I make but a passing reference to the Pound Shop Daily Mail polemicist Katie Hopkins, whose typically vicious sideswipe at the late Carrie Fisher attracted much less public anger than usual, quite possibly because people are beginning to realise that disconnecting the oxygen of publicity will be far more upsetting for her than responding. Carrie Fisher was many different things to many different people. A great actress, definitely, and to me an heroic campaigner, a champion of mental health.
Her addictions and demons have been well enough documented, literally done to death if the truth be known. Add to that her self-confessed bipolar disorder which she generously shared with the rest of the world and her legacy is much more than Star Wars.
Could I have confessed to my loyal reader and to anyone else who was interested enough my own mental health demons without people like Carrie Fisher? There was a time when manic depression to name but one condition was ridiculed, not least by the poisonous red tops inhabited by the likes of Hopkins. It was not that long ago when the Sun referred to “Bonkers Bruno locked up” when the former boxer was having serious problems that resulted in him being sectioned under the mental health act. In life, and now death, Fisher became an enabler for millions of people around the world who suffered from serious mental health issues but were previously afraid to talk about it.
Where Hopkins brings hate and ugliness to the world, Carrie Fisher brought hope and enlightenment and the latter, I sense, is beginning to win through, slowly but surely. Who inspires people most? A former (failed) candidate on the Apprentice with the absolute bare minimum of talent or the supremely talented and inspirational actor and campaigner?
This is what I mean when I refer to hope not hate. I am not always by nature the greatest optimist but I do believe that hope will ultimately prevail over hate, that the former is permanent and the latter is a regular unwanted visitor who stays just long enough until s/he is found out.
“If you claim something, you can own it, but if you have it as a shameful secret, you’re fucked,” she said in 2009. Thanks to Carrie Fisher, plenty of people have been able to own their demons and they’re not fucked. I can’t think of a better obituary than that.