Since he was such a huge part of my childhood, I felt instant sadness when I learned of Robin Williams’s death. But I couldn’t even mourn – that is, the way one mourns a stranger you only know through their art – because I just as quickly witnessed an exercise in stupidity over the issue of suicide. Todd Bridges has since deleted his tweet that suicide is a “selfish” act, but his lack of compassion for someone clearly suffering from pain unfamiliar to him is not lost on me. The same goes for FOX News’ Shepherd Smith, who echoed a similar sentiment on an even larger platform.

While reporting on Williams’s death, Shepherd spoke fondly of Williams’ work, only to soil the moment by adding “yet, something inside you is so horrible or you’re such a coward or whatever the reason that you decide that you have to end it. Robin Williams, at 63, did that today.”

Depression is real. Depression is painful. Depression has proven itself to have damaging consequences for those who long suffer from it. To describe Williams, who admittedly battled demons throughout his life and was suspected of suffering from bipolar disorder, as a coward is as callous as it is unjust.

Smith has since apologized, expressing, “To the core of my being, I regret it. It just came out of my mouth. And I’m so sorry. And to anyone and their families who see that, I am sorry.”



It’s a thoughtful apology for a thoughtless act, but it best serves as a reminder to all to adjusts our personal muzzles accordingly. Yes, tragedy can bring awareness to varying issues, though sometimes it’s best to know when to shut the hell up. Say, when you are not informed about a given issue, or worse, could give a less damn about said issue in question because you’re far too busy exploiting a cause to push your own agenda.

I don’t know what GOP Deputy Chair Chris Fields was thinking when he tweeted that if you liked Williams’s 80s work, you should vote for the candidate who would bring back Reagan’s 80s policies, but I hope many a ghost haunts this self-serving hack for the foreseeable future.

We don’t know what was going on in Robin Williams’s head, but if there’s anyone being cowardly and selfish with respect to his untimely death, it’s not the man who was suffering, but the aforementioned drowning in their own idiocies.

And speaking of idiocy, for the life of me, I do not understand why people go out of their way to target those who take a laissez-faire attitude towards most serious news until it’s completely inescapable, or in other cases, hits too close to home.

Like many, I find myself painfully distraught and ferociously angry about the execution of Michael Brown along with word that yet another unarmed Black man, 24-year-old Ezell Ford, was met with a similar fate as he was shot in the back three times by members of the LAPD. I get pissed about how Ferguson police officers have chosen to treat those protesting an obvious wrong – including pregnant protester Mikiesha Wickerson, who claims that she was thrown to the ground and mace by some of those very police officers. So like so many of you reading now, I have shared those frustrations online.

I’m well aware that there is truly no safe space anymore to vent, but one if there was one thing I could ask of other people, it would be to give each other a break.

What is the point in saying things like “Oh, now you care about Michael Brown, but what about the week before when someone else died?” or “You’ll be back on Beyoncé by next week. Meanwhile, I’ll still be out in the trenches.”

Yo, choke on the cookie you clearly want for being a little more informed about societal ills than others.

If you find that most people are not paying greater attention to the problems of the day, how is being condescending towards them the moment they do decide to pay attention especially helpful? If you’re really about “the cause” and awareness, don’t make stories about you and what you’re doing. Even if you feel that some only “suddenly” have interest in more serious matters, perhaps you might be a little less judgmental in the name of keeping them around.

It takes a very special type of fool to take tragedy and flip it into a rallying cry for some unreleased cause. Likewise, it takes a special brand of jackass to divert attention away from raising awareness for the sake of bolstering one’s self. The type of fool who makes you yell out expletives the second you catch wind of their antics. The sort of jackass who makes you wish you had the powers of Maleficent so that you could probably dispose of them in the name of all that is good and sensible.

I don’t have that power and what a pity that is ‘cause some of your brethren out there, for lack of better phrase, have got to get out the paint.

Michael Arceneaux is the author of the “The Weekly Read,” where tough love is served with just a touch of shade. Tweet him at @youngsinick.



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