Phillip Seymour Hoffman: Adjusting the Focus

February 6, 2014
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Above: Phillip Seymour Hoffman. Image by s_bukley /

As a result of losing a truly talented very famous American actor, the media is full of stories about addiction. Facebook shows a clear divide between people who believe that drugs and drug addictions are selfish, inconsiderate paths to all that we abhor, and those who feel compassion for those who suffer from addictions.

What is not being discussed is that it is truly none of our business how a famous person chooses to go. It’s the massive rubbernecking into these poor people’s lives that frequently creates the need for an escape. Our constant camera lens into everything they do has got to have an impact on their insecurities, has got to highlight their sense of inadequacy.

Phillip Seymour Hoffman
Phillip Seymour Hoffman. Image by Dan Kosmayer /

I’ve read many of the speculations surrounding the death of the man in question. Placing blame is a prominent commentary. How could he have left his children? Have there been any arrests made in connection with the fatality? He was clearly destined for this fate as a person who had previously been in rehab… I’ve read comments about the state of his body when he was found dead, as if his weight or the quality of his flesh were not entirely personal topics.

Many of us have suffered from depression and/or know someone who has turned to drugs of some kind as a relief from the things that seem unbearable. Most of us would be devastated to have this portrayal of ourselves as an obituary. If your sister overdosed in the bathroom I’d be willing to bet that wouldn’t be the information you’d write up for the paper.

Would it be possible to celebrate the artists who inspire us without putting a magnifying glass up to the pores of their flesh? Could we simply say that a wonderful actor has died and that his contributions to theatre and cinema will be sorely missed? Can we mourn the loss of a truly talented individual without dissecting him completely?

More importantly, can we allow these people to live without cutting them to pieces?

It is with heartfelt sadness that a great actor, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, has left the stage.

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