The thing that is getting to me the most about news of Carrie Fisher’s autopsy report is not the results themselves, but the way the media is handling it. Like it’s a Gotcha moment—like somehow we were tricked into thinking she was a better person than she actually was.
And that is profoundly bullshit.
Carrie was open about being an addict. Her opening line from her iconic stand up show (and book by the same name) “Wishful Drinking” was quite literally, “Hi, I’m Carrie Fisher, and I’m an alcoholic.”
She talked at length and in often brutal depth about her problems with substance abuse, her compulsive self destructive tendencies, and her dependencies to both illegal and prescription drugs. She wrote about it in her books, she talked about it on talk shows. She made an entire comedic stand up performance out of it, detailing the lengths she went to in order to try and regain some semblance of safety and normalcy in her life.
She was brutally honest that every single day was a struggle for sanity after years and years of attempting to self medicate a mental illness that for most of her life was mistaken for feckless lack of self control.
You know how they way “Religion is the opiate of the masses?” Well I took masses of opiates religiously! -Wishful Drinking
She was bright, and beautiful and bold about it. And she didn’t have to be.
Carrie Fisher didn’t have to stand there and take the shitstorm of criticism people launched at her for decades, let alone turn it into humor. She didn’t. She didn’t owe anyone outwith her immediate family an explanation for her erratic behavior over the years, nor the flack she caught for it. (Think of all the male actors in Hollywood who are in and out of rehab centers so quickly they could harness the revolving doors as a wind turbine. Then tell me the media press about her life and now her death are fair.)
But she did it anyway, because she knew it was important. And she took those bright lights of Hollywood shining down on her like a ruthless, malevolent child holding a magnifying glass under the sun—and she turned that merciless heat and pointed it at things that mattered, often at the expense of herself, opening herself up to ridicule and the severe cruelty of others who lambasted her for everything, ranging from her weight, her mental illness or her audacity to simply grow old.
Is it tragic that her addiction likely cost her her life? Yes, of course it is. Does it invalidate any of her achievements? The strength and vibrancy with which she lived her life and touched the lives of millions around her for the better?
“I call people sometimes hoping not only that they’ll verify the fact that I’m alive but that they’ll also, however indirectly, convince me that being alive is an appropriate state for me to be in. Because sometimes I don’t think it’s such a bright idea. Is it worth the trouble it takes trying to live life so that someday you get something worthwhile out of it, instead of it almost always taking worthwhile things out of you?”
-The Princess Diarist
Carrie Fisher mattered, her voice mattered. The things that she said and did, mattered. They still matter. And they are no less true and poignant in the light of these revelations.
Addiction is a disease. It’s a dysfunction of the brain’s reward system which requires constant management and care and often goes hand in hand with other mental health disorders. It is not simply a question of willpower or the perceived lack thereof. And while sobriety is to be praised and encouraged—of course it is, of course it absolutely unquestionably is—you cannot possibly know what may cause a person to slip or to feel like they can’t cope without that crutch. And shame on anyone who says it was therefore deserved.
Shame and my heartfelt wishes that you never go through the things that can lead to serious addiction. Or that you are ever abandoned, derided and regarded as less than human because of it and your death turned into a smear campaign against your memory for the sake of a sensationalist headline.
Yes. Carrie Fisher was an addict, she had drug dependency problems related to her mental health. There was a time she kept it hidden, but after she made the decision to come out about it, she stuck by that decision and became a champion, for herself and everyone like her who struggles. Because she never wanted anyone to suffer like she did in order to get help. And she did it with as much grace and humility as she could manage—and a whole lot more indignity, immodesty, crass humor and love as well. Because that’s who she was and she cared.
And that’s a hell of a lot more than can be said for those crowing over her death like it’s just deserts.
People do not exist to stand up to your demands of a perfect ideal of humanity. You do not get to place that burden on the shoulders of someone then tear them apart when they fall under that weight—famous or otherwise.
Fuck you and your whole pretense at moral piety and the horse you rode in on.
Carrie Fisher was not your unproblematic fave. She was in fact extremely problematic, and no one knew that better than she did.
“I heard someone say once that many of us only seem able to find heaven by backing away from hell. And while the place that I’ve arrived at in my life may not precisely be everyone’s idea of heaven, I could swear sometimes—if I’m quiet enough—I can hear the angels sing. Either that or I fucked up my medication again.”
Ugh, so apparently my most popular trending post at the moment is the one about racist homophobic “Karen” kicking her gay daughter out of the house. And the reason it’s trending is cause people are calling it fake, and citing the fact that I claimed “Karen” had been writing slash fic for over 30 years.
Newsflash children: You did not invent fandom, you are not even close to the ground level of fandom inception as you know it today.
Yes, there was slash fic being written over 30 years ago, even longer so than that. They were called fanzines, and they were these things printed on paper, you had to sign up for them and theyd get sent in the mail to your house. And they were predominantly started by women over the age of 30 who wanted to talk to other people like them without the fear of ridicule for liking something for “silly” reasons like love and sex and all the other things we like about fandom.
People wrote about Star Trek, Star Wars (my god the Han/Luke slash wars involved people throwing gay fanfic onto Mark Hamill’s lawn)—pretty much any popular show at the time in the same way we do today, except now we have the convenience of a place called Ao3 and not being sued for writing fan content because yes, that was a thing that also happened.
As for the people just tagging on “this seems fake but okay” for the hell of it and talking about how no one would take in a queer kid the way Aunt Bee did? I’m sorry you are that jaded.
I didn’t know when I was bitching about something personal going down in my fandom circles, that it’d get tumblr popular. I never know what the fuck I am going to post on this hellsite that will take off next, but it was real, and it happened. M is still living with Aunt Bee who has always been a dominant figure in the OT Star Wars fandom, looooong before Ao3 and even fanfic net was a thing. And she is known in certain circles for her overwhelming kindness and generosity. She was an internet fandom mom in the days of dial up and before, and it’s not my fault if you’re not aware of your own fandom history enough to not know who the fuck I’m really talking about.
And no I will not post “proof” or give you real names so you can go find them, the fuck is wrong with you.
These are real people with real lives and I am not about to go rooting around on people’s private facebook feeds just to score fake points on the internet. I literally do not give that much of a fuck about my blog to even try that.
I shouldn’t have even been bitching about it publicly in the first place but I needed an outlet to vent that one of my oldest fandom circles was dying and was going nova in a spectacular fashion and tumblr picked it up and ran.
And in the midst of all that, there was one small moment of genuine goodness in the world where another human being said all right no fuck your bigotry and hatred, your kid can come stay with me and did it. And while that might seem unbelievable to you and your own selfish values, people do these kind of things.
I can name five people off the top of my head here on tumblr who have helped rescue someone else from shitty abusive situations, and taken them into their homes and cared for them like their own family.
The entire sum of the universe is not shit and desolation.
also I think the whole point about liam’s quote when it comes to harry not being able to wear bell bottoms… he’s most probably talking about the fact it took him a really long time to get to a place he could do that? he had this whole “harry styles look” set up by the label and it probably took a great deal of strength, effort and constant struggle to get an okay to go ahead and venture out when it comes to what he’s wearing. there’s a lot of bullshit about “creating looks” still present in big labels when first putting an act on the scene and there is a great deal of very strict conditions given to stylists from color schemes to fit to what brands are acceptable and what aren’t for that certain act. and most labels once they invest a certain amount of time and money in creating that don’t really want to change it just because the act feels they want to do something different. so when liam talks about harry getting to wear bell bottoms now it doesn’t mean harry didn’t wear them before, it means it took him a lot to get there, and now when he’s doing it on his own he doesn’t have to go ahead and ask someone if he can wear a certain type of pants, he can just do it.