I really did not want to comment on this. However, I am now enraged. Hurt, even.
Since Robin Williams killed himself this year, I’ve noticed a dramatic increase in anti-suicide propaganda. Whilst I agree that all efforts should been taken to help people with suicidal urges, punitive pretentions toward this are disgusting. In the main, this kind of approach to Williams’ death has been taken up by reactionary arseholes – journalists, artists & critics with such little moral or political credibility that they don’t even deserve a mention. Then, Henry Rollins published this.
I am not going to argue with him; Rollins expresses himself quite well & anyone with a shred of humanity (& I mean a shred) should be able to see that what he has written is heinous. It is made more heinous by Rollins’ pretention. The man who wrote Black Coffee Blues, a book which records – with apparent sincerity – the dialogue of suicidally depressed people, denounces those who actually commit suicide as non-human entities: ‘When someone commits this act, he or she is out of my analog world. I know they existed, yet they have nullified their existence because they willfully removed themselves from life. They were real but now they are not.’ Let’s be clear, this is not simply Rollins directing his disgusting ableist shit at Robin Williams’ privelged life-style in particular. He despises any1 that commits suicide: ‘Almost 40,000 people a year kill themselves in America, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In my opinion, that is 40,000 people who blew it.’
Perhaps the worst thing about Rollins attack is that he gives it legitamacy. He goes to great lengths to describe his intricate knowledge of depression, to describe his personal exprience of knowing some1 that committed suicide. I refuse to quote these “moving” paragraphs of Rollins’ article. From here on in, I am boycotting him.
Suicide is not a conscious choice, it is an impulse. Suicide is not “unnatural”. It is not a “surrender”. Suicide is the logical end result of our society’s attitude toward disability & depression. In previous posts, I have described my own experience of depression: ‘I experience depression as a dislocation from choice: the forcible & violent dislocation of agency from the self, by emotion.’ I stand by this & – whilst I think that depression is a unique phenomenon, experienced differently by all those that experience it – I cannot think of a single person I know that suffers from depression who would disagree. To denounce suicide, to claim that it is a choice, is ableist.
Fuck Henry Rollins. Fuck anybody that thinks this shit is acceptable in the slightest.