If you’re hip and media savvy enough to read The Aquarian—which is pretty hip and media savvy in my eyes, let alone of good taste—then you’re probably already aware of who Philip Seymour Hoffman was, and already aware as well of the fact that he died this past weekend, which is why I say “was” instead of “is.” If I’m wrong about this and you picked up the paper this week as a fluke thing, first of all, welcome, and second, Philip Seymour Hoffman was an actor who died of a drug overdose.
That’s probably all you need to know about him. That’s how he’ll be remembered. Not as Scotty J. in Boogie Nights, or Truman Capote in Capote, or even Brandt in The Big Lebowski. He’ll be another famous person who couldn’t take all the millions of dollars he made and put it toward not doing drugs. Heath Ledger’s also-dead ass just walked by and waved.
I guess the thing to do here is eulogize the guy or something, but seriously, fuck that. Here’s someone who had all the resources in the world at his disposal, could afford to go anywhere, do anything, whatever it might be, and (supposedly) they found him with a needle in his arm. At a certain point, you just have to accept the fact that some people want to be fuckups. They want to waste their lives, their talents, whatever measure of talent they might have—though Hoffman was Mumbly Jim in almost every part he played like he was fatally allergic to enunciation or something, he was also legitimately talented—and that maybe in the long term we’re better off when they die because at least then those who were worried or hurt by their willful fuckedupness can move on with their own, unfuckedup lives. I know that sounds cold, but don’t you think Philip Seymour Hoffman could’ve put himself in a room, hired someone to stand outside and said, “Okay you have to keep me in this room forever so I don’t do drugs,” if he wanted to?
Yes, I know breaking addiction isn’t that easy, but the point is that whatever it took, he could’ve done it. Maybe he didn’t plan on the overdose that killed him—maybe he did; at press time we don’t know—but I hate the expectation that I’m supposed to be like, “Oh it’s a tragedy” that a dude who could’ve done more for himself didn’t. Sucks that a life was lost. Sucks for those who were close to him or those who were touched by his work. Does it suck more than the 90 people who were killed in Syria this past weekend when the government forces dropped explosive barrels on civilians? Nope, sorry. The dude who paid Plutarch Heavensbee in The Hunger Games doesn’t win that one.
I’ve known enough addicts in my time, lost people I’ve loved and seen others destroyed, to know that after you’ve done what you can, you just have to let someone kill themselves if they want to do it. If that’s where Philip Seymour Hoffman was, or if he wanted to get help but “couldn’t” for whatever reason, at least dying was a cheaper option.