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Why Robin Williams Death Affects Us All So Personally

Robin-Williams

I came upon a Facebook status from a friend the night the awful news was announced, getting on a bit of a high horse at the fact that he had read more posts about Robin Williams death in the past few hours than he had read about the dying children of Gaza, and how wrong that is.

This kind of shit is annoying for a variety of reasons that would distract from the point of this post. But I will say that people who sit in their comfy apartments in safe North American cities a million miles away from war posting on Facebook about how awful war is, who then feel the need to call out everyone else for caring about the suicide of an entertainer who spent his entire career making people feel better – really just need to shutthefuckup and do some reflecting on their faux Facebook compassion.

Another friend pointed out how it comes off as sociopathic to not understand why so many people who grew up watching Mrs. Doubtfire, Jumanji, Aladdin, Patch Adams, Flubber etc could feel emotionally connected to an actor enough to be truly sad that they took their own life. And it kind of is.

Of course we feel sad about it. That doesn’t mean we don’t care about what’s happening on the other side of the world, just because we’re not blabbing about it making judgements from Facebook all day. I’m well aware that the wars happening in Israel, Syria and Iraq are terrifying and devastating  - note, it’s not JUST happening in Gaza – Facebook evangelists. I realize there is also a horribly fucked up issue with unarmed African American kids being killed by cops in the States. Yes, the world is a scary place right now and all these things deserve media attention.

But we generally post on our personal Facebook about things we feel a direct connection to. And thankfully, most of us up in Canada are not personally connected to those wars. On the other hand, we all grew up watching Robin Williams.

We all imagined him as our own dad in so many of those movies. We all imagined him as our greatest teacher in Dead Poets Society. As the psychiatrist we could only dream of being lucky enough to find in Good Will Hunting. As the Genie who granted our wishes in Aladdin.

A person we felt connected to, who touched our lives directly through his characters, is gone, and it leaves an overwhelmingly empty feeling.

Some people always feel the need to act high and mighty when others care if a celebrity dies, and in some ways I understand that “You didn’t even know them, they’re just people too..” mentality. But there are some entertainers who literally are responsible for saving our lives through their art – and Robin Williams was definitely, easily one of those. He wasn’t just another celebrity. He was the kind of talent the world so rarely sees, and likely will never experience again. The idea of a one of a kind talent always seemed like such bullshit to me, but looking back on the versatility of his work makes it easy to see he deserved such a label.

Could anyone else in the world have pulled off Mrs. Doubtfire? Doubtful.

 

I also want to mention something I read on this website:

We were saddened to hear of the suspected suicide of Robin Williams, our hearts go out to his family and friends who should be left to grieve in peace.

Suicide is characterised here in the UK, as it is in the US and for almost every nation except China, by a three, four or even five to one ratio of male to female deaths.  In 2012, the last date for which we have figures, 77% of all suicides were male.  It is the single biggest killer of men aged 20-49 in the UK.   Given the disproportionate number of male suicides, in every age band, we hope that the media will explore the relevance of gender rather than just focusing and speculating on the minutiae of Robin’s life in examining this issue.

This might be one of the most important things I’ve read since his passing. It struck me when a friend mentioned feeling hopeless in the face of his death – because if even he can’t make it – what chance does that give for the rest of us who struggle with depression? When she first mentioned this, I feared that his death might push her back into that dark place, but almost immediately I thought to myself not to worry too much, because she’s not male, so she will have a significantly better chance of bouncing back if it does return. That sounds crass, and as someone who struggled with suicidal thoughts as a preteen I do not downplay the fact that both men and women reach that awful end point.

But the stats are overwhelming. And I think it’s something that really does need to be discussed because the fact is, men are obviously at a much higher risk of actually sinking that low and not seeing another way out.

And why is that?

That is a big conversation that really needs to happen.

There is research that needs to be done. There is a stigma around depression and being depressed that seems to be much more taboo in male culture. It’s like admitting you are a Beta male instead of an Alpha, and sadly there is still a lot of shame around that – and there shouldn’t be. Because it makes them more afraid to seek help. More likely to self medicate with booze and drugs. More likely to hide the way they feel. More likely to take their depression out in self destructive ways. More likely to bottle up and explode.

The fact is, when it comes to depression and suicide, the gender issue needs to be a part of the conversation. Too many good men are gone because they are embarrassed to seek help. They think it’s not masculine to admit something is wrong, to talk with a doctor or therapist about their feelings. So they succumb to this other option when they can no longer handle those feelings. Of course, depression is not a gender specific disease – but there is clearly a problem that’s skewing the suicide stats so far in their direction. I think it might have something to do with their different brain chemistry, and even more to do with the cultural standards men are supposed to live up to – and the pressure they feel to be beacons of strength despite their innate vulnerability.

RIP Robin. Thanks for being my psychologist when I was a severely depressed and angry 12 year old enduring daily bullying that made my life a living hell. Not sure I would have made it out of grade school alive were it not for the wisdom and compassion you showed Will Hunting. Until that scene, I really did believe it was my fault.

For anyone who somehow doubts it, movies save lives. That is why we all care so much about someone whose life we couldn’t save in return.

 Lisa

Giveaway – Tickets to The F Word Toronto Premiere With Daniel Radcliffe

thefword

Want to hang with Daniel Radcliffe in person? Want to attend the premiere of his new film The F Word? I can help you do just that. The film has its Toronto premiere on Monday July 21st at Scotiabank Theatre, and Harry Potter himself will be there to say hi.

If you want to win, all you have to do is follow me on Instagram @lisalagace  and like the photo of the movie poster once I share it. Only my followers will be entered into the draw – just liking the pic alone does not count.

Also, if you don’t win, you can come to Scotiabank at 4pm on Monday where there will be another huge opportunity to win tickets, so make sure you’re there early!

The F Word hits theatres on August 22nd! Check out the trailer below:

Lisa

Giveaway – Begin Again Prize Pack

begin again movie giveaway

My friends over at eOne have asked me to give you a chance to see the new Mark Ruffalo/Keira Knightley film Begin Again, for free! Yes, this one features Adam Levine attempting to act, but let’s not hold that against it.

It comes from the same team that brought us the beautiful music film Once, so I understandably have high hopes for it.

I have 9 music-themed prize packs to giveaway, and each prize pack includes the following:

  • A copy of the soundtrack on CD
  • A Run of Engagement pass for 2 valid at any cinema in Canada excluding Quebec
  • Branded headphones & headphone splitters
  • Guitar picks
  • Sunglasses

To enter, just email me at lisa@turntherecordover.com with the words ‘Begin Again’ in the subject line of your email.

As always, Facebook fans and weekly newsletter subscribers get extra entries, so use that handy little form in the sidebar to sign up if you haven’t already. Remember, you must have clicked the confirmation email in order to actually be considered a subscriber and get that extra entry.

Keep in mind the ROE passes are only valid for all the theatres in Canada excluding Quebec. Winners will be chosen on Sunday July 20th and contacted via email.

Watch the too cute trailer here, and try not to dream about Mark Ruffalo too much for the rest of the day:

Lisa

Giveaway – Tracks Novel and Movie Tickets

tracksmovie

Another awesome giveaway care of my friends over at Mongrel Media, for their new film Tracks which recently opened in Toronto. Any movie starring Adam Driver is a movie I highly recommend. Also, as a constant wanderluster, I absolutely adore this story because I have always dreamed of doing what this girl did. Traveling on your own is one of the best ways to see what you are made of.

Here’s what is up for grabs:

3x 1 copy of the novel the film is based on and 1 pass for 2 people to see the film in theaters.

3x 1 pass for two people to see the film in theaters.

That means there will be 6 winners!

To win, just subscribe to the upcoming weekly newsletter using the form below – be sure to confirm your subscription by clicking the link in the email you will receive – or you will not be entered.

If you are already a subscriber and would like to enter, just comment below using the email you used to subscribe, so I can verify you’re subscribed.

Subscribe here to enter the giveaway:


 

As usual, Facebook fans of TTRO can get an extra entry by sharing/commenting or liking my post about the giveaway.

Winners will be contacted via the email they used to subscribe on Wednesday July 3rd, so make sure you subscribe with an email you check regularly.

 Lisa

Giveaway – Tickets to Under The Skin Screening + Vinyl + Novel

under_the_skin_giveaway

Another giveaway! While the regularly scheduled content will return next week (after CMW madness) I’m sure you don’t mind the opportunity to win more free, awesome stuff.

This one comes care of Mongrel Media, for their new film Under The Skin which has just opened in Toronto. My sister saw it when it premiered at TIFF and she claims it is a total mind bender – I can’t wait to find out for myself.

Here’s what’s up for grabs:

1st Prize

2nd Prize

3rd Prize

  • 2 tickets to see the film during its Toronto run

To win, just subscribe to the newsletter using the form below. If you are already a subscriber and would like to enter, comment below using the email you used to subscribe, so I can verify.

Subscribe here to enter the giveaway:


Winners will be contacted via the email they used to subscribe on Friday May 16th.

Lisa