Goodbye, Mr. Williams

 

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You know a person has touched people deeply and often – by using the gifts they were born with – when the mediasphere suddenly stops and almost universally covers that person’s death… regardless of how tragically meaningless said death was.

Even the White House made a statement in regards to Robin William’s death.

When Kim Kardashian or Paris Hilton eventually O.D. from whatever party drugs are in vogue at the moment, sure the media will blurb about it over the course of the day, but people will collectively shrug while TMZ treats is like a national emergency.

I’m sad that such a vibrant and often brilliant man had come to a point in his life where he thought there was no other escape but through the veil to whatever exists after this mortal coil – but in some ways, I don’t think there could have been any other outcome to Robin’s life: when a person has such a manic and larger-than-life energy, you could hardly imagine the depths of the inevitable lows when all the laughter ran out.

In our daily lives, there are certain universal constants that we all assume will be there the next morning after we go to sleep – and the presumption that Robin Williams would always be there with a movie (regardless of how shitty or uninspired the plot might be) or TV show or stand-up comedy special was something most of us were guilty of.

In some ways, Mr. Williams was the toy that we forgot we had: the one that slowly creeps to the back of the bedroom closet until, one day, your parents come along and toss it in the trash because they never see you play with it  – and the very next day, you remember you had that toy and go to play with it… only to feel the guilt and sorrow that comes from the realization of all the fun possibilities that you’ll never get to make good on.

Robin had surely felt the lack of love on our part since we had lost interest in the trademark zaniness that had been pasteurized and shaped into a formula by studio focus group testing – which is both our own fault for not embracing edgier material, as well as not holding studios to a higher standard with our hard-earned dollars.

As with all suicides, both of the celebrity kind and that of regular everyday people whom you know personally, we don’t realize how much someone means to us until they’ve gone – leaving us all to gaze inwards at ourselves and wonder why we didn’t do more to make that person understand that they had people who loved them dearly.

The prevailing wisdom on the topic of suicide is that it’s “a permanent solution to a temporary problem”, but those who are in the dank pit of depression completely lack the perspective to make that kind of differentiation – which means that all of us have a moral obligation to make sure that we help them find the path back out into the light… and it’s something that we’re woefully inept at since most of us are all too caught up in our own little lives to be bothered with helping a fellow soul out in their time of need.

If Mr. Williams had been able to witness the outpouring of love and admiration that came after his death today (well, yesterday since it’s now after midnight as I write this), I’m absolutely certain that he would have been able to get through the darkness that was consuming his troubled soul.

While unnatural celebrity deaths are one of the unavoidable truths of Hollywood, they fall into a few different categories.

The first is accidental: where a celebrity meets their end due to forces mostly beyond their control – like when Paul Walker met his end in a car wreck… and while these events are sad, they fall in line with the rules of the universe.

The second is accidental drug overdose: where the party-hard lifestyle of Hollywood’s A-list crowd collides with the vicious downside of the illicit drug trade – but that downside is always a possibility since there are no strict quality standards for illegal substances, nor are you always going to be able to use appropriate judgement of how much drugs you can safely take while you’re under the influence of drugs… which is a lesson we learn from the death of someone like Phillip Seymour Hoffman.

And then we have the third, the celebrity suicide: the last, pathetic cries of a usually washed-up actor or actress who has pissed away their fortune and alienated the Hollywood establishment by either generally making an ass of themselves in public forums or signing on to any piece of drivel that comes along in order to make some quick cash so they can fuel their own self-destructive tendencies with shit tons of alcohol or street drugs.

Having reached rock bottom, these former celebrities stick a shotgun in their mouths at a seedy motel and pull the trigger, which generates a few headlines due to our collective morbid curiosity about such things.

But I don’t think Robin Williams was anywhere near has-been status, nor could he have been conceivably poor since he surely still makes plenty of coin through royalties on past hits – as well as having been recently the star of a network television series, regardless of how well it was or wasn’t  received by critics and audiences alike.

In many of today’s articles written after his death, it was revealed that Robin had been fighting substance addiction… which I suppose would be almost unavoidable given his manic personality, but it also underlines one of the facts that we at home overlook: actors, actresses, music artists, and sports celebrities are still human beings – and if any of us mere mortals were to endure the kinds of pressure these people do in their highly performance-oriented lives, many of us would crumple under the weight of endless demands.

I say that last part not to excuse the alcoholism or pill dependency that many celebrities develop, but to simply understand that each and every human being needs some downtime where they are free from worry or stress.

In the end, I truly feel for Mr. Williams’ family who have been left with both a gaping hole where their loved one used to be and a three-ring media circus that will spend the foreseeable future scrutinizing Robin’s life in the months leading up to his suicide in the supposed search for answers, but mostly just to sensationalize the final few sad and lonely moments of an apparently broken man.

 

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An Open Letter To Kristen Stewart

Stormcastle

Peterborough, Ontario

Canada

Ms. Kristen Stewart

Hollywood, California

U.S.A.

Dear Ms. Stewart:

I was saddened today to hear about your feeling like you were being raped by your fans and the media while you’re out and about in public.

How terrible it must feel to put up with photographers,  media journalists, and fans wanting to have your attention after the public was nice enough to line your pockets with millions of dollars for simply being yourself on movie and TV screens around the globe – well, maybe not EXACTLY like yourself since movie directors tend to make you express your default angst and lip biting on command instead of when you’re being naturally emo.

My heart goes out to you for having to deal with a public that has made you from a nobody bit player in the background of better actors’ scenes to a worldwide anti-crush for tween girls and cougar moms who would gladly kill you to share the limelight with Robert Pattison.

$26,000,000 (twenty-six million dollars in case you have problems with numbers) from the Twilight saga movie tickets – not including box office percentage points in your contract – does not in any way entitle society to be curious about you – to know what kind of person you are!

I find it incredibly ignorant and unimaginable that the general public doesn’t simply forget that you exist once the end credits roll.

I mean, seriously now… you’re not in this business for the money and fame.

In fact, I’m fairly certain that you’re being held captive in Los Angeles somewhere… being forced to go in front of the cameras time and time again – when you would really prefer to be working at a Taco Bell restaurant in Seattle.

The key to determining your slave status is that you simply refuse to act – which is a very clever tactic from someone who is serving her slave masters under what is surely the threat of being shot – in any movie these cruel and heartless movie pimps set you up in.

It’s easy to tell that this is your strategy when you compare your output in films like Twilight and Adventureland with footage of you in real life – there is absolutely no discernible difference!

Ms. Stewart, I really implore you to work harder at getting out the message to people that you want out of the Hollywood business.

Maybe you could learn Morse code and then blink your eyes in an S.O.S. pattern while on camera as Kristen Stewart Bella?

Someone out there in a movie theater will surely catch on and come to your rescue – escorting you to that job mopping floors at Taco Bell and allowing you to stew in your own angst privately.

But until then, the movie watching public will suffer – as you surely do – through the movies your agent/pimp makes you work in.

Yours sincerely,

Stormcastle

p.s. Could you please send me your millions of dollars since you don’t want them? I feel terrible that you’d be constantly antagonized by the fruits of your slave labor.

Music Blog: Love Of The Loveless

Don’t got a lot of time
Don’t give a damn
Don’t tell me what to do
I am the man

If there’s a god up there
Something above
God shine your light down here
Shine on the love
Love of the loveless

Don’t have too many friends
Never felt at home
Always been my own man
Pretty much alone

I know how to get through
And when push comes to shove
I got something that you need
I got the love
Love of the loveless

All around you people walking
Empty hearts and voices talking
Looking for and finding…
Nothing

Don’t got a lot of time
Don’t really care
Not selling anything
Buyer beware

If there’s a god up there
Something above
God shine your light down here
Shine on the love
Love of the loveless

Don’t got a lot of time
Don’t give a damn
Don’t tell me what to do
I am the man
Love of the loveless

Movie Blog: New IRON MAN 2 Trailer!

Rather than discuss the overly predictable (and quite disappointing) Oscars from last night, I have decided that I will instead bring you awesomeness.

P.S. Come on, be honest: did HURT LOCKER really deserve the main Oscars in light of how far off the rails the movie went in the last 20 minutes?

A Faint Pulse…

Unfortunately for all of us, we have to wait a bit longer to heave Steve.

In what can only be termed as a Hail Mary Pass, the Conservatives quickly floated a contingency bill that gave the opposition parties a taste of what they had been begging for since big business started firing everyone who wasn’t an executive – an extension to the employment insurance benefits.

Let’s be completely honest here: I labeled it a ‘contingency bill’ because the bill served zero purpose in the Conservatives over-all political goals other than to keep them afloat for a little bit longer – allowing them to attempt finalizing a slew of legislation that will further screw the average Canadian citizen in whichever way they can dream up.

The Conservatives are big on the ‘scorched earth’ style of politics when their back is against the wall – rapid fire legislation and appointments being a key example.

Last time there was a fear of their life-support plug being pulled, what did they do? A flurry of Senate appointments,  sending long-time Conservative friendly people to live in the Canadian Senate for the rest of their natural lives – despite Harper spending years decrying the process and demanding it be changed so that Senators are elected instead of rewarded for toeing the ruling party’s line.

Yeah, that sounds EXACTLY like the people we need in Ottawa.

I really wish WordPress had a sarcastic font – but I digress…

Most of the Conservative’s forthcoming agenda has to do with making large corporations feel better – and to a degree, this is something that DOES need to be done in this post recession climate (yes…. you can come out  now: the recession is over for the most part).

But if you look harder, there are a few items that are not related to the recession at all – items that are designed to give breaks and advantages to businesses that make billions of dollars in Canada that have nothing at all to do with calming the accountants of said business in this time of an economy sorting itself out.

Some of these legislative efforts are at the behest of billionaire C.E.O.s who felt they simply weren’t making enough money BEFORE the recession – which is precisely what the Conservatives do best: bend over backwards to make the top 1% of the population (with more money than the bottom 99% put together) happier than they have any godly right to.

Would you like an example?

The current ‘consultation’ with the public over copyright reform is a smokescreen to hide Stephen Harper’s directive that the Heritage Minister, Industry Minister, and the Attorney General are all on the same page about Canada signing onto ACTA.

What is ACTA?

That is a very good question, and you really should write to your local member of parliament to ask what exactly ACTA is and why Canada is a signatory country without doing any public consultation or disclosure.

The ACTA treatise is one of the most classified documents in the business world and has to do with copyright issues – specifically regarding copyrights held by Hollywood studios in the fields of music, movies, and other intellectual properties.

The problem with ACTA is that the text of the document is forever changing – like the sands of your local beach – and is not open to public scrutiny.

One version of ACTA was leaked onto the internet a while ago – but I’ve found out that the document has changed since then, so even with the leaked information, we as consumers are in the dark.

I’m going to borrow some text from Inquisitr.com since they’ve summarized the findings better than I could:

The core of the document details how each party should deal with intellectual property matters, including costs, complaint process and legal standards. Where it goes further is with the introduction of set rate penalties based on types of infringement, and further makes no clear distinction (that I could see) between a commercial piracy outfit, and a kid at home downloading a movie on BitTorrent.

While international co-operation on issues such as these isn’t out of the ordinary, it’s the secrecy around the document that has caused alarm so far; and it turns out that it was justified. The net effect of this treaty is to overrule local laws and to increase the severity of intellectual property/ copyright laws in signatory nations. Maybe not police stat level, but in places like Australia and parts of the EU which don’t have as strict an interpretation of copyright (for example, you can legally rip a DVD in Australia), this document could force local laws to be changed. – Duncan Riley, Inquisitr.com

What should alarm you is that, in effect, Canada’s laws regarding copyright issues will cease to be made by Canadians – and made by an international consortium that includes lawyers from the largest Hollywood studios.

Why should this alarm you?

Why the hell SHOULDN’T this alarm you?!?!

Remember my past blog about copyright issues? If you haven’t read it, please look it up in the topics menu at the top right of your screen.

For all intents and purposes, Hollywood will be making the laws by which you would be prosecuted if you were caught with an MP3 on your computer you didn’t pay someone for the right of having.

If you’re a lawyer or have a head for reading nauseating legalese, you can access a PDF file containing one version of the ACTA document by clicking here.

Yet, this is just ONE of the many legislative efforts that the Conservatives are trying to finalize as quick as their legal teams can type.

There are others that would remove trade barriers that try to keep American and Canadian businesses on an equal footing in Canada.

Some of the proposed legislative items floating around Stephen Harper’s desk involve creating a two-tier health system in Canada in such confusing language that it would seem like quite the opposite – and who do you think a two-tier system would benefit the most?

Yeah… that wealthiest 1% of the population.

Well, okay… to be fair, it will probably benefit the top 30% of money makers in this country.

It will absolutely never benefit little Jacob who has pediatric cancer and two parents that work – one in retail and one in construction.

Have I ever mentioned before that the Conservatives hate the poor, the destitute, and the infirm?

Maybe I have.

Stephen Harper makes me long for the days of Brian Mulroney – who despite his government’s flaws – honestly thought what they were doing would benefit the average Canadian citizen i.e. the people who elected them to office.

Speaking of which, Mr. Mulroney had a party the other night celebrating the anniversary of his 1984 electoral victory – the absolute pinnacle of the federal Conservative movement to this very day – and there were a few amusing tidbits of information that came out of the party.

Stephen Harper did not attend – nor do I think was he invited (but I could be wrong, however remote that could be)… and he was never mentioned by name by Brian Mulroney in that sexy baritone of his.

Mulroney DID however take a swipe at Harper – at least according to people who had attended the gala – by asking if all the attending party-goers had their Conservative Party of Canada membership cards on them… for which Stephen Harper says Brian Mulroney doesn’t have any more.

I’m not privy to whether or not our former Conservative prime minister is an actual card carrying member of the Conservatives in this day and age – or whether or not he has any interest in being one – but I do savor the attempt by Mulroney to show the older statesmen in attendance that Harper and his gang of corporate lackeys (that are all under 50 years old on average) have lost touch with what government used to be about in Canada.

What it used to be before the Conservatives sold their soul to big corporations – sold one paltry $250 dinner plate at a time during speaking engagement by prominent parliamentary contenders and winners.

When it was about ideals that the Progressive Conservatives legitimately thought more than 50% of the population believed in.

Unfortunately, that was a very long time ago.

No, this blogger has never voted Conservative… and never will as long as he’s in control of the hands that are checking off the little boxes on the electoral ballots.

However, I can look back and realize the monumental gap in beliefs between the heyday of Mulroney and the government that we have in Ottawa at the moment that I’m writing this blog.

Which is one of the many reasons we so desperately need to heave Steve.

Now, if only the NDP and the Bloc Quebecois (and the Liberals to a much lesser extent) would stop accepting a reach-around from him…