Philip Seymour Hoffman – Polarizing Social Media

Philip Seymour HoffmanI’ve had several topics in the last couple of months that surprised me at their polarity.  I’ve recapped a couple of these on the blog here:

I was sort of shocked the other day when I posted (apparently) yet another polarizing topic when I talked about my thoughts on the passing of actor Philip Seymour Hoffman.  Hoffman was a great actor.  I’d go so far as to say one of the top two or three of our generation.  I can’t ever remember seeing him in anything that I didn’t throughly enjoy.  He passed away the other day (SuperBowl Sunday) of a heroin overdose.  Dealing with addiction to nicotine in the past myself, I have what I consider a pretty educated opinion when it comes to drug addiction.  As someone who’s dealt with my issues it bothers me when folks, especially celebrities, are celebratated in death due to drugs.

I posted the following status:

Philip Seymour Hoffman Status

Below is the un-edited discussion that status solicited.  Only last names have been removed:

Philip Seymour Hoffman was a great actor. That said, I’ve got a hard time putting him on a pedestal. Dude died of a drug overdose and left 3 children behind. THAT’S the tragedy.

  • Julie – Agree
  • Alisa – AGREED! 100% I am so tired of hearing about these “tragic” losses of stars who willingly and knowingly ended their lives through extreme drug use. instead of all these stars saying “RIP”, etc, why not spend a few of your millions for programs and PSA to say “This is not alright. The way this person died was a suicide brought on by drug abuse. we do not condone that behavior” yada yada yada but no, everyone wants to cry about the beautiful spirit and the rising star etc that someone was and always leave out the drug abuse. I hated it when Michael Jackson died. If that was anyone else, CPS would’ve stepped in and taken those kids due to his drug activity. He was a narccisstic drug abuser who died a supposed hero to many. *smdh over and over about this crap* river phoenix, michael jackson, john belushi, amy winehouse, chris farley and the list just goes on and on. enough already!
  • Jeremy – Agree totally.
  • Erik – Yes, tragic. The disease of addiction is terrible. I’m glad those who have never suffered from it find it so easy to discard it as something easy to manage or control.
  • Greg – Erik I’m not disregarding it at all. I’m merely suggesting that the “tragedy” in this story is that a family lost their father… not that Hollywood lost an actor.
  • Alisa – it is a disease and people need treatment. no one is disregarding the disease of addiction but IMHO, i can’t believe the idolization that occurs.
  • David – I’ve never met anyone who purchased and injected cancer into their veins. Just sayin.
  • Frank – And if he had died from over-eating, from being obese, should the reaction be different? Or would there still be the condescending tone of living in that glass house? People make choices everyday. A large group of people acknowledged this man because OF HOW HE ACTS, not because he walked on water.
  • Alisa – it’s not just this man, it’s the way that we hold all these people in such high esteem with their drug and alcohol problems. In ohio, we are dealing with a heroin epidemic. I would love to see these stars speak out against it and not talk about how wonderful everyone is but rather focus on the problem. is there something wrong with addressing the problem instead of sweeping it under the rug because they were great actors or musicians? they do have an impact on today’s youth so they should use their soapboxes to speak out against it!
  • Sarah – I think the tragedy is that this human being suffered immensely and could not find the sense of wholeness that (imho) he was searching for by using the drugs,. nor could he find completion in being a father. The other tragedy is also handed down to those children, as they have been living this hurt as well, and will continue to be affected by it even after their father’s pain is over. As someone who has battled addiction and found my way through to the other side, it is immensely painful to know that there are human beings on this earth who do not make it through. the value we place on other humans shouldn’t be how ‘talented’ they are or what they can contribute back to society, it should be that they exist. period. *stepping down off soapbox*
  • Carrie – I honestly could not agree more. I’ve heard people say how “surprised” they are and shocked that he’s dead. I’m not surprised or shocked. He did herion…it kills you. No surprise or shock.
  • Joe – Amen, that is true. I also find it so sad that will all that fame and money it couldn’t get well. He was sick.
  • Steven – people may not inject the cancer, but they sure do have a knack for inhaling it, chewing it, drinking it and eating it.  i’m with erik and frank on this – i see nothing wrong with remembering somebody for the positive impact that they had on their art form. to say he was a fantastic actor doesn’t diminish or celebrate his addiction. also, we’re not talking about charlie sheen or lyndsey lohan. he was actually honest about his struggles but ultimately unable to overcome them.
  • Matthew – I don’t disagree that leaving his family behind is the saddest part, but I’ll still put the guy on a pedestal all day long. Not for making poor life choices because of his addiction, but in the only way i ever knew him which was as one of the finest actors I’ve ever seen. I think it’s fair to separate the two, which some people can’t seem to do. Some people hate Sean Penn for his activism or Tom Cruise for his spooky religious beliefs, but I don’t know them in that capacity so I’m in no position to judge. Frankly, I don’t even really care. I know them as actors, and enjoy them as such. Same with PSH. He was amazing at his craft, one of the best, and it’s unfortunate he won’t be around to share that any more.

My friend Scott (who’s also a fellow member and fellow contributor) wrote this article which I think sums it up much better than I did in my status.  Regardless of where you stand on the drug issue, we’ve lost a great actor, and 3 children have lost a father.  Rest in peace Philip.

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