The problem with 'Genie, You're Free'


Ah, so this is the “If we don’t talk about it, people won’t know it is an option” method of dealing with a problem? The abstinence approach to suicide?


I don’t think it’s the abstinence approach, it’s the glorificaiton of suicide. “You’re free”, no, he’s not “free”, he’s gone. I think there are more constructive ways to talk about suicide, or at least, that’s the argument Xeni seems to be making here.


No, it’s the “we shouldn’t romanticize his death like this at all because even without romanticizing it suicide rates still go up after a celebrity loses their battle with mental illness and we’d rather not make that copycat problem any worse” approach.


People have got to be allowed to grieve. Just because he ended his own life doesn’t mean people shouldn’t pay tribute like this.

It’s not like he’s Kurt Cobain or anything. Hordes of angsty teens aren’t going to follow him to the afterlife.

I’ve struggled with depression. Describing suicide as “freedom” is a really, really bad idea for someone struggling with suicidal thoughts. Death isn’t freedom; coping is. I think we can mourn without valorizing suicide or describing death as freedom. It’s not the mention of suicide that’s the problem; it’s the metaphor we use to describe it.


You do realize depression, and the kind that leads to suicide is not some teen drama right? Shouldn’t the fact that a highly successful and deeply loved public figure took his own life tell you that. And “angsty teens” deserve support and sympathy when dealing with depression too.

the problem is that the tweet trivialized a serious issue. Not that people mentioned how Williams died or anything like that.


riiiiiiight - because it’s always better to keep a spontaneous expression of an honest emotion, especially complex ones like grief, bottled up because it’s unacceptable and not the PC way to talk about such things. Seriously?


Jesus. Fucking. Christ.

Can we just have one thing where someone doesn’t pitch a hissy fit because someone didn’t properly address an issue and it may lead to one person some where in the whole wide world getting butthurt over it.

I think their tweet was touching and poignant.


As cold as it sounds it is the bad doggy effect we want to avoid.
Good dog is left with a friend who has a diggy dog, good dog learns to dig and does when she gets home, the mental barrier has been eroded.
When we see a suicide people who are in extraordinary pain will see it as a way out, it reduces the felt social pressure.
As big a pain that it is to restrict our free speech romanticising suicide lowers mental barriers and gives a nice place for someone with sever depression to fixate on. We have decided that community health is important so we voluntarily restrain our speech in order to save lives.
Often the depression is a problem on its own and the neurochemical spiral can be set off by an event that even the sufferer knows has no real importance. For these people especially, people who cant afford insurance or just cant get an appointment in time we hold back.
(edit) My appeal to authority is that I have PTSD from years as a paramedic in part having to look at grotesque hanging people, there is no clean way to make your body dead and we can figure it out, don’t do this to your brave and underpaid or volunteer community first responders who have sky high suicide rates already, please get help.


I’m sorry… how is critiquing the tweet pitching a hissy fit? You might have found it touching and poignant, but others might have found it triggering or instructive. Are we not allowed to point that out?


I was suicidal earlier this year. I’m currently under a psychiatrist. I’m 40. So yeah, I know.

Lesson learned. From now on, please suppress any expressions of grief or empathy, no matter how well-intentioned, because lord knows someone out there might just slit their wrists.


I’m sorry to hear that… Do you not see the point they are trying to make with this discussion? Do you not see how it can have some relevance?

Edited to add: I sincerely hope you get well again.

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If you want to express how much you care, don’t reply to me, and don’t post to tell everyone else how you feel about it. Just give as much as you can to suicide prevention efforts.


That’s stupid There-Is-No-Alternative-Shit.

It’s perfectly possible to express grief or empath without stupid cliches which akins suicide to gaining freedom from slavery.


You’ve clearly missed the point.
This isn’t about getting butthurt.
This isn’t Reddit SJWs coming to the rescue of the offended.
There is precedent for this piece, based on the well-documented correlation between the perceived glorification of suicide by the media, and a rise in suicide rates.

As long as it’s poignant for you though.


The problem is that while you have a right to express yourself that right should be used responsibly, we have scientific evidence that protected speech like this does come with a cost in human lives and so should only be expressed publicly when the cost benefit ratio warrants it. To the uneducated this is a sweet goodbye song to someone we all feel we know and love, but we know better, just like how we quarantine people with infectious illness, suicide is a psychological contagion and can be spread with ideas to people who really don’t want to die.


No, it’s called “being facetious for effect”. When folks have to walk on eggshells even when expressing empathy, it gets more than a little silly.

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Ah, @lakelady, you must have the vapors. Overcome by the female hormones; how else could one expect such nonsense drivel to come out of the pouty mouth of the weaker sex.

Ok, there’s a big difference between PC and actually doing good. My first paragraph was totally PC in the 1800’s … but then it became non-PC once we realized that women are people, actual equals, with opinions that should be respected… and, most importantly, this kind of talk caused actual harm to actual women. The same with glorifying suicide, or seeing it as an escape… it’ll cause actual harm to depressed people. People aren’t trying to get you to be PC … they’re trying to prevent someone else killing themselves.