global politics, relationally

RIP Robin Williams – A Feminist Memory


The news that Robin Williams died today hit me hard – I’ve always had a soft spot for him. I first heard his stand-up comedy in the late 90s when I was dubbing tapes to CDs for my father – he had Robin Williams’ “Night at the Met” (1984) on tape, and I listened to the whole thing. I’ve long agreed with the assessment that the troubled comedian was the “funniest man alive” – and I’ve been a collector of his comedy and his movies for quite a while. I was shocked hearing of his death, both because Williams’ comedy seemed immortal, and because one is never prepared for that sort of suddenness.

Reading the news articles around Williams’ death, I remembered a part of the show that he did at the Met in 1984 that has been particularly relevant to my research career, and thought it might honor his memory to post about it.

“That’s why there should be a woman president. There would never be any wars. Never, never. You know this. Its the truth. There would never be a war. Just every 28 days there would be severe negotiations. You know that. Yes.”

On the one hand, the gender essentialist logic couldn’t be more wrong. On the other hand, he was talking about gender and politics, and doing it thirty years ago. This passage always made me chuckle – and made for some great essay questions on Gender and Politics finals. Farewell, Mr. Williams/Mork/Ms. Doubtfire.