I don’t entirely know what to write on the subject and there has been plenty already written about it over the past two days; all I can say is Robin Williams was truly one of the funniest and most talented actors and comedians around, able to put a smile on people’s faces even when he could not manage one himself. His suicide is a sad, sad thing, and while countless other, smarter people can write about his depression, past addictions, and other demons, I would just like to say thank you to the man who played a large role in my childhood with his manically enthusiastic performances in Aladdin, Jumanji, and Flubber, and who taught me the lessons of perseverance, individuality, and sticking up for what is right in one of the most hauntingly beautiful films of all time, Dead Poets Society.
Now, any line from Dead Poets Society is worth quoting, but I will end this very brief post with this monologue (powerfully used in a recent iPad commercial) from one of Mr. Keating’s English classes:
We don’t read and write poetry because it’s cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for. To quote from Whitman, “O me! O life!… of the questions of these recurring; of the endless trains of the faithless… of cities filled with the foolish; what good amid these, O me, O life?” Answer. That you are here – that life exists, and identity; that the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse. That the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse. What will your verse be?
O Captain! My Captain! Rest in peace.