Wednesday, February 5, 2014

The Martyrdom of Philip Seymour Hoffman

The emerging details of Phillip Seymour's death paint a sordid picture:

- an out of control heroine addict, found dead on the floor of his bathroom with a needle still stuck in his arm, dangling uselessly;

- banished from his household by the mother of his children to a $9,700 a month apartment so that his decomposition would not be so evident to his progeny's young minds;

- at least 50 bags of heroin, 5 of which were open, discovered by police in his uber-upscale digs (hardly a back alley smelling of urine and garbage).
If a hidden camera had followed his moves and moods in the time before his death, the myth of the eerily talented actor would be shattered by the site of a man resembling any strung out junky; hardly the exceptional being he appeared to portray on the screen and in press interviews.

I felt more dismay than sadness when the news popped up on every electronic device in my household. Smart people are supposed to be smart. The fact that superior intelligence doesn't equal common sense, or keen insight, didn't quell my dismay or self-righteousness.

But then another angle arose from the depths of my subconscious computer, who is so good at putting together the puzzle pieces when my conscious mind is busy sidelining itself with random judgements.

With the incredible lens of media attention now focusing on the scourge of addiction and widespread use of heroin, perhaps his death had a purpose. Just maybe in the grand scheme of the universe, his brilliance in life balanced out with a brilliant performance in death: the role of a fallen dissolute who was once a shining star. His last act is making society look squarely in the face of addiction and its horrific dysfunction.

Could it be that with the landslide of media discussion now centering around his death and its cause, someone in this world might initiate more thoughtful care and a cure for the drug disabled? If so, then in his death, Philip Seymour Hoffman will have become a martyr for the cause.

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