And now he's not.
I think it's telling that his death has dominated social media while the death of Lauren Bacall, also this week, has received little attention, except in mainstream media outlets like the NYTimes. Perhaps that is because his fans are on the internet, hers aren't so much? Or because his death was a shock and . . . . well, I couldn't have said one way or the other if she were alive.
There has been much discussion of mental health issues, mainly respectful and compassionate (though, perhaps too much ignoring of the guidelines set out to decrease the contagion of suicide after a celebrity's suicide--like focusing on how it happened. Poorly done, NYTimes to run a whole article detailing the report. See article on guidelines here.) I'm glad to see that the dominant mood is sensitive, treating depression and mental illness as diseases and not as failures of will and character. Ditto the discussion of his battle with addiction. Now that it has come to light that he was in the early stages of Parkinson's disease perhaps the Death with Dignity folks should speak up about right to die laws, especially for those with chronic or terminal illnesses. I mean, coincidentally lots of people are taking the ALS ice bucket challenge to promote awareness of the disease--it's funny, but I rather think if people really understand ALS (from which my maternal grandmother died) it would be more helpful to send it the donation, even if it's not the requested $100. And perhaps support those assisted suicide laws.
So, deep thoughts here at the end of summer.