When Tony committed suicide I remember a lot of people were shocked. They were shocked because he was “living the dream.” He got to travel the world and eat food. But the truth is, he wasn’t living a dream. Tony had a rough childhood. He became a delinquent. Somehow food saved him. Tony was an incredibly smart and passionate man. He got a foot in the door with Travel Channel and was able to begin doing what he cared about. Traveling the world and bringing awareness to the struggles most people don’t want to acknowledge. But through all his different shows, you can see him struggle. With Travel Channel he wasn’t given enough freedom to do what he wanted. He had a lot of different shows on their network, perhaps trying over and over to get it right. But I don’t think they probably wanted to see world struggle. They wanted to see bright colours, and food. When he finally moved on to CNN, you could actually feel a change in him. Finally, this was where he could really breathe. He was able to travel the world and show and talk about what really mattered to him. The politics and the struggles of the world. And if you really think about it, why wouldn’t he begin suffering depression. Probably simmering since childhood. Now there ten fold. How can one man power travel the world, seeing the struggle and despair and not feel powerless. And then come home to a nation actively destroying itself under the leadership of a narcissistic moron. He engulfed himself in tragedy. So, on June 8th 2018, when I woke up to a text telling me he had committed suicide, after the shock, and the pain, the soul crushing pain, I understood. He wasn’t “living the dream.” He was single handedly trying to save the world.
(This, of course, is just my speculation.)
Heres a trailer for the upcoming documentary about him.
Ah wis sittin wi Sick Boy in his flat. Ah fix a nice yin in the sights ay Sick Boy’s old .22 air rifle oot in the park. VPLs. Visible Pany Lines in sight. Oh yes. Ah wis looking fir the VLPs. Sick Boy wis lookin fir the dugs. He hated dugs fir some reason. Ah’m no exactly sure what it is that Sick Boy hates so much about dugs cept their shitein all over the park.
– Ye have entered the scopes, ma little pretty. Ah mutter, – Visible Panty Lines in view. Oh yes. Brilliant. Ah wis enjoyin masel when Sick Boy snatched the rifle from ma hands nearly takin ma nose wi it.
– Get tae fuck! Ye cunt! Ah rubbed ma nose as ah jumped up from the windae sill.
– Quick! Get doon! He pulled me back doon. – Ah see yin. It’s a bloody brilliant yin. Ah kin just see it all now. He allowed a moment of silence while he invisioned the kill. – Oh man. Ah think ah bucked that chicky he’s wi. Oh yes. Very nice…
– What?! Ah snatched the rifle from his hands. Ah scoped oot the chicky he’s talkin aboot. Her back is tae us. Ah’m sure Sick Boy has bucked her though. He’s bucked half the continent. Then she turns tae us n ah see her face. It’s wee Janet. Sick Boy dinnae buck her. Ah did!
Ah remember it too. She wis a good yin. She wis the only yin to walk oot on me. It wis probably because ay ma red hair. Ah eywis ken that red heid ay mine wis a curse.
– What do ye think ay black hair fer us? Ah asked Sick Boy whae wis tryin tae see her n the dug withoot his rifle scope.
– Ah think ye’ll look like a fuckin buftie. Have ye gone radge? He says, takin the rifle back.
– Get tae fuck. Ah dinnae care what ye think anyway. Ah says, goin tae find a beer.
I waited a long time to finally watch this. I wont say it was bad. Definitely not an easy watch. Everything is so, almost accidentally connected, that im not quite sure what the resolution was. It was a film directed by a guy you’ve probably never heard of, based on a book, by a guy you’ve probably never heard of, starring a lot of familiar faces, and produced by my guy Jake Gyllenhaal. That being said, it wasn’t box office, smash hit. It probably appealed more to the indie gothic thriller crowd. I’m still trying to sort it out. It’s based off a book of the same name, by Donald Ray Pollock, and the movie is narrated by the same man. Something about his slow, soft voice sort of fits the time frame. Matched with radio tunes from the 60’s. Along the backdrop of the Vietnam War. The whole thing felt very Stand by Me, but bigger, more adult. A weird, gritty sort of coming-of-age for Tom Holland’s character. But don’t mistake this for some Lollypop, Cherry Cola 60’s story. This is anything but that. It is also very strange. And disappointingly incredible. The acting was superb, the atmosphere was gritty, and in truth, the director did an exceptional job. On the surface, it all sort of feels pointless. If only he hadn’t sat at that particular bench at the diner counter, maybe none of this would have happened. But it’s not a story about what happened, so much as a story about who it happened to.
I had been hoping this film would be more psychology. But it turned out to be more medical. Medical mystery. It was basically a feature film length episode of House. Without all the great House doctors… In truth though, it was pretty serious. And scary. A rare form of encephelitis. The symptoms of her disease were presenting as psychosis, and as her medical tests were all showing healthy young girl, she was pretty much set to be transferred to a psych unit. At the end of the film she asks how many people with this disease have been misdiagnosed as schizophrenic, or bipolar. As a writer and a journalist, her boss asked her to share her story, to bring more awareness. And so she did.
I’m still trying to figure out my feelings on this story. What do you do? What do you do when you and your twin have had a horrible, tramatic childhood, and then one day your twin wakes up with no memory. All he knows is you. And he needs you to tell him who he is. This is your chance, your one grace, to give him the gift of a wonderful childhood. But at what cost? Twins have always been weird to me. Movies about twins are kind of weird. But in the world of psychology, twins are mecca. This movie, admittedly, felt less psychology than I was hoping for, and more moral dilemma and personal journey. But the story is still intriguing, and uncomfortable, and touching.