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Mon Aug 11, 2014, 11:16 PM

 

The biggest damned flame

In Judaism, the candle's flame is a metaphor for the soul.

Flames, like souls, come in large and small. Some burn steady and boring, some dance about with a special light. They light our world for a time, then go out.

When I heard that Robin Williams had left us today, my immediate thought was that the biggest damned flame I'd ever seen had gone out.

I first knew of Robin from his stand-up comedy, back in the 1970s. His particular flame was an ammo depot caught fire, a cacophony of great explosions and whooshes turning night into day.

Mork and Mindy next, execrable save for Robin's brilliance, although it had been toned down to a roman candle for general public consumption.

Then Garp, a movie loved by exactly one Earthling (me) followed by a string of movies of varying brilliance. Through masterpiece and dreck, Williams' light always shined bright. His eyes twinkled. He was alive, dammit! Alive!

Comedy and depression, I think, come from the same place, both from an acute meta-awareness of the human condition. Life is funny as hell. Life is wrenching. We don't get the Yin without an equal portion of Yang, it all needs to balance. Williams was as tuned in as anyone to the comedy in this world, he must have been equally tuned in to the tragedy. As do most people blessed and cursed with this ability, he groped around to dull the sharpness, turning to drugs and drink. Today he turned to the off switch. @#$%.

I saw a photo of Robin in the past few weeks, on the Web somewhere, someone saw him on the street and snapped a shot. Before then, I'd never seen a photo of Robin where the flame wasn't burning bright in his eyes, but this time the lights looked pretty dim. I hoped it was just an episode of crappy candid Internet photographs, but apparently it wasn't.

I don't know where this all goes, and I've rambled enough through this quasi-cathartic mess of a post. I will miss Robin, I think many will. It's so sad that he's left, so sad that he felt had to leave this way.

Besides exploding ammo depots, here's the other thing I thought of when I heard of Robin's departure, a beautiful song. It's not really appropriate, but it sorta is. In any case, this is the Internet so I can post any thing I want.

Peace.


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Arrow 32 replies Author Time Post
Reply The biggest damned flame (Original post)
MannyGoldstein Aug 2014 OP
littlemissmartypants Aug 2014 #1
rhett o rick Aug 2014 #2
DonCoquixote Aug 2014 #3
WillyT Aug 2014 #4
Fearless Aug 2014 #5
MannyGoldstein Aug 2014 #16
rickyhall Aug 2014 #25
MannyGoldstein Aug 2014 #32
senseandsensibility Aug 2014 #6
lumpy Aug 2014 #7
bigtree Aug 2014 #8
FrodosPet Aug 2014 #9
RufusTFirefly Aug 2014 #20
MannyGoldstein Aug 2014 #22
RufusTFirefly Aug 2014 #23
tclambert Aug 2014 #26
MannyGoldstein Aug 2014 #30
Warren DeMontague Aug 2014 #10
Uncle Joe Aug 2014 #11
bluesbassman Aug 2014 #12
ChisolmTrailDem Aug 2014 #13
TDale313 Aug 2014 #14
Enthusiast Aug 2014 #15
KoKo Aug 2014 #17
Jefferson23 Aug 2014 #18
Paladin Aug 2014 #19
indepat Aug 2014 #21
Richard D Aug 2014 #24
EEO Aug 2014 #27
SheilaT Aug 2014 #28
Louisiana1976 Aug 2014 #29
navarth Aug 2014 #31

Response to MannyGoldstein (Original post)

Mon Aug 11, 2014, 11:30 PM

1. Well done, Manny.

Your words help heal my heartache.
Peace, Love and Shelter.
Lmsp

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Response to MannyGoldstein (Original post)

Mon Aug 11, 2014, 11:50 PM

2. Thanks

 

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Response to MannyGoldstein (Original post)

Tue Aug 12, 2014, 12:01 AM

3. I salute you

We needed a lot of his light.

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Response to MannyGoldstein (Original post)

Tue Aug 12, 2014, 12:05 AM

4. HUGE K & R !!! - Thank You !!!

 




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Response to MannyGoldstein (Original post)

Tue Aug 12, 2014, 12:07 AM

5. For me it was similar

First it was Carlin several years ago. Now him. Two very big lights gone out in the world. For liberal causes, yes, but just as a good person, even more so.

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Response to Fearless (Reply #5)

Tue Aug 12, 2014, 08:26 AM

16. Also Lou Reed, for me

 

There are certain people who just "get it". Bodhisattvas, perhaps, gaining enlightenment. Their brightness in life makes the darkness of their passing that much more noticeable.

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Response to MannyGoldstein (Reply #16)

Tue Aug 12, 2014, 07:07 PM

25. John Lennon was the first flame to go out for me

I thought my dad had beaten crying out of me till John was murdered.

And my ex drug that out in our custody trial, which I lost, of course.

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Response to rickyhall (Reply #25)

Tue Aug 12, 2014, 10:40 PM

32. I remember that night so clearly

 

So striking.

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Response to MannyGoldstein (Original post)

Tue Aug 12, 2014, 12:08 AM

6. I become almost inarticulate when I am sad.

I'm glad that you and other Duers, such as Will Pitt, don't. I find some outlet for my feelings, which I would probably just keep inside. So thank you.

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Response to MannyGoldstein (Original post)

Tue Aug 12, 2014, 12:22 AM

7. Lovely post, thanks so much. Love McLeans tribute to Van Gogh, the best of the artists.

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Response to MannyGoldstein (Original post)

Tue Aug 12, 2014, 01:35 AM

8. 'Flames, like souls, come in large and small'

. . . very nice.

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Response to MannyGoldstein (Original post)

Tue Aug 12, 2014, 01:47 AM

9. I must make one correction

There was NOT just one Earthling who loved Garp. I absolutely thought it was brilliant.

Alas, the same powers of observation and extrapolation and exaggeration that makes one humorous are also the ones that allow one to see and feel the darkness and isolation and injustice that permeates the world.

May his artistry last for the remainder of humanity's days on this rock.

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Response to FrodosPet (Reply #9)

Tue Aug 12, 2014, 12:59 PM

20. Another Earthling checking in

Already someone who eschewed most television by then, I wasn't influenced by Mork and Mindy when I first saw an advance screening of "The World According to Garp" in Ithaca, NY. I'd heard of Williams but had never seen him. A fan of the book, I still thought the movie and Williams' performance were wonderful. Great comedians are capable of conveying great pathos, perhaps because they don't have to dig all that deep before they reach it.

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Response to RufusTFirefly (Reply #20)

Tue Aug 12, 2014, 05:19 PM

22. Ithaca?

 

Cornell?

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Response to MannyGoldstein (Reply #22)

Tue Aug 12, 2014, 05:26 PM

23. Yes.

I was loosely affiliated with Cornell at the time but not a student.

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Response to FrodosPet (Reply #9)

Tue Aug 12, 2014, 07:34 PM

26. "Honey, the chances of another plane hitting this house are astronomical. It's been pre-disastered."

That's all I remember of the movie.

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Response to tclambert (Reply #26)

Tue Aug 12, 2014, 08:27 PM

30. And the Ellen James Society?

 

That might be a good one to forget!

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Response to MannyGoldstein (Original post)

Tue Aug 12, 2014, 01:48 AM

10. K&R

Well said.

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Response to MannyGoldstein (Original post)

Tue Aug 12, 2014, 01:48 AM

11. Robin was an "exploding ammo depot" and I agree regarding comedy and depression

coming from the same place, no doubt the pathos became too much for Robin to bear.

Peace to you, Manny.

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Response to MannyGoldstein (Original post)

Tue Aug 12, 2014, 02:02 AM

12. We can find the greatest joy in creativity...

But sometimes the ash that's left from passion that burns hot enough to make that creativity brilliant is enough to smother us.

I'm grateful for the legacy of joy left by Robin for all of us to enjoy, but deeply saddened that his passion consumed him.

RIP Robin Williams.

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Response to MannyGoldstein (Original post)

Tue Aug 12, 2014, 02:07 AM

13. K & R, Manny. Some of your best writing right here. Thank you. nt

 

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Response to MannyGoldstein (Original post)

Tue Aug 12, 2014, 03:32 AM

14. K&R

Thank you, Manny. Beautiful post.

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Response to MannyGoldstein (Original post)

Tue Aug 12, 2014, 05:22 AM

15. Well done, Manny!

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Response to MannyGoldstein (Original post)

Tue Aug 12, 2014, 09:09 AM

17. Wonderful Post....Thanks...

for Robin...

These are such frustrating/harsh times .... One's hopes for the future, generational beliefs and foundations are being sorely challenged these days. Given Robin's background, political alignment and body of work...it had to be tough to deal with the news events these days.

He left us lots of good memories...

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Response to MannyGoldstein (Original post)

Tue Aug 12, 2014, 09:17 AM

18. I feel one aspect of his genius/artist/comic was due to his honesty..brilliantly framed words

and always honest. Forever missed.

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Response to MannyGoldstein (Original post)

Tue Aug 12, 2014, 09:21 AM

19. Well put. (nt)

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Response to MannyGoldstein (Original post)

Tue Aug 12, 2014, 01:24 PM

21. Profound, Manny. Kudos.

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Response to MannyGoldstein (Original post)

Tue Aug 12, 2014, 06:22 PM

24. A beautiful tribute

Thank you.

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Response to MannyGoldstein (Original post)

Tue Aug 12, 2014, 08:07 PM

28. One of the loveliest songs ever.

 

It is fitting as a remembrance of Robin Williams.

Usually I am not particularly moved by the death of someone famous whom I've never met, but for some reason I am feeling especially sad over this loss.

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Response to MannyGoldstein (Original post)

Tue Aug 12, 2014, 08:16 PM

29. Beautiful post. Bravo.

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Response to MannyGoldstein (Original post)

Tue Aug 12, 2014, 10:34 PM

31. Mr. Goldstein, this is one of your best posts ever.

And you have had some really great ones.

I think we'll all miss Robin forever.

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