Following the filth published by Rollins last week (my initial commentary; my emails to Rollins about this), Rollins has issued a statement on his blog, ‘An Apology‘, & a second article on the LA Weekly website, ‘More Thoughts on Suicide‘.
The 1st is a fairly straight-forward, if a little turgid, apology. It is not enough; at no point does Rollins say the words “I was wrong” or any equivalent. He doesn’t really come close.
The 2nd article is a flagrantly narcissistic article, in which Rollins repeats an almost saccharin (& clearly false) sense of admiration of his fans, akin to grovelling at their feet, whilst simultanaeously regurgitating an endless stream of platitudes. An example: ‘I promise that I will dig in and educate myself on this and do my best to evolve.’ The sentence means nothing to us. Rollins has failed to recognise that the reason that people criticised what he said was not because of who he is, but because of what he said. I, frankly, couldn’t give a shit what you do now Henry.
Again, there is no retraction of the initial article to be found in Rollins’ articles. He has avoided the point. What both of these posts make rather clear is that Rollins is doing this out of economic interest – ie, if he does not, then his blog will lose hits. Whether or not this is so isn’t really the point. In any instance, we are still owed a retraction.
As for Rollins’ new understanding of suicide? Well… Primarily it appears to be essentially pieced together from various excerpts of emails Rollins has received, musings upon his own writing on depression & a rather crass metaphor involving a see-saw & a man that has presumabley eaten a bag of rocks.It is not specific. It does not highlight that depression is a unique experience, the material conditions (social & economic life) of many that commit suicide in concrete reality, the inadequacy &, frankly, barbaric manner in which treatment is provided. In other words, it is ill-conceived & abstract, therefore stating nothing. Nowhere is Rollins’ former “clarity”, the kind which can be found in his initial ‘Fuck Suicide’ article: ‘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.’
In other words, it’s quite a U-turn, with very little substance.
It is at this point I say, with a smile, that we will never be discussing Henry Rollins again here. I swear. The man does that enough himself. Infinitely more important within this whole episode is that Rollins received a considerable amount of correspondence, enough to make him doubt (although not reject) his own ego. The contents of those emails & the people that wrote them are infinitely more interesting than whatever the stimulus which created them may have to say.