Pain means nothing to a man, as Hemingway used to say. Before he shot himself . . .
Notes from the Golden Orange
EppsNet Archive: Suicide
Vincent van Gogh was born on this date in 1853. He was poor and virtually unknown throughout his life and after years of anxiety and frequent bouts of mental illness, he died at the age of 37 from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
According to his brother, his last words were “The sadness will last forever.” Although he would have said it in Dutch.
You can’t say enough great things about this guy. He’s one of the most renowned painters in the history of the world, one of the most recognizable painters, his work is in all the best art museums. If you want to own a van Gogh, get ready to pay $100 million. That’s for one painting.
His life at the time he was living it must have looked quite pointless to everyone including himself, nothing but suffering and failure. And yet, as it turns out, his life has meant a million times more to the world than anyone could have possibly imagined. So you never know.
The van Gogh self-portrait above is at the Art Institute of Chicago. As it happens, I’ve visited the Art Institute of Chicago . . . one of the things I remember about it is seeing a museum guide with a tour group and the painting they were standing in front of was this:
I couldn’t hear what the guide was saying but usually with works like this it’s some nonsense about challenging contemporary perceptions about art and the process of creation.
There’s some crazy stuff in art museums. Here’s another painting by the same person:
In case you’re thinking “Very funny, that’s the same picture,” it’s not. If you look at them very closely, you can see that they’re not the same. I don’t attribute that to any artistic merit or even intention on the part of the painter, just that if you take two canvases and paint them gray, they’re bound to be less than identical in some way.
The man who painted those gray squares will never go insane or cut off his own ear or shoot himself. Why? Because he couldn’t care less. He takes identical canvases and paints them gray. That’s what he does.
If van Gogh saw some of the stuff that’s hanging in art museums today, he wouldn’t be able to stop throwing up.
Happy Birthday, Vincent!
Regarding Brittany Maynard:
Suicide is not a good thing. It is a bad thing because it is saying no to life and to everything it means with respect to our mission in the world and toward those around us.
Huh? If you said the Monsignor, you are correct . . .
Brain cancer patients are worse than vegetarians — meddling busybodies telling everyone else how to live their lives.
Ever since Brittany Maynard announced her intention to end her own life, brain cancer patients have been coming out of the woodwork to tell her that she has no right to do that (see here, here, here and here).
Some people don’t want to die the kind of lingering death that exhausts the emotional and financial resources of their loved ones. In fact, I think most people don’t, but I think most people with a terminal illness imagine themselves dying a kind of radiant death like people with terminal illnesses in movies. By the time reality sets in, the dying person is past knowing or caring.
Hi everybody! It’s me, Lightning!
I’m seeing a person named Robin Williams on TV a lot. He always seems excited and happy, like a puppy! It’s scaring people that he ended his own life.
Dogs never end their own life, no matter what. You might think we couldn’t do that but we could run in front of a car or jump off a balcony, just to name a couple of things.
I wonder if Robin Williams had a dog . . .
My owner and I are getting old together. We can’t run like we used to, or see very well or hear very well. He’s sad about it sometimes but I think it helps people to see dogs trying our best in every situation. Everything is temporary.
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.
Robin Williams dies at 63 in apparent suicide — LA Times
Past a certain point in life, there’s not a great deal to look forward to. I imagine it’s more difficult if the process includes transitioning from fame to anonymity.
Maybe he should have taken up golf . . .
The site of Kinkaku-ji was originally a villa called Kitayama-dai, belonging to a powerful statesman, Saionji Kintsune. Kinkaku-ji’s history dates to 1397, when the villa was purchased from the Saionji family by Shogun Ashikaga Yoshimitsu, and transformed into the Kinkaku-ji complex. When Yoshimitsu died, the building was converted into a Zen temple by his son, according to his wishes.
During the Onin war, all of the buildings in the complex aside from the pavilion were burned down. On July 2, 1950, at 2:30 am, the pavilion was burned down by a 22-year-old novice monk, Hayashi Yoken, who then attempted suicide on the Daimon-ji hill behind the building. He survived, and was subsequently taken into custody. The monk was sentenced to seven years in prison, but was released because of mental illnesses (persecution complex and schizophrenia) on September 29, 1955; he died of tuberculosis shortly after in 1956.
The present pavilion structure dates from 1955, when it was rebuilt.
Nishijin Textile Center
Nishijin weaving was created in Kyoto over 1200 years ago by using many different types of colored yarns and weaving them together into decorative designs. These specialized procedures are tedious, but necessary to obtain the spectacular design needed to ensure the quality of Nishijin weaving.
What the blurb above means is that images and patterns are not dyed after the fabric has been produced, the yarn is dyed before weaving, which yields the finest quality but is much harder to create.
We participated in a traditional Japanese tea ceremony, involving the preparation and presentation of matcha, a powdered green tea.
Fun fact: You don’t enter the tea room through that big opening in the front. You sort of crawl in through a small door on the right-hand side, which you can’t see in the photo. There’s a traditional reason for this, something to do with samurai not bringing swords to the tea ceremony (they won’t fit through the little door), but in modern times, it seems a bit of an unnecessary ordeal.
We took the Shinkansen (bullet train) from Kyoto to Atami. These trains run on time. If the board says the train leaves at 3:12, it leaves at 3:12. Don’t show up at 3:13 and wonder where your train went.
In Atami, we enjoyed a traditional Japanese dinner, so traditional that our guide was unsure of what a couple of the items were. Atami is on the eastern coast and has a spectacular fireworks display that they shoot off over the bay.
[See You in Hell is a feature by our guest blogger, Satan — PE]
Pastor Rick Warren’s son, Matthew, commits suicide, church says
I hope this won’t affect sales of The Purpose Driven Life.
The church is calling for prayers. They prayed for the kid — well, young man (he was 27) — when he was alive, he kills himself and now they’re calling for more prayers?! Wasn’t it Einstein who said the definition of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting different results?
This is great PR for me, of course. My cell is blowing up . . . so many people trying to get in touch with me this weekend.
Dear Satan — Please look after my children. I don’t want them to end up like Rick Warren’s kid.
There are many troubled people on Earth looking for answers. And there are some people claiming to have the answers and offering to sell them to you.
One of my favorite Peanuts cartoons goes something like this:
LUCY (kneeling and looking at the ground): Look at those stupid bugs … They don’t have the slightest idea as to what is going on in this world.
CHARLIE BROWN: What is going on in this world?
LUCY: I don’t have the slightest idea.
I don’t have the slightest idea either and I’m Satan, for crying out loud. (I miss Charlie Schulz, by the way. He’s in heaven now.)
If you want a key takeaway from the Matthew Warren/Rick Warren story, here it is: Nobody has a clue.
Nobody has a clue.
See you in Hell . . .
An alleged fight between two female blackjack dealers at the Bellagio hotel-casino in Las Vegas sent one of the women to the hospital and the other to jail.
It was the second violent incident inside a Las Vegas Strip casino in recent days. Last week, an Illinois man shot and killed his ex-girlfriend and then himself in the lobby of the Excalibur resort. The woman was an employee of the resort.
Hasn’t NBC News heard of the “What happens in Vegas . . .” code?
But we’ve always had guns. Since the country was founded July 4, 1776, Americans have had guns, and for most of that time, we’ve managed to live with each other without a mass murder a week.
It can’t be just the guns.
One of the most appalling things to me about modern American society is the way increasingly graphic violence is peddled as entertainment. Turn on the TV: mass murder is entertainment. Grotesque, violent death is “great television.”
Serial killers in movies are the heroes. They can’t be killed off because they’ve got to come back and kill more people in the next sequel.
I know John Wayne used to kill people in movies, but when the Duke shot people, they just grabbed their gut and toppled over. It couldn’t possibly have been more fake. Now when someone gets shot in a movie, they have to be shot in the head. Shooting someone in the head is horrific. And there has to be blood spatter on walls or bystanders or both. And this is entertainment.
It diminishes humanity. It’s bad karma to pretend to kill and be killed for public amusement. It’s bad karma to trifle with death.
Junior Seau Dead in Apparent Suicide
Seau was a legend in San Diego, where he lived and played most of his career. He was also a legendary member of the USC Trojan Family.
The number 55 is now synonymous at USC with great Trojan linebackers, but Seau was the player who made the number famous. It has since been worn by Willie McGinest, Chris Claiborne and Keith Rivers and is only assigned at the head coach’s discretion.
This picture was taken just a couple of weeks ago at the USC Spring Football game. He doesn’t look like someone ready to end his own life, but you never really know what someone’s life looks like from the inside.
Via Curbed LA on the occasion of what would have been DFW’s 50th birthday today.
What a depressing abode! I’m ready to drive out there right now and hang myself . . .
My son makes the observation that there are no balconies in Las Vegas hotels. We’ve got a room on the 24th floor of Bellagio, overlooking the fountains, which allows me to visually scan other hotels up and down the strip, and by god I think the boy is right.
Am I the only person who didn’t know that?
Of course it makes perfect sense once someone points it out.
The Vegas mindset requires that a disproportionate amount of attention be directed to winners . . . lights flashing, bells ringing, people screaming with glee . . . meanwhile, 99 other people are silently losing their ass.
Clearly it’s going to put a damper on things to have the losers flinging themselves off the balconies of high-rise hotels.
My best friend in college hanged himself. He wasn’t gay. It broke my heart, but nobody famous took any notice.
We’re all against bullying of course, but it’s a fact of life. Everyone gets targeted for whatever it is that makes them different, and if you’re absolutely normal in all respects, you’ll be targeted for being too perfect.
I put my son in tae kwon do classes at an early age. I said it was for fitness and confidence and all the usual stuff, but really it was so that any needlessly cruel behavior directed toward him could be addressed via a kick in the teeth.
Sometimes you have to beat someone’s ass to teach him how to get along with the rest of the human race . . .
A man has died after catching his girlfriend as she jumped from the seventh floor of an apartment block in China.
The young Chinese man, identified only by the surname Wang, held out his arms to break the woman’s fall as she plummeted from their apartment in Quanzhou in south-eastern China.
Mr Wang was killed by the impact of his girlfriend landing on top of him, while the woman suffered bone fractures and other serious injuries but was not in critical condition.