Friday, March 16, 2007

Richard Jeni

I've meant to say something about the sad passing of comedian Richard Jeni for a few days, but didn't have much to say.

Right now, however, there's a statement from the family of Richard Jeni on The Official Richard Jeni Homepage that I think everyone should read, regardless of whether they know or care about Mr. Jeni and his work.

"The truth is: earlier this year Richard Jeni was diagnosed with severe clinical depression coupled with bouts of psychotic paranoia. One only needs to have a family member or friend with a mental illness to understand that there is nothing rational, predictable, or fair about these diseases. Mental illness is as serious as any physical affliction and can be just as devastating."

I'm heartbroken for them that these circumstances arose that they needed to make this statement, but, as they did, I'm very proud that they made this important statement. The lack of understanding - the often willful lack of understanding - of the devastating power of mental illness in the world is horrifying. It is indeed difficult to understand if you've not experienced it, or been in close contact with it, but it's a terrible thing that ruins lives all around it and, yes, kills.

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