This is a grievous thing to say aloud, much less think, but I wish that the suicide of Robin Williams made less sense to me than it somehow does. I say that with very little real knowledge of the man, his inner being, or the whole of his life. I encountered him only once, twenty years ago, but the memory is distinct. I found Mr. Williams good-hearted, hilarious, talented, and remarkably, indescribably sad.
This essay appears in the July 21, 2014 issue of Sports Illustrated. It appears on this site with the gracious permission of the magazine’s editors.
To the beaten dog, every sudden movement is another impending brutality in a lifetime of such. Eventually, even the most modest and trivial move in the mutt’s direction induces a simpering cower.
Make no mistake, Vladimir Putin is a thug, a neo-Tsarist xenophobe and complicit in the chain of events that led to Ukranian separatist rebels mistakenly downing a civilian airliner. He should reflect on his performance and its result, and he should begin to make what amends he can offer. Nothing that follows mitigates against any of the above.
“….As of 1993, the United States had not apologized to Iran. In 1996, the United States and Iran reached “an agreement in full and final settlement of all disputes, differences, claims, counterclaims” relating to the incident at the International Court of Justice, including a recognition of the incident in the form of “…the United States recognized the aerial incident of 3 July 1988 as a terrible human tragedy and expressed deep regret over the Loss of lives caused by the incident…” As part of the settlement, the United States did not admit legal liability but agreed to pay on an “ex gratia” basis US$61.8 million, amounting to $213,103.45 per passenger, in compensation to the families of the Iranian victims…”
There is something about human beings compacted in a cylindrical tube, hurtling between cities at a high speed, unable to maneuver in any other manner than to, say, grab a beer from the cafe car or visit the rest room. It is lost time. And when you’ve made all your cell calls, and answered the last of your email, and you are still only in Wilmington and another forty minutes from home, the last distractions are the people sitting around you.
UPDATE: 12 p.m., July 4
I am informed that the Huff Post piece has now removed the reference to my having been fired. Instead, apparently, my revenge was had upon editors who spiked one of my articles because my writing wasn’t “Dickensian” enough. They never said anything of the sort to me or anyone else, and that is not actually the reason that particular article was spiked. I carefully related the actual sequence of events to Dr. Williams in my April memo as a discussion of that particular article and its fate features throughout her manuscript, but no matter. With regard to the Huff Post essay at least, I am libeled no more and I thank the author for her apology at the bottom of the essay.