Sunday, September 18, 2016

William Myrl; Letters to No One (68)

Dear No One,

I didn't finish the Republic, and I can't imagine a reason why I would. People shouldn't read Plato, they just shouldn't, except as an example of how not to argue. He isn't necessary for that though, you could get into politics and listen to the same contortionist rhetoric today that was invented long before Rome started being interesting. I made an effort because a student asked me to, but I can only go so far. I was starting to feel the same kind of upset I get from reading young earth creationism propaganda material. 

We lost someone else at the shop, they were making an unauthorized clothing repair. The strange bit is that he wasn't caught in the act, but trying to carry it out. They occasionally select a few of us to be strip searched before we can leave. Its perfunctory. Two COs have to be present while you are stripped, so whoever isn't first is left outside the little room with no one watching. He could have disposed of the garment, or even just set it aside, without issue. Instead, he waited with it in his clothes, waited for his turn. I imagine he was panicking, and not thinking. There's a trashcan within a pace of where he must have been standing. 

So I'm sitting here listening to a band called Cream n' Chrome, of all things, and waiting for the Americas Got Talent finale. More importantly, Mr Robot is on tonight. You should give it a try. 

I read Darkness Visible, by William Styron, another book recommended to me in the context of an interview. It's brief, pretty, and dramatic. One can take it as a happy omen that his swollen descriptions of depression seemed far away to me, he repeats, as I often have, that there is an insurmountable incommunicability to the illness. He was a famous literary presence, and an alcoholic who quit late in life. Defeating his addiction probably helped bring about the episode that nearly defeated him, and taking the wrong medication to help him sleep. He talked about depression being a humdrum and inadequate term for the disease, and I am inclined to agree. But any word is prone to misunderstanding, and increasing misuse over time. I still would rather they hadn't changed "manic depression" to "bipolar". Much of the stigma he and others faced, has been meliorated.

 It's 2016, and Demi Levato, one of Disney's pop princesses, appears in public health messages about living with bipolar disorder. Famous persons still commit suicide, Styron lists a number, but their struggles are openly acknowledged by the media instead of hidden. Part of that is interest mongering, but I believe it can also serve a purpose. Robin Williams' illness wasn't broadcast during his life or in his career. Perhaps it should have been. An unacknowledged disorder can be the most dangerous kind.

Styron, I think, did eventually kill himself, a sad end to a mixed story. He was eighty years into the game.


William Myrl

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