Aung San Suu Kyi greeting supporters from Bago State on 14 August 2011. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
A person named Will Arnett was taping the Conan O’Brien show yesterday when they found out about Robin Williams’ untimely demise.
Arnett said this: “As funny as he was — he’s truly one of the all-time greats — he was even better as a person.”
That’s a reliable formulation: As great as he was as a [thing the person was known to be great at], he was even better as a person.
Of course because the person was known to be an outlier at the one thing, he (or she) was almost certainly NOT even better as a person.
How great was Robin Williams as a comedian? Top 10? I don’t know, that’s pretty competitive . . . I’m thinking of Groucho, Cosby, Charlie Chaplin, Steve Martin, George Carlin, Richard Pryor, Leno, Letterman . . .
But I’d say Top 20, definitely. So according to Will Arnett, Robin Williams was one of the 20 best people of all time!?
Was he a better person than Buddha? The Dalai Lama? Jesus? Mother Teresa? Abraham Lincoln? Gandhi? Socrates? Albert Schweitzer? Raoul Wallenberg? Nelson Mandela? Aung San Suu Kyi? Mr. Rogers? Your sweet, elderly grandma? Billions of other people doing their best to get along in the world?
I get that you might find yourself on the spot to say something nice about a person and you can’t think of anything to say but this “even better as a person” bullshit cannot be eradicated too soon in my opinion.