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Drawing the Divine: Depictions of Fatness and Race in Moana (2016, dir. John Musker, Ron Clements)

“Thou sayest thou didst see the god clearly; what was he like?”
“What his fancy chose; I was not there to order this.”

–Euripides, The Bacchae

Something I’ve always struggled with as the sole writer of this blog is the best way to include discussions of people of color.  Similarly to how Laura Mulvey famously observed that films are largely produced for an assumed (straight, cis) male audience, the US film industry largely also operates under the assumption of a white audience.  Often protagonists or other empathetic characters are white (traditionally of the WASP variety), while characters of other races or ethnicities are distanced from the audience.  As a white person, I am able to analyse and criticize what a film tells me about the people of color it depicts.  On the other hand, what I have to say is less vital to conversations about race in media than people speaking about how they see themselves. The lack of intersectionality in film often means little space for fat people of color, but when they are characters in film, they need to be included in the conversations I try to have on this blog– not with the intention of speaking over people of color talking about their own experiences and opinions, but rather to ensure that this blog is as inclusive as possible when looking at fat film characters.

That being said, last night I watched Moana for the first time.  Considering that Disney is, well, Disney, the amount of care they took in representing Polynesian cultures is notable, including an almost-all-Polynesian cast (I believe Alan Tudyk, who voices HeiHei the chicken, is the sole exception) and seeking approval from cultural experts before finalizing designs.  Plus, the titlular character (Auli’i Cravalho) is a courageous leader of her people whose adventure isn’t sidetracked by a compulsory romantic subplot.  As “Polynesian” is an umbrella term for many cultures and nationalities, the film’s world is a pastiche, with Moana being a character created by Disney and hailing from the fictional island of Motunui.  

The other principal character, the demigod Maui (Dwayne Johnson), is a figure in legends across Polynesian cultures.  He’s also the reason I’m writing this post:  Moana’s Maui is a big dude.  Before the film’s theatrical release, there was pushback against his character designed from New Zealand Parliament Member Jenny Salesa, Samoan rugby player Eliota Fuimaono-Sapolu, and others, that “the depiction perpetuates offensive images of Polynesians as overweight,” as noted in this NY Times article about the development of Maui’s look for the film.  A similar article from The Guardian, focusing specifically on the controversy, quotes Will Ilolahia of the Pacific Island Media Association stating that a fat Maui is “typical American stereotyping,” contrasted with Maui’s depiction in his culture’s stories as “a person of strength, a person of magnitude and a person of a godly nature.”

The articles quote other Polynesian folks who saw Maui’s size as an indicator of strength.  The Guardian article includes a YouTube video by self-described “obese Polynesian” Isoa Kavakimotu who defends Maui’s body as “all about function, not aesthetics.”  (The video is worth watching, but be aware that it has a lot of flickering images.)  Samoan artist Michael Mulipola interpreted Maui’s physique as that of a traditional animated sidekick, noting that Maui’s “thick solid build represents power and strength,” and is “reminiscent of old school power lifters.”  David Derrick, an artist who worked on Moana and is of Samoan descent, made an insightful observation in the NY Times article: “I think a lot of those things come from people being very nervous and scared that a big company is portraying this beloved cultural character.”  Given Disney’s history– hell, given the history of big companies using cultural objects to create a product for mass consumption– that’s pretty fair.

Derrick’s comment called to mind the depiction of Dionysos/Bacchus in the Pastoral Symphony sequence in Disney’s Fantasia.  (The Bacchanal starts at 11:05 in the linked clip.) I’m much more familiar with Greco-Roman legend than I am Polynesian, and therefore am more confident in calling out Fantasia as an example of a cultural object being distorted for mass consumption.  The NY Times article points out that Maui is traditionally represented as a slender young man; the same is true of Dionysos in ancient Greek art.  Although always the god of wine, to the ancient Greeks, he was much more: a personification of the wild, the invoker of divine frenzy.  His ceremonies honoring him served as a ritualized transgression of social order. In many traditional stories, including Euripides’ drama The Bacchae, he calls women to join him in ecstatic revelry in the forest, away from their roles as wives and mothers.  In the Fantasia sequence, outside the context of his culture and de-fanged for a modern Christian audience, he is a stereotypical drunk.  The satyr and centaurs who revel with him are in contrast both in their slender bodies and their behavior.  Their dancing is neatly choreographed; they manage to keep Bacchus as on-track as possible.  The female centaurs flirt with him but never allow him to get too close.  They remain in control of themselves and the situation, a Homeric social guidance film.  Bacchus is not effeminate, as Dionysos is described in Greek stories to suggest that he occupies a space outside social categories;  rather he is emasculated, his wildness stripped of its divine power.  He’s merely “let himself go,” his fat body a symbol of excess that is tolerated for a joke but never fully embraced by those surrounding him.  Does Maui suffer the indignity of a similar process at the hands of Disney studios, 66 years later?  Even if he isn’t the protagonist, Maui does retain his heroic status in the film– he’s strong, brave, clever, and embarks on a heroic adventure to save the world.  Does the fact that he has a fat body, as opposed to previous artistic depictions, detract from his other characteristics?

Searching online for a source to unpack the stereotype of fat Polynesians is proving difficult– I’m just turning up a lot of articles on reactions to Maui’s character design.  (Interesting sidenote: the titles of many of these articles describe Disney as “fat-shaming” or “body-shaming” Maui… drawing a character with a fat body is not “shaming” them, but no worries, it’s not like you’re being paid to use words accurately or anything.)   The pushback that I’ve seen is specifically focused on Maui’s size, and unfortunately there doesn’t seem to be much of an explanation beyond that, suggesting that fatness is objectively and simply a bad thing.  Why is that the case, at least in the context of this discussion?  Assumptions about health is a likely suspect. The Guardian article mentions the high obesity rates in several Polynesian countries, as reported by the World Health Organization. Ilolahia’s statement suggests a connection between size, health, and colonialism. Even in Kavakimotu’s video defending Maui, he conflates fatness with unhealthiness, concluding that Maui isn’t fat/obese because of his physical prowess.  This is where we venture once more into the murky, mutable definition of what it means to be fat.  The reactions to Maui that I’ve seen thus far buy into the oversimplified narrative of fatness and health having an inversely proportional relationship.  It feels a bit cheap to point out that Maui is a cartoon character and a magical one at that, so questions of his health are somewhat moot to begin with.  But in the real world, athleticism and body size are more complicated than what’s being suggested.  While watching Moana, I asked myself if the desire to see Polynesian representation in film wouldn’t be better fulfilled by rewatching Whale Rider (to be honest, there was a lot about Moana that I found underwhelming).  And that thought came up again when reading about this controversy, considering that in Whale Rider, protagonist Pai (Keisha Castle-Hughes) is trained to fight with the taiaha by her fat uncle Rawiri (Grant Roa).

Undoubtedly, the history of colonialism and racism continues to impact the quality of life of communities across the globe, including Polynesian folks.  And by not looking critically at what is implied when we talk about fatness leaves a lot unspoken about what kind of hurtful attributes get assigned to certain communities, and why.  But what is accomplished by suggesting that a fat character who comes from a marginalized community doesn’t belong in a heroic position, or even belong at all in a story about that community?  In fact, Maui is the biggest (human) character in the movie; does having a range of body types depicted still result in the promotion of a stereotype?  And considering that Maui’s character development redeems him as a hero in the eyes of his people, what the criticism of his body ultimately leads me to wonder is: where is the line between calling out stereotypes and playing into respectability politics?

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Rank Incompetence: Beauty as a Social Construct and The Firemen’s Ball (1967, dir. Milos Forman)

As I said in my previous post, 2015 was a great year for films with female protagonists.  We saw a whole range of diverse characters and situations, from The Assassin to Tangerine, Girlhood to Iris.  I also didn’t realize until I looked back at my blog posts from the past year that it was also the year of the female character right here on CPBS.  Starting the year out with Ma Rainey in The Ox-Bow Incident, the majority of the films I wrote about had fat female characters worth talking about. It shouldn’t be surprising that the role of body size in beauty standards was a recurring theme in many of these films.  Fatness is a complicated topic, but attractiveness is undeniably a factor in how it is considered.  Many fat characters, especially women, are contrasted against a conventional idea of feminine beauty.  That beauty can manifest as another character, perhaps the most explicit example being The DUFF, or the contrast between Anais and her sister in Fat Girl.  Often, a character is being measured against an ideal (eg. Emily in In and Out, who is hellbent on achieving her fantasy of being a skinny bride) or expectation (eg. Fat Amy in Pitch Perfect, who subverts the presumption that the acapella group she is part of is made up solely of “twig bitches”).  Even settings where a seemingly foundational social norm is rebelled against usually keep other hegemonic ideals intact, such as the gay community and household in The Birdcage where Albert feels devalued and ostracized both because of her size and gender expression.  The unifying factor is a standard that has transcended agreement to become common “knowledge,” a fabricated rule that causes bona fide unhappiness when characters are deprecated in this way, which can even impede their ability to achieve their goals.  Consider Susan’s outlandishly frumpy secret identities in Spy, which both make it difficult to blend in and communicate the lack of respect her coworkers have for her.  In all of these cases, fat women characters face difficulties due to their bodies’ lack of social value.  They are all deemed less valuable than their peers based on their bodies. As these characters embrace and/or prove their personal worth over the course of the film, the social fabrication of these standards and adherence to them are shown to be mutable and hollow, more of a hindrance than a motivation or guide.

Recently, I saw a film that illustrated this same idea, but rather than providing a fat character to root for, the focus is on the ridiculousness of the figures making these judgments.  Milos Forman’s 1967 farce The Firemen’s Ball skewers the inept bureaucracy of communist Czechoslovakia.  Despite this specific intention, its observations can be mapped onto structures of control in other contexts where authority is suspect.  The film’s humor is derived from the ineptitude of a company of firefighters organizing a ball for their community:  the cursory reasoning that informs their decision-making, their selfishness and pettiness, their expectations juxtaposed with their hapless inability to control the unfolding and increasingly chaotic events of the evening.    

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As the ball begins, the Entertainment Committee (it should be noted that all the firefighters in the film are middle-aged men) is in a room separate from the festivities, crowded around a magazine photo of contestants in an international beauty pageant.  They make up a typical boys’ club, crowded together with pints of beer and cigarettes, arguing about the logistics of the beauty pageant they intend to run during the ball.  They “sensibly” arrive to only allowing the eight “most beautiful” young women at the ball to participate; the one crowned beauty queen will have the honor of presenting a gift to the elderly former chairman of the fire department.  This subplot puts the male gaze in front of the camera, under the guise of carrying out an official ranking of beauty as entertainment.  The results are hilariously uncomfortable.  Subsequent scenes feature three committee members approaching young women with the dubious honor of having been selected as pageant contestants as they carry out their self-appointed duty with an undercurrent of embarrassed self-awareness at how boorishly they are acting with the most paper-thin of excuses.  They argue about how to judge which women are the most attractive: by their breasts, faces, or legs.  They skulk around the edges of the dance floor and peer at women from the balcony.  The women they approach largely react with confusion, and the committee awkwardly tries to filter out undesirables who are nominated by proud parents or foolishly assume that a means of entertainment at an event would be open to anyone interested.  

The squeamish licentiousness of the beauty pageant takes place in a room separated from the ball, where many more firefighters than the entertainment committee are gathered behind a table to inspect the contestants as they rehearse.  Even if the “judges” of the pageant tell themselves that they are acting for the good of the event, the reactions of the young women’s parents suggest that they aren’t fooling anyone.  A mother of one of the young women escorts her into the room and cheerfully insists on staying to “find out what it’s all about,” to the dismay of the firemen (who eventually get her to leave by electing one of their ranks to ask her for a dance).  One man begs the committee to include his daughter Ruzena, a larger-bodied girl than the other contestants.  Her father tries to poke his head in the door every time it opens, despite having begged them to make her a part of the pageant.  A second father bursts in and drags his daughter from the room, telling the entertainment committee that they are “dirty old geezers.”  This illustrates the paradox of being considered a beautiful woman in a patriarchal system: the desire to be attractive paired with the anxiety over attraction leading to trouble.

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The artificial nature of the beauty pageant was, in my experience, made further obvious by a lack of context.  Forman probably wasn’t taking the reception of his film 50 years down the line into consideration, but as a Millennial raised on Hollywood, it was difficult to determine how I was expected to judge these women’s looks.  Against expectation, the events leading up to the beauty pageant rehearsal do nothing to clue the audience into which of the women is supposed the be the belle of the ball.  The entertainment committee approaches several girls in the beginning of the movie who aren’t part of the final eight; one appears very drunk, another very disinterested.  A young woman (whom I found attractive) is randomly grabbed from the dance floor and recruited; she complains that she wasn’t actually chosen.  What we really have to go off is the reactions of the firefighters.  For instance, I thought Ruzena was rather pretty (she looks a bit like Molly Ringwald), but after she enters the rehearsal room, one fireman assures another, “Don’t worry, they’ll improve.”  His opinion is also complicated by an earlier scene where Ruzena has sex with her dance partner; even if the committee doesn’t find her attractive, she is desired.  As a viewer, I was relying on the literal male gaze to understand the dynamics of the scene, who I was supposed to see as attractive and who wasn’t desirable.  This gaze is, unsurprisingly, reflected by the camera, with shots that follow the leers of the entertainment committee and focus on eroticized body parts while they assess the female ball attendees.

The commencement of the pageant serves is an effective tonic for the underlying creepiness of the rehearsal scene.  The entertainment committee’s authority over the beauty pageant– indeed, the structure of the beauty pageant itself– quickly erodes.  The contestants are reluctant to parade up to the stage; first one, then all of them, run off the dance floor and seek sanctuary together in the ladies’ room.  Once they begin to run off, chaos breaks out.  The audience, chanting “we want the queen,” carry laughing women from the crowd to the stage.  The entertainment committee gathers outside the women’s restroom, begging the contestants to come out, as the audience cheers for a fat, middle-aged woman who stands on the stage, wearing the crown intended for the winner and waving to the crowd.  The former chairman, the original intended beneficiary of the pageant, sits alone and neglected in the crowd.  Eventually, the firemen are distracted from trying to salvage the beauty pageant by the sound of a siren: cut to a community member’s farmhouse, burning to the ground.

The genesis of this chaos is trying to be and create something one isn’t and can’t: a group of firemen from a small Czech town attempting a replication of an international beauty pageant with themselves as the judges, with only a magazine and their own imaginations as blueprints.  While under the pretense of benefiting the community– they are, after all, the entertainment committee for this large gathering– they shift the focus away from what the partygoers might want and towards their own desire to be in control, to be the ones surrounding themselves with beautiful women at the mercy of their judgment.  The firemen are engaged in the pageant, but the audience is indifferent and the contestants are apathetic, then uncooperative.  While focused on trying to maintain control and conform to a specific prefabricated fantasy, the firemen forgo their true responsibility to the community, neglecting to respond to a fire alarm until a fire is out of control.  It’s a story that we see replicated time and time again in various institutions:  adherence to precedent and retention of power trumps purpose and critical thought.  Consider how recently, for instance, the Academy Awards nominations for 2016 yet again pass over innovative, critically acclaimed films and work done by people of color in favor of nominees who adhere more closely to conventional, traditional tastes and expectations.  Likewise, most of the films we see feature characters who exist within audience expectations and stereotypes.  Some films like The Firemen’s Ball make this dynamic part of their focus, but all films are influenced by it in their creation, distribution, and reception.

In Memoriam: the Dissolve

It’s one of the oldest cliches in film history:  the sudden and untimely death of a mentor.

On Wednesday, the Dissolve announced that they will no longer be producing new content.  (Today is the two-year anniversary of the site launching.)  I initially resisted the impulse to write about it– partially because I was paralyzed by how really really fucking sad the news made me, but also because I didn’t feel like I had anything to add to the discussion.  I was never an active member of the site; despite the praise for the civility of the Dissolve’s comments sections, I have a Pavlovian aversion to them, plus I never felt like anything I could have said would be smart or timely enough to warrant posting.  I’m also not a film critic, so I don’t have any thoughts on what this means about the profession’s trajectory.

But even if I don’t have anything new or insightful to say about this sad event, I can say that the Dissolve had a huge impact on CPBS.  I started writing this blog in part because I fantasized about being skilled enough to be part of the Dissolve, but at the same time, I wanted to focus on my interests and use my particular lens.  I don’t think I’m in that league, but I will continue to use their work as an aspiration for my own, both in the quality of analysis and balance between academic and casual.

The Dissolve was, of course, part of my life outside of this blog.  They were my go-to source for deciding which films were worth seeing in theaters– and many sincere thanks are due to them, especially Scott Tobias, for convincing me to see Under the Skin and Duke of Burgundy on the big screen, because those were not only two of the best cinematic experiences of my life, but both films that work for me on the level of cyphers for complicated and somewhat ineffable aspects of my life experience.

I have no doubt that the talented team behind the Dissolve will be on their feet and onto new projects very soon, and I look forward to following their work.  In the meantime, I and many others will continue to run around in the backyard, playing at being Dissolve staff.

Related links:

I Can’t Believe I’m Writing About Scooby-Doo

Last week, there were a few mentions in my corner of the blogosphere about the new Scooby-Doo movie, Frankencreepy, in which Daphne is put under a curse that makes her “lose her good looks” (according to a statement from Warner Brothers).  Her loss of good looks equates to her thin body becoming fat and her straight hair becoming curly… frizzy… well, you can’t really tell exactly what they were going for due to the animation style, but she’s gained quite a bit of texture.

I read some analyses of this artistic choice which I’ll link to below that do a good job of spelling out the shitty implications that the movie makes about being fat and how it tries to mitigate the effects of that implication by having Fred tell her that she’s still pretty.  However, I think it’s important to look at what in our culture is influencing this storyline, eg. beauty standards based on whiteness.

Beauty, as in the eye of the beholder kind, is nuanced and shifting based on era, culture, subjectivity, and lots of other factors.  If Fred think that Daphne is pretty under the curse, that’s real and valid (even if Daphne shouldn’t base her self worth on his opinion maybe).  But it’s vital to recognize the difference between that and hegemonic beauty standards, ideas about which bodies are good and valid that function as maintenance of power structures.

The culturally reinforced idea of fat=ugly exists at the intersection of a lot of power imbalances, among them sexism, classism, ableism, and racism.  The exotification of fat serves to objectify and other black women’s bodies, from the Hottentot Venus to the appropriation of twerking as an edgy accessory for skinny white pop stars– the same A-list celebrities whose cultural capital would plummet if their bodies looked the same as their backup dancers’.  Similarly, the equation of a fat body with beauty is, in the context of white colonialism, seen as quaint or curious or wrong; the white beauty ideal always positioned as the one to strive for.  A well-known anecdote (at least in feminist and eating disorder recovery communities) is how rates of eating disorders among adolescent girls in Fiji increased dramatically after the introduction of Western television, their local beauty standards uprooted and replaced by imported images of glamorized thinness.  This handful of examples and analysis is a cursory explanation, and I hope to explore the concept more deeply in future blog posts, but the idea we’re working with here is that the feminine ideal is the white body, and the white body is thin.

Along the same lines, the ideal feminine body is also crowned with long, light, straight hair.  Coarsely textured hair– hair in its natural state for the majority of black people– is seen as a hallmark of being out of control, inappropriate, not beautiful.  This standard has long been used in the US to marginalize black people for being “too” black, from churches that would only allow membership for people who could pass a fine tooth comb through their hair without it snagging, to hair style standards in the US Army that were only removed after being skewered on The Daily Show.

Am I saying that the creators of Scooby-Doo: Frankencreepy are white supremacists?  Not consciously.  Or maybe they are conscious white supremacists, I’m not really interested in giving them the benefit of the doubt.  In Tom Burns’ essay on Frankencreepy, linked to below, he points out that the movie could very well have removed Daphne’s “good looks” by turning her into a monster.  It’s not like this movie is devoid of the fantastic.  But instead, how the movie portrays her loss of her “good looks” is by removing two physical features that are hallmarks of white beauty standards.  That is how she is cursed.  Admittedly I haven’t seen the movie, but given she’s the heroine in a kid’s movie, I feel safe in assuming that her “good looks” are returned to her by the end of the movie.  Her nightmare is over, she is returned to her full status as pretty white girl.

But what does that say about viewers– likely very young viewers– who have fat bodies and/or natural hair that don’t change at the end of the movie like Daphne’s?  Do they not have access to the comfort of a happy ending?  Are they cursed?

And what kind of malicious force would cast an evil spell at a child?

 

Related articles:

The Good Men Project: Why Is the New Scooby-Doo Trying to Fat Shame Daphne?

Dances with Fat: Scooby Dooby Don’t

RIP Robin Williams (1951-2014)

Next door the tv’s flashing
Blue frames on the wall,
It’s a comedy of errors, you see,
It’s about taking a fall.
To vanish into oblivion
Is easy to do,
And I try to be, but you know me
I come back when you want me to.

–Elliott Smith, “Miss Misery”

Very few people would categorize Robin Williams as a fat actor, but as the blogger is a child of the 90’s, he deserves a brief memorial on CPBS.

Grief isn’t a zero sum game, and I know that people around the world from all generations are mourning today.  But Robin Williams has a special place in the hearts of many early millennials as one of the main actors of our childhood, our first celebrity.  He was one of the first to make that connection in my mind between movies and real people, the idea that a person could make a life out of playing make-believe.

When I was in second grade, my “boyfriend” was a huge fan of Mork and Mindy.  Our romantic life consisted of me giving him a smooch on the cheek, to which he would respond “Nanoo nanoo!”.  I wonder how he’s doing today.

I remember the excitement when Aladdin came out, that Robin Williams was the voice of the Genie, a casting choice that ushered in the era of stars lending their voices to animated features as a norm.  I remember the excitement about seeing Hook in theaters because Robin Williams was playing Peter Pan, also there was some guy named Dustin Hoffman in it who my parents liked.  I didn’t even know that Steven Spielberg directed it until a few months ago, if you were clinging to any delusions about me being any kind of authority on film.  His performance in Mrs. Doubtfire holds similar nostalgia for me, making me reluctant to admit its problematic areas as a grownup feminist.

I started high school and started taking acting lessons and getting interested in Deep Art Films around the time that Good Will Hunting came out, and Robin gained attention for doing a spate of more serious roles.  I didn’t know about his earlier films like Good Morning Vietnam at that point, but it felt like a cultural shift that paralleled my own sudden moodiness and dissatisfaction with the world I had been dropped into.  I never got around to seeing One Hour Photo, but just knowing that the silly, wacky guy from my childhood was now an obsessive weirdo felt appropriate on a cosmic level.  And then I saw Dead Poets Society, which told me that I could find an internal freedom through art, and as the detainee of a Catholic high school, that means everything.  (On a similar note, his grounded and warm performance in The Birdcage was one of the first gay characters I saw who was neither a hollow stereotype nor a sterilized victim.  I tend to have political reservations around straight actors portraying queer/trans characters, but that film was a very welcome respite during a time when I was trying to sort through my own sexual and gender identity while being steeped in cis/heterosexism.) 

In my sophomore religion class, two classmates of mine had written on the chalkboard: “Gather ye rosebuds while ye may/ Old time is still a-flying/ And this same flower that smiles today/ Tomorrow will be dying”.  I wonder how they’re doing today.

I didn’t know about his struggles with mental illness.  It’s scary to be living with a mood disorder and see someone else who is successful and talented and “supposed to” have more reasons to live succumb to their illness.  I felt that shadow cast by my own mind when Elliott Smith died, and I feel it today.  Many other people who live with mood disorders feel that way today; if you are one of them, and you’re struggling, please reach out to friends or family.  It can be difficult to share your pain, but please believe that there are people in this world who want you in it, and listening to you vent or being there while you cry or helping you distract yourself are tasks they do willingly.  If you feel like you may harm yourself and don’t know who to talk to, please consider calling a number from this list of suicide hotlines.  If you want to express concern and support for a loved one who is depressed, advice blogger Captain Awkward has some ideas for how to do so.

In response to news of Robin Williams’ death, film critic Keith Phipps referenced the old joke about the man who goes to a doctor because he’s depressed.  The doctor recommends he take his mind off his worries by going to the circus to see the famous clown Pagliacci.  “But Doctor,” the man replies, “I am Pagliacci.”  It’s so easy to see people in one dimension, to see them as means to an end, to shoehorn them into our expectations.  The comedian who must always be in a joking mood, who exists for our entertainment (and only one specific type, as we express surprise that a funny person would be able to give a competent dramatic performance).  The person who says they’re depressed; I don’t see what there is to be so sad about, they should cheer up.  The fat character whose pathetic antics make the slim protagonist look better by comparison.  The black youth who must be up to no good, whose lives are regulated and terminated by law enforcement “just doing their job”.  This mentality is the slippery slope to alienation and oppression, and it affects all of us sooner or later. I’m not saying that his public persona drove Robin Williams to die by suicide, but I can only imagine that it must have been lonely inside that persona at times.  

Robin Williams was a man of great talent, and gave the world decades of work to appreciate and enjoy.  As we remember him, let’s think of a blue genie and an alien and a Southie psychologist, but above all, let’s think of a human being who struggled and triumphed and failed and carried on and loved and was loved.  

Was deeply loved, even if we didn’t realize how much so until yesterday.

A Selection of Articles Memorializing Robin Williams:

Please share your memories of Robin Williams in the comments.