Sunday, 28 September 2014
Friday, 26 September 2014
Tuesday, 23 September 2014
Dear Emma Watson,
I was not raised a celebrity. I can say that my life has been very different from yours. I am a woman living in America. I have not attended a fine University like Brown as you did. I have known abuse, I have been molested. I have known hardship and depression. But there is something you should know. I don’t need feminism.
Maybe you can’t understand why this might be so. How someone like me who has in the past been suicidal and faced such turmoil could say that I do not need something that is supposed to help the whole world.
I want you to know that I am neither religious nor someone politically conservative, and I say this because many have accused me of this stance for merely disagreeing with feminism. Your idea of feminism is certainly beautiful, but it is not the reality of the woman’s movement today nor was it the reality of the past.
That is what saddens me. When I was younger I got it into my head that I needed to be strong and empowered and eventually I got there, but when I finally met other feminists I did not see a group of strong self-reliant women infront of me. I saw women who wanted others to do the work for them.
They did not understand that empowerment is something that only you can bring to yourself. People can talk all day about women doing great things. People can give them thousands of dollars of grant money, but it all means nothing if these women won’t do the work themselves. Therein lies the problem of the feminist ideology. It preaches that we must empower women but never asks women to empower themselves or demands that they become capable and self-reliant.
I don’t think that many in the west disagree that women are deserving of all the rights and privileges of men. The truth is far more sinister. I don’t often hear men say that women don’t deserve these things by any stretch of the imagination. The majority of people I hear saying that women are oppressed are feminists.
I don’t see it in the actions of men in the population save for the percentage of the population that engages in violent crime. There will always be meanspirited people. There will always be some people that commit violent acts against their fellow humans, and that is not gendered. Feminism can not fix these things.
You can not fix the portion of humanity that does not care about others and do not care if people are harmed. They are not people that can be persuaded.
The reason that women detach themselves from the label of feminist, has nothing to do with the idea of women’s rights being radical. It isn’t, it makes logical sense. The problem lies with the actions of feminists and actions going beyond achieving the privileges men have. There are man-hating feminists and the narrative that men can stop things like sexual assault is what starts it.
When you say that men can stop sexual assault on their own you are imagining men as one big group that congregates together and can stop the socipathic individuals that predate on others. Sexual assault is not a mistake, or a lapse in judgment. It is not something learned or taught to rapists by society. It is instead a rejection of society. It persists in spite of those who preach equal treatment.
This narrative erases victims of female predators who operate like male sexual predators and exist in greater numbers than you would expect. The problem is that because feminism preaches that men are the abusers that can stop rape, it erases men and women who are victimized by women. Even worse, these women do not face jail time equal to that of their male counterparts. That is not equal treatment and that is not justice.
Painting women as victims does not help them to be seen as the equals of men. It makes them appear weak which is contrary to that which feminism says it wants to accomplish. Because of that you have female predators out of jail after only a few months ready to prey on their next victim.
This is not the story that modern feminism wishes to tell. It is not the story that it wishes to acknowledge. It won’t mention women in “oppressed” countries rising to the occasion in spite of everything. It won’t mention that women in these “oppressed” countries enter STEM fields in greater number to those of the west or that many of them are strong in their own right. Feminism didn’t make them so.
Instead feminism preaches, Look at those women, they are victims, we have to get men to save them. Is that not the worst thing you could do? Are you not continuing gender stereotypes in assuming that men need to be the ones to empower women? Is it not harmful to tell a woman that she is not strong enough on her own, and that she needs all these other women to empower her?
Women won’t identify as feminists because the women within feminism rely so much on the sisterhood that they do not pursue self-reliance. These women do not heal when they’ve been victimized because the sisterhood tells them that it’s fine to live as a perpetual victim instead of a survivor.
These feminists do not live up to your lofty ideals. The feminists who govern these groups are often corrupt and profit directly from keeping women victims. They profit from the narrative that men are the aggressors and women are victims.
If you are looking for gender equality in them you will not find it. This is the problem. The majority of women feel alienated from modern feminism because it is not providing the equality that many of them so desperately crave and it ignores the women who use this ideology to further their own ends.
Instead it is the cause for much of the disparity. Policies meant to help women, fail in one major respect. Because they often assume women in general to have a kind of moral superiority. It does not assume that women can act immorally in ways that are equivalient to men. Laws like the Violence against women act in the United States presume men to be the aggressor even when men are calling to report violence against them by their partners.
If you want to help women to be seen as equal to men, we must acknowledge that they are just as capable of vice as their male counterparts and must face equal consequences. If you want real equality, you must dismantle gender bias against men and benevolent sexism against women perpetuated by the legal system.
Women must be willing to take the higher paying dangerous jobs men take. They must be willing to be held accountable and we must be willing to hold them accountable in the way we hold men to be accountable.
We must acknowledge that the disparity mentioned most often by feminists can be accounted for, by things like life choices and economic mobility. Poverty accounts for much of the problems of third world countries. War brings poverty and violence to these countries, harming men and women in different, but equally horrific ways. Yet women are the ones most likely to receive money and aid.
Child brides arise out of necessity first in impoverished countries. Families can not afford to feed all of their children and as a result are married off young to keep families afloat. In the minds of those parents they are making certain that she is fed and clothed. You want to help women? Then acknowledge that the problem is a toxic mix of ignorance, tradition, and crippling poverty in countries that are often war-torn that drive these problems and not a lack of chivalry.
It is difficult for women to even dream of a future when their families can barely afford to feed them. How can women get ahead when their clothes are rotting off their bodies and their brothers are being drawn into war because it’s their only hope of making some kind of change.
Feminism can not put food on their tables or stop those wars. Because it is attempting to treat the symptoms of these problems and not the disease. You want to help people? Then wake up! We don’t need chivary! We need honesty! Life is hell for the impoverished, it cultivates victims and criminal behavior.
Those people are in pain, and the discussion as to how to help them begins when we have honest discussions about how men and women both suffer in equal degrees, but the source is this toxic mix of human problems that we’ve yet to solve. Some of which we may never solve. Treating the symptoms is failing.
We must approach the source and come to creative solutions, because as it stands people are dividing themselves over the belief that everyone can be an oppressor or that people are being oppressed in the first world. The wage gap has long since been debunked. Single childless women often out earn men because they make different choices now. They can wait longer to have children due to technological advances, so they make career orientated decisions that allow them to get ahead.
The greatest determination of poverty for a woman is how many children she has and when she has them. Women often make work decisions based upon wanting to spend time with her children. So she’s more likely to take time off to tend to her sick children, to leave work early to pick up the kids, or to get them to things like soccer practice.
This all adds up and that is a major contributor to the disparity in the wage gap and not gender discrimination. When you compare many of the well paying jobs men take to something like being a kindergarten teacher, there is an obvious difference in pay. The studies speaking of a massive pay gap rely on lifetime studies which don’t account for differences in job, whether these women have children, or choose careers that pay less but make them happy.
The key to aiding this problem may well be in making birth control available to men and women and allowing them to choose when to be parents. That will also reduce the population in many problem areas and make it possible for people to do better with the same amount of resources. But it will be difficult and many religious groups simply will not allow it.
But you will likely find the key to aiding poverty stricken people is in advancing science and technology overall, and in safe, effective, affordable, and readily available birth control methods for men and women. The recognition of science and it’s continued progression is the only thing that can move us in that direction.
So I ask that instead of funding campaigns to promote chivalrous behavior in men, that you fund the people that will make that line of reasoning obsolete. I ask that you fund science and technology.
Thank you for your time and I hope that you will consider what I have written.
Rachel Marie Edwards
This piece originally appears at http://naughtynerdess.tumblr.com/post/98184739316/an-open-letter-to-emma-watson
Wednesday, 3 September 2014
by Christina Hoff Sommers
If we're genuinely committed to improving the circumstances of women, we need to get the facts straightMuch of what we hear about the plight of American women is false. Some faux facts have been repeated so often they are almost beyond the reach of critical analysis. Though they are baseless, these canards have become the foundation of Congressional debates, the inspiration for new legislation and the focus of college programs. Here are five of the most popular myths that should be rejected by all who are genuinely committed to improving the circumstances of women:
MYTH 1: Women are half the world’s population, working two-thirds of the world’s working hours, receiving 10% of the world’s income, owning less than 1% of the world’s property.
FACTS: This injustice confection is routinely quoted by advocacy groups, the World Bank, Oxfam and the United Nations. It is sheer fabrication. More than 15 years ago, Sussex University experts on gender and development Sally Baden and Anne Marie Goetz, repudiated the claim: “The figure was made up by someone working at the UN because it seemed to her to represent the scale of gender-based inequality at the time.” But there is no evidence that it was ever accurate, and it certainly is not today.
Precise figures do not exist, but no serious economist believes women earn only 10% of the world’s income or own only 1% of property. As one critic noted in an excellent debunking in The Atlantic, “U.S. women alone earn 5.4 percent of world income today.” Moreover, in African countries, where women have made far less progress than their Western and Asian counterparts, Yale economist Cheryl Doss found female land ownership ranged from 11% in Senegal to 54% in Rwanda and Burundi. Doss warns that “using unsubstantiated statistics for advocacy is counterproductive.” Bad data not only undermine credibility, they obstruct progress by making it impossible to measure change.
MYTH 2: Between 100,000 and 300,000 girls are pressed into sexual slavery each year in the United States.
FACTS: This sensational claim is a favorite of politicians, celebrities and journalists. Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore turned it into a cause célèbre. Both conservatives and liberal reformers deploy it. Former President Jimmy Carter recently said that the sexual enslavement of girls in the U.S. today is worse than American slavery in the 19th century.
The source for the figure is a 2001 report on child sexual exploitation by University of Pennsylvania sociologists Richard Estes and Neil Alan Weiner. But their 100,000–300,000 estimate referred to children at risk for exploitation—not actual victims. When three reporters from the Village Voice questioned Estes on the number of children who are abducted and pressed into sexual slavery each year, he replied, “We’re talking about a few hundred people.” And this number is likely to include a lot of boys: According to a 2008 census of underage prostitutes in New York City, nearly half turned out to be male. A few hundred children is still a few hundred too many, but they will not be helped by thousand-fold inflation of their numbers.
MYTH 3: In the United States, 22%–35% of women who visit hospital emergency rooms do so because of domestic violence.
FACTS: This claim has appeared in countless fact sheets, books and articles—for example, in the leading textbook on family violence, Domestic Violence Law, and in the Penguin Atlas of Women in the World. The Penguin Atlas uses the emergency room figure to justify placing the U.S. on par with Uganda and Haiti for intimate violence.
What is the provenance? The Atlas provides no primary source, but the editor of Domestic Violence Law cites a 1997 Justice Department study, as well as a 2009 post on the Centers for Disease Control website. But the Justice Department and the CDC are not referring to the 40 million women who annually visit emergency rooms, but to women, numbering about 550,000 annually, who come to emergency rooms “for violence-related injuries.” Of these, approximately 37% were attacked by intimates. So, it’s not the case that 22%-35% of women who visit emergency rooms are there for domestic violence. The correct figure is less than half of 1%.
MYTH 4: One in five in college women will be sexually assaulted.
FACTS: This incendiary figure is everywhere in the media today. Journalists, senators and even President Obama cite it routinely. Can it be true that the American college campus is one of the most dangerous places on earth for women?
The one-in-five figure is based on the Campus Sexual Assault Study, commissioned by the National Institute of Justice and conducted from 2005 to 2007. Two prominent criminologists, Northeastern University’s James Alan Fox and Mount Holyoke College’s Richard Moran, have noted its weaknesses:
“The estimated 19% sexual assault rate among college women is based on a survey at two large four-year universities, which might not accurately reflect our nation’s colleges overall. In addition, the survey had a large non-response rate, with the clear possibility that those who had been victimized were more apt to have completed the questionnaire, resulting in an inflated prevalence figure.”
Fox and Moran also point out that the study used an overly broad definition of sexual assault. Respondents were counted as sexual assault victims if they had been subject to “attempted forced kissing” or engaged in intimate encounters while intoxicated.
Defenders of the one-in-five figure will reply that the finding has been replicated by other studies. But these studies suffer from some or all of the same flaws. Campus sexual assault is a serious problem and will not be solved by statistical hijinks.
MYTH 5: Women earn 77 cents for every dollar a man earns—for doing the same work.
FACTS: No matter how many times this wage gap claim is decisively refuted by economists, it always comes back. The bottom line: the 23-cent gender pay gap is simply the difference between the average earnings of all men and women working full-time. It does not account for differences in occupations, positions, education, job tenure or hours worked per week. When such relevant factors are considered, the wage gap narrows to the point of vanishing.
Wage gap activists say women with identical backgrounds and jobs as men still earn less. But they always fail to take into account critical variables. Activist groups like the National Organization for Women have a fallback position: that women’s education and career choices are not truly free—they are driven by powerful sexist stereotypes. In this view, women’s tendency to retreat from the workplace to raise children or to enter fields like early childhood education and psychology, rather than better paying professions like petroleum engineering, is evidence of continued social coercion. Here is the problem: American women are among the best informed and most self-determining human beings in the world. To say that they are manipulated into their life choices by forces beyond their control is divorced from reality and demeaning, to boot.
Why do these reckless claims have so much appeal and staying power? For one thing, there is a lot of statistical illiteracy among journalists, feminist academics and political leaders. There is also an admirable human tendency to be protective of women—stories of female exploitation are readily believed, and vocal skeptics risk appearing indifferent to women’s suffering. Finally, armies of advocates depend on “killer stats” to galvanize their cause. But killer stats obliterate distinctions between more and less serious problems and send scarce resources in the wrong directions. They also promote bigotry. The idea that American men are annually enslaving more than 100,000 girls, sending millions of women to emergency rooms, sustaining a rape culture and cheating women out of their rightful salary creates rancor in true believers and disdain in those who would otherwise be sympathetic allies.
My advice to women’s advocates: Take back the truth.
Christina Hoff Sommers, a former philosophy professor, is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. She is the author of several books, including Who Stole Feminism and The War Against Boys, and is the host of a weekly video blog, The Factual Feminist. Follow her @CHSommers.
Thursday, 21 August 2014
by Geoffrey Robertson, QC
People believe that where there’s smoke there’s fire, but sometimes there is just a smoke machine.
By treating Cliff Richard as though he were a bank robber or a mass murderer, the police from Thames Valley and South Yorkshire, aided and abetted by the BBC and a Sheffield lay justice, have blasted his reputation around the world without giving him the first and most basic right to refute the allegation.
Last year, apparently, a complaint was made to police that the singer had indecently assaulted a youth in Sheffield a quarter of a century ago. The police had a duty to investigate, seek any corroborating evidence, and then – and only if they had reasonable grounds to suspect him of committing an offence – to give him the opportunity to refute those suspicions before a decision to charge is made.
But here, police subverted due process by waiting until Richard had left for vacation, and then orchestrating massive publicity for the raid on his house, before making any request for interview and before any question could arise of arresting or charging him.
Police initially denied “leaking” the raid, but South Yorkshire Police finally confirmed yesterday afternoon that they had been “working with a media outlet” – presumably the BBC – about the investigation. They also claimed “a number of people” had come forward with more information after seeing coverage of the operation – which leads one to suspect that this was the improper purpose behind leaking the operation in the first place. This alone calls for an independent inquiry.
The BBC and others were present when the five police cars arrived at Richard’s home, and helicopters were already clattering overhead. Police codes require that “searches must be conducted with due consideration for the property and privacy of the occupier and with no more disturbance than necessary” – here, the media were tipped off well ahead of time, and a smug officer read to the cameras a prepared press statement while the search was going on.
The police, by choosing to raid the property in broad daylight where they must have known its occupant was away, deliberately chose to defame him. Police codes also insist that “the officer in charge of the search shall first try to communicate with the occupier” but of course no such attempt was made – Richard first heard of the search when his lawyers called him after watching it on television.
Why was a search warrant granted? The law (the 1984 Police and Criminal Evidence Act) requires police to satisfy a justice of the peace not only that there are reasonable grounds for believing an offence has been committed (if so, why had he not already been arrested?), but that there is material on the premises both relevant and of substantial value (to prove an indecent assault 25 years ago?).
Moreover, the warrant should only be issued if it is “not practicable to communicate” with the owner of the premises – and it would be a very dumb police force indeed that could find no way of contacting Cliff Richard. The police Codes exude concern that powers of search “be used fairly, responsibly, with respect for occupiers of premises being searched” – this search was conducted without any fairness or respect at all, other than for the media who were given every opportunity to film the bags of “evidence” being taken away.
This in itself is an interesting example of how historic English liberties – the rule against “general search warrants” achieved by John Wilkes in the 18th century – are now ignored. Although there is a section of the law headed “Search warrants – Safeguards” and a provision which requires police when applying for a warrant to actually identify the article they are looking for, this is routinely ignored. Here the police searched for five hours and took whatever they wanted.
This behaviour is unacceptable. The lay justice system has long been the Achilles heel of our civil liberties: many of these amateurs simply rubber stamp police requests. It is not known who issued this warrant (although the High Court has held that the identities of JPs should be made public).
What qualifications did he or she have and what steps were taken to protect the occupier’s privacy? What justification did the police give for this general search, with world-wide publicity? Was there any questioning of the police, so as to ensure that they could identify what they were looking for, and that it had “substantial value” for a prosecution? How was the Justice of the Peace satisfied that this whole exercise was not an improper means to publicise an uncorroborated allegation against the singer, in the hope of “shaking the tree” to attract further allegations which might give it some credibility? It is time that police were required, other than in emergencies, to obtain search warrants from circuit judges, who are alert to civil liberties.
What will happen now? If the outrageous treatment of Paul Gambuccini and Jimmy Tarbuck is any guide, Cliff Richard will remain in a cruel limbo for 18 months or so until the police and the CPS decide whether to charge him. This has been one of the most intolerable features of other high-profile arrests for "historic" offences, namely the inability of police and prosecutors to deliver Magna Carta’s truly historic promise that justice will not be delayed.
The CPS has taken up to 2 years to tell journalists like Patrick Foster that they will not be prosecuted, after unnecessary dawn raids, and publicity every time they are bailed. This lack of care for their liberty is amoral, because it subjects them to drawn-out psychological cruelty. If the CPS cannot decide whether to prosecute 3 months after receiving the police file, it should not prosecute at all.
A case like that of Cliff Richard could not happen in most European countries, where time limits prevent prosecutions of most sexual offences after a lapse of 10 years. Certainly after 25 years, fair trial becomes very difficult, as memories dim, alibi witnesses die and records disappear.
That does not necessarily mean that a prosecution is unjustified, especially in the case of those in positions of authority (priests, teachers, politicians etc) but it does require extra vigilance by law enforcement authorities to ensure that those under investigation do not have their names prematurely besmirched, and that they be given a fair opportunity to refute allegations before they are brought to court.
The police behaviour is also in plain breach of the privacy provisions of article 8 of the European Convention of Human Rights. But this case involves good old English civil liberties, laid down not 25 years but 250 years ago, in the course of a battle between John Wilkes and the government of George III. The Chief Justice then declared that an Englishman’s home was his castle – which must come as news to the South Yorkshire and Thames Valley police.
It is clear from their behaviour that an Englishman’s home is no longer a castle – even when, in Cliff Richard’s case, it is.
Tuesday, 19 August 2014
Sunday, 17 August 2014
I am going to have to try harder than I already am to avoid newspaper headlines - finding out today that even Sir Cliff is being dragged into the Yewtree witchhunts is genuinely making me feel suicidal. All of Britain seems to have become a Kafka novel, with all men featuring as the protagonists.
In case you somehow haven't realized yet, we live in an age now in which any man can have his whole life destroyed in the worst way imaginable on nothing more than the unsubstantiated word of any person with a grudge he's ever even shared an elevator ride with or, heaven forbid, had consensual sex with.... forty years after the alleged fact.
Seeing each individual bewildered old man going through this unimaginable ordeal is so sad: They cannot quite grasp why the world has turned so crazy and are unable to identify or articulate what machinations have brought it about. So the puppet show continues, and none of the children watching see who is pulling the strings .
The two most important factors in all this repugnant nightmare are the ones almost no-one is mentioning: firstly that Britain is unique in all of Europe in having no statute of limitations when it comes to allegations of sex crimes. This is why we aren't hearing of any similar scandals coming out of France or Germany, or the USA for that matter. This has led to a grossly unjust loophole that only recently has been exploited to bring utterly unfounded accusations with no accompanying physical evidence of any kind to court 40 years after their alleged occurrence and end in convictions.
The second thing is that there has been a 40 year campaign by feminists to expand the definition of rape and sexual assault to include pretty much any physical contact whatsoever, if the woman so decides. They have been wildly successful in their attempts to redefine male sexuality as inherently predatory, pathological and abusive.
This works to the benefit of feminism itself, since it helps to further demonize men and hence draw in more donations, political influence and apparent justification for the otherwise blatant obsolescence of their hate movement. It also benefits the state, because by turning one half of the population against the other half, it fatally weakens any sense of unity and kinship that could otherwise pose a threat to whatever their plans for us are.
But it doesn't help us. All it does is make fundamentally necessary human contact more and more frightening and alien, and all of us more and more isolated and alone. I've said it before many times and before all this is over I'll have said it many times again: Feminism is a force of oppression, not liberation. It has done more damage to simple, natural human relationships than any other force in human history, and it's nowhere near finished yet.
But the bovine masses don't care, they'll lap the newest 'paedo' scandal up and scream for the heads of those accused, too stupid to realize any one of them could be next. Or their fathers, their brothers, their husbands, their sons. But if they don't speak out against it now, maybe they deserve what's coming. Maybe you do too.
Aw, I can't write any more about this. It's all so black and hopeless, and heartless beyond belief.
See you all in Hell, if we're not there already.
Tuesday, 12 August 2014
I didn't actually know the man, of course. I'll grant you that. But he's in me somewhere nonetheless, and searching myself I find he feels closer to me in some odd ways than all but my closest friends, and there are words he's said up there upon the glowing screen that have meant more to me, and made more of an impression upon me, than anything from the mouths of all my family.
When Leonard Cohen was asked once "what's the greatest myth about fame?", he replied "That it's worthless", and this moment would seem to bear that out. The best thing about fame, when it's earned, is that the very best part of yourself lives on after your death, and you wander on through the dreams of strangers.
Robin Williams first entered my life, I would guess, around the age of 8 or 9. I remember we had some visiting Canadians come stay with us awhile, and they would quote every now and then from a funny TV show we hadn't yet seen on any of our 3 British TV channels."You haven't seen Mork & Mindy?" they said. "Oh, you'll like that". And a year or so later I found out they were right: I did.
Isn't it funny how that is all I actually remember of that couple? I've not remembered their names, their faces, anything else they said, and couldn't even a handful of years later. Their existence is entirely gone from my consciousness, other than that they foretold my encountering a man I'd never meet.
Like most 20th century television, Mork & Mindy was an assembly-line product, hurriedly written, produced and hammed up onscreen by a whoop of hacks who were not then, and never would be, good enough to make it in the movies. But Williams himself was incandescent, something entirely new, and as a child the character of the alien Mork exiled to earth lit up my imagination just as much as Superman and Star Wars had done a year or two earlier.
Every week he'd report back to his home planet 'Ork' about what he'd seen of earth, how crazy it all is here, but also how puzzlingly beautiful the best parts of us are too - the senseless acts of beauty, kindness, selflessness and mercy that raise us up above the mire and make us human at all.
Mork made him a household name around the world, but only as a clown - though a very funny one, and his Live At The Met stand-up special is still one of the top ten greatest of all time (I can still recite just about every line if you start me off, and there's an awful lot of them). But none of the attempts he made to get into films worked out the first few years of trying - the roles never seemed to quite fit him, being either too harrowingly sombre and serious to take from such a karazy comedian, or else silly, shallow, one dimensional cartoon characters (literally, in the case of Popeye).
That all finally changed with his role as army DJ Adrian Cronauer in Good Morning, Vietnam. Here at last was the perfect balance of crazed ebullience and deep, boundless compassion that it seems to me now was present in all his best work, all the way back to Mork, and he built on this and surpassed it effortlessly in his next and greatest role, the schoolteacher all of us wanted but never got, John Keating in Dead Poets Society.
I remember watching this film as a teenager and it speaking to me as profoundly as any film I'd ever seen. I can recall how strongly I identified with the character of Neil, the boy who'd rather take his own life than live one without a dream, being slowly smothered by a lie, and Mr Keating's explanation of poetry might well be the thing that turned my hand to such endeavours in the first place, it's certainly still the standard I judge the essence of my own and others creations against today:
Like the music I first discovered and fell in love with around the same time, Dead Poets Society showed me a window of possibilities outside of the lumpen, utilitarian working class drudgery of my youth, a world of higher ideals, nobler passions and deeper, holier truths.
It truly is one of the greatest films of all time, but in a lot of ways it simply was a better remake of GM,V, and to repeat it again presumably couldn't be done without falling into cliche - lightning had already struck twice, after all. He was never to find a role that fit him so perfectly again, although you could say he reprised it to some degree in his supporting part in Good Will Hunting.
After that peak he somehow lost the ability to be as funny as he was, maybe his schtick had grown too familiar to us for it to keep working, or maybe the weight of age and life experience made 'zany' too hard and embarrassing to pull off. Maybe he just stopped taking cocaine, I don't know. Either way, for the most part he settled into an unhappy routine of dividing his time between cloyingly sentimental family films and too-dark-for-comfort adult roles, and never seeming quite right in any of them. Seeing him interviewed in his later years on TV, he never seemed too pleased with what he'd done, or what he was doing, or for that matter who he was. He drank a lot, I am told, but what was actually going on inside him is probably impossible to say. He was as much a mystery to me as I am to you, and you are to me. The boundaries of our bodies set us apart like plots of land but, through the unfathomable voodoo we call art, the deepest and most worthy parts of ourselves proceed regardless, and go on to find and commune with one another somewhere beyond our allotted 6 feet of space and Google co-ordinates. Beyond time, beyond space, and even beyond the grave, for it is in our secrets we are most alike.
His last great film, for me, was Bobcat Goldthwait's older, sadder, wiser 'World's Greatest Dad', the kind of small, original, thoughtful, funny movie it's pretty self-evident now he should have made a lot more of in the time he had left.
But you know what? He made enough. He seized the day, he added his verse and we all read it. And people will still be reading it long after we're gone too.
Carpe Diem. O Captain, my Captain, goodbye.