On the Death of Philip Seymour Hoffman
Another senseless death. Another wasted talent.
What’s the appropriate reaction when something like this happens?
Shock? Certainly. Sadness? Absolutely. Outrage? Yeah, probably. Confusion? Yes.
In the coming days, we’ll see the predictable outpouring of sympathy from all those who knew actor Philip Seymour Hoffman best. They’ll say nice things. They’ll say the right things. But they won’t say what really needs to be said. And heard by so many.
And that’s as follows: Philip Seymour Hoffman ended his life as a loser. Not as an Oscar winning actor. Not at the pinnacle of his professional career performing onstage. Not spending a moment of tenderness with his parents, or playing with any of this three children.
He ended his life laying half-naked on the bathroom floor with a needle stuck in his arm and several doses of heroin within reach.
That’s a hell of a way to go out, and sadly, an even worse way to be remembered.
Oh, there will be attempts to whitewash all the ugliness away. Justifications for his behavior will be made. Experts will weigh in on why this gifted man who grew up in a nice home to good parents could go so wrong. The actions of a common street junkie will be counterbalanced by remembrances of his immense talent, his dedication to craft, his wit and humor, his humanity. Rightly so. He’s been called a nice person and a gentle soul. Mr. Hoffman deserves to be remembered as a marvelous actor who gave us several roles to cherish, both on film and on stage. We must applaud him for that.
But we must also think long and hard at what he was, and that’s a drug addict.
He put himself in that spot. Not someone else. He bears the responsibility. All of it. No one forced him to take that first hit when he was younger. He did it himself. And he ended up paying the ultimate price for that stupidity.
Drug addicts are commonly referred to as “victims.” I fail to understand why this is so. They’re not victims. They’re perpetrators of ignorance and self-destruction. Worse, their actions are revolting for the unnecessary pain they inflict on all those around them.
How does someone have three children and end up at the height of his career — successful beyond compare — with a nasty heroin habit?
Well, it usually starts young and then progresses. As in downward. Kids do plenty of dumb things, and one of those things that some FREELY CHOSE TO DO is take drugs. Sure, it’s just for kicks, at first. But then over time something really bad happens. Some get addicted. A few even end up dead.
We’re now asked to have sympathy for Mr. Hoffman, when that sympathy belongs somewhere else. With his children. With his parents. With his family. With his friends and co-workers. They are the real victims here. Not Mr. Hoffman.
In fact, Mr. Hoffman is the one who stuck the needle in and then twisted, over and over and over, deaf to plea after plea after plea, those innocent hearts now forced to endure a lingering pain that subsides but never leaves, their shoulders forced to bear unjustifiable guilt for the rest of their lives over what happened, over which they were powerless to control although they tried to intervene. Indeed, those are the ones who will suffer. Not Mr. Hoffman. He’s at peace now, which seems so totally unfair.
We beg, We plead. We scare. We implore. We insist. We educate. We do everything in our power to tell people — DON’T DO DRUGS. And yet, so many don’t listen.
Well, if they refuse to listen, then there’s ends up being a price to pay. And it’s a brutal price indeed. Once the crystal meth has rotted out someone’s teeth and left the miserable derelict begging for drug money on a street corner, don’t come asking for my sympathy. Because I refuse to give it. They were warned what death looks like. It’s needles and white powder. That’s death.
I am human. I do care. I want to help. Really, I do. But I reserve my compassion for the real victims of society. Wounded war veterans. People with cancer. Impoverished children. Elderly people with no access to care. On and on. They are the people who deserve my compassion, my tax dollars, and my attention. And I’m more than willing to give it to them. And I don’t want any of the resources that could go to those innocent people instead diverted to help idiots who chose to ruin themselves.
So don’t ask me to have sympathy for a junkie. Because they’re the ones who did this to themselves, and all those around them who somehow must find a way to find love when so many hearts have needlessly been broken.
Yeah, rest in peace Mr. Hoffman while everyone around you is now forced to clean up the terrible mess you left behind.