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Message board culture and why I owe Robin Williams an apology


I’m sorry Mr. Williams. Please let me explain.

My brain operates like the scummiest of scummy message boards sometimes. No critique or insult is off limits when I’m watching a movie or a sporting event. If a TV show is only half decent, I’ll need to craft a witty tweet about it so that a. people can pat me on the back (via a favorite or retweet) and b. everybody shares half-baked opinions so, fuck it, I’ll throw mine out there. I’m embarrassed to say it sometimes gets as bad as an episode of ESPN’s talking head show ‘First Take’. It can be a whirlwind of bullshit knee jerk reactions and analysis- some of which are Skip Bayless-esque.

This fast-paced, rapid fire judging is commonplace now. Every movie is either the best of all time or the worst of all time. LeBron James has every dribble criticized on twitter. The internet is full of arm-chair basketball stars and ‘undiscovered’ artists tearing down hard work.

I’m proud to say that I don’t participate in any message boards or chat rooms. Even though crushing the idea of a Breaking Bad spin-off show while hiding behind my keyboard sounds tempting, I resist. I may have a snarky tweet every now and then but it’s not as bad as trolling. But thinking that way fuels these message boards / social media vultures, which that is bad. Message board etiquette has infected a lot of thinking recently.

And it’s why I owe Robin Williams an apology.

This guy had the balls to live his life with 10x the amount of passion and fearlessness than I have thus far. He not only had the talent to cross over into all facets of performing, he had the courage to. His career had a duality that performers craved because it was simply not a possibility for them.

And as he was forging this new path, there I was judging bit by bit with my peers. But I’ve seen that this rapid fire judging just doesn’t apply, even though there is an outlet for my every thought these days. Someone’s career, and life for that matter, is a permanent work in progress. It’s a work in progress until it isn’t anymore.

The man lived his live constantly pushing himself and growing his career, despite a world that can package up negativity from across the world and leave it at your doorstep. Seeing his journey come to an end is a wakeup call for me. Respect the work in progress because you should never stop being one yourself.

Title Photo Credit: flickr

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