Thursday, July 18, 2013

dear Finn,

I am so sad to hear your story. Well I don't know much about the story except that you had an addiction problem, you went to rehab, you came out of rehab, and you overdosed and died. Some kind of heroin and alcohol toxic mixing. Were you with Brittany on that night? Sorry that is not funny. I guess you are not Finn now that you are dead. Maybe things are more clear, beyond the addiction. We wonder why someone with everything overdoses and dies. You were 31 and got to play a teenager on TV. At the best fantasy high school one could imagine where football players can also sing and dance and have endless support and where the Spanish and singing teacher is willing to fight with the nutcase athletic director who hates singing, expression, and anything artistic. But football players have inner music too. Hit you over the head with messages about gender bending, teaching us how ignorant homophobia is, make us feel like we were not the only awkward weirdo kids in high school but even the popular athletes and cheerleaders are total weirdos too. Oh, heavy on the messages and over the top musical scenes. But the point is some people seem to have it all (fame success) and still are haunted by demons or something, have to rely on ways to get by (Janice, Jimmy). Or some have way too much going on like playing dark and disturbing roles in movies that keep them from sleeping that cause other medical issues that result in prescriptions to fix the multiple problems that might be fixed instead with a vacation but instead the delirious joker takes too many of the wrong combination of pills at the wrong moment and he is dead too. But you didn't have the pressure on like Jimmy or Janice in an intense musical industry not always friendly to black folks and women in the 60s and 70s. Your character on TV was the opposite of Ledger's Joker, both of whom spiraled into depths of disorientation from which there was no coming back. You, a grown up adult, got to play the heartthrob football player star singer who was always the favorite because of his genuine kindness and seeming disregard for the fame and attitude of revered high school athletes. Your character queered the high school experience for viewers everywhere breaking through stereotypes about boys and sports and art and even religion (dating the Jewish girl with 2 dads). You got to do high school again in the best way: playing football and singing like a Broadway star both on stage and in the intimate and supportive group therapy sessions that were the after-school glee club meetings. Maybe the disparity between this fictional high school do-over and your real life situations was too great. Though no one can say why some people can overcome addiction and some cannot. Well maybe there are some experts who can say more about that. The point is like Forest Whitaker playing Charlie Parker or Bette Midler playing a Janice-like character we find out there is no particular way the habits work. Whatever the initial tendency, eventually the outer context and the inner need turn in to a cycle that takes on a life of its own. And just because you want to stop doesn't mean you can. When did your addiction begin and why couldn't you stop it before it was too late? That's not a real question. Why do these things happen is another question. Were Jimmy and Janice and Heath and Charlie amazing and did they die too soon too young what a loss? Yes, and so did many amazing talented people who never got famous. You were great on Glee and like some regular high school kids you died too young. Would there were more we could do.

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