I was flipping through channels on my little tv that had a built-in vhs player. This was in college, so I was stoned, missing class for no real reason other than that I could. I picture it as a grey day outside, and it was certainly dark in my little bedroom with the blinds shut. A familiar face came on the television. I had seen him in dozens of movies and had enjoyed his kinetic live appearances on tv, but at that moment my opinion of Robin Williams changed entirely. Here was a man, though always strange and hyperactive in interviews, totally appearing to wig out on stage in some kind of drug-fueled frenzy slash meltdown, which was actually just a brilliant piece of performance art coming from a brilliant performance artist.
All great art must necessarily come from a place of chaos and uncertainty. An artist with a foot planted firmly on a ground of safety and comfort is an artist whose work does little more than mirror the vanilla banality of its creator’s vision. Great art can move us to make our own absurd sense of the chaos of existence. It can help us to understand that we really don’t need to understand. It can lift us above our daily struggles by giving us a rare glimpse in to someone else’s struggles.
Robin Williams, like countless great artists before him, finally succumbed to the chaos of existence in his Tiburon home today in Marin County, California. Only he can know the specific flavor of destruction that did him in, but I’m sure it must have been some pretty wicked shit.