Monday, August 11, 2014

And flights of angels...

“You're only given a little spark of madness. You mustn't lose it.”

We don’t read and write poetry because it’s cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for. To quote from Whitman, “O me! O life!… of the questions of these recurring; of the endless trains of the faithless… of cities filled with the foolish; what good amid these, O me, O life?” Answer: that you are here; that life exists, and identity; that the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse; that the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse. What will your verse be?
The millenials at Salon are remembering Williams the movie star. I remember him on Dick Cavett's show in 1979.


  1. Williams was one of the few truly 'bigger than life' performers of my time (so far), and from way out on the outside it seems that, like most of the others, his outsized talent worked for and against him as a person. it reminds me of something John Updike wrote about the nature of Scott Fitzgerald's best writing, that it was "a current from beyond" that could only run so long

  2. Exhausting to rarely be able to let go, funny or not, shocking or in peace our beloved Episcopalian friend.

  3. His early stuff was brilliant. the kind of thing that must have taken so much energy you couldn't possibly keep it up as you aged.

    I wasn't fond of his acting except his Popeye was great. I especially didn't care for his dramatic acting but his improvisational comedy was some of the best ever done by anyone. It's so sad that he was moved to kill himself.

  4. I hate to armchair psychoanalyze, but I (almost) will.

    Williams and Jonathan Winters so clearly did their comedy out of a very dark place (I think Winters suffered from depression, too; or at least crippling bouts of self-doubt), that it reminds me (so I can escape any attempt at psychology) of what Kazantzakis has Francis say in his novel about the saint: you have to do down as far as you can in order to gain the momentum needed to reach up to heaven.

    I think there is a wisdom in that, in the Romantic idea of opposites, contraries, being necessary for each other. Williams and Winters were so brilliantly funny because they were so personal tragic.

    Kierkegaard gave an example, describing the poet as a man locked in a bronze statue of a cow (he made the classical allusion to the original) being heated over a fire (a torture device, IOW); but the mouth of the cow was shaped to make the screams sound like music. So, said Kierkegaard, the people hear the screams of the poet but to them it is music, and they ask for more, ignoring the source of what brings them pleasure.

  5. Williams and Jonathan Winters so clearly did their comedy out of a very dark place

    How odd that they both were in Mork & Mindy together at the end.

    Comedy is dark. But as I hear tell, Aristotle never wrote about it. Something about monkeys. Which is why Darwin is so fucking funny.