As Henry Rollins has proven many times in the past, he has a lot of opinions on pretty much any hot topic you can throw at him. He certainly isn’t afraid to express himself with little to no concern for being politically correct, and it’s safe to say that he doesn’t give a hot crap about what anyone has to say in response. So it shouldn’t surprise anyone that he delivered his own scorching hot take on Robin Williams’s suicide on today’s L.A. Weekly Blog in the very-bluntly titled piece: “F*ck Suicide.” It’s one of the most confusing and pointless things you’ll read today.
While Rollins admits that he has witnessed firsthand the power of depression and what it can do to people, even driving two of his friends to taking their own lives, he doesn’t have any compassion, respect or recognition for people like Robin Williams who commit suicide. For starters, he writes, “I simply cannot understand how any parent could kill themselves,” because he thinks it’s unfair to a person’s children to leave them traumatized by one’s own personal decision.
How in the hell could you possibly do that to your children? I don’t care how well adjusted your kid might be — choosing to kill yourself, rather than to be there for that child, is every shade of awful, traumatic and confusing. I think as soon as you have children, you waive your right to take your own life. No matter what mistakes you make in life, it should be your utmost goal not to traumatize your kids. So, you don’t kill yourself. (Via LA Weekly)
Depression, Rollins admits, is a very personal thing for someone to deal with, and anyone who pretends to understand what someone is going through is “bullshit and disrespectful.” Yet Rollins offers his own idea of how the human brain works in regard to depression and ultimately decides that if someone chooses suicide as the solution, that person never existed. Well, kind of.
When someone negates their existence, they cancel themselves out in my mind. I have many records, books and films featuring people who have taken their own lives, and I regard them all with a bit of distain. 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.
I no longer take this person seriously. I may be able to appreciate what he or she did artistically but it’s impossible to feel bad for them. Their life wasn’t cut short — it was purposely abandoned. It’s hard to feel bad when the person did what they wanted to. It sucks they are gone, of course, but it’s the decision they made. I have to respect it and move on.
Ultimately, Rollins reiterates and stands behind his point that it’s wrong for a parent to kill himself, but to go from “you can’t understand anyone else’s torment” to “Life isn’t anything but what you make it” and “you gotta hang in there” is a lot like starting a race and taking a cab to the finish line. He opened by railing against a site like the Huffington Post for dressing content up as news and culture, but several hundred words later, I still don’t know what the point was other than to use Williams’s suicide as a reason to tell depressed people to rub some dirt on it and walk it off. Hell, a better title than “F*ck suicide” would have been “I get it, but then again, maybe I don’t.” That’s the only part that makes sense.
Reaction to Rollins’s rant, like any, is bound to be mixed, but Judd Apatow was quick to make his feelings known, and Tom Arnold wasn’t far behind.
Maybe next time, when Rollins is analyzing others whose lives might be “slipping out of control,” he’ll at least offer a solution from his own life, like he did when Kurt Cobain killed himself.