Sunday, February 2, 2014

R.I.P. Philip Seymour Hoffman

This sucks.

As a writer, I generally pride myself on finding the right words for an occasion, on expressing myself with something resembling wit or grace or creativity. But right now, all I can say is that this sucks. Because the life of a man – any man really – demands elaboration, let me elaborate.

This sucks because of all the great performances we will never see. This sucks because of all the great performances we have that leave us wanting more.

But mostly this sucks because of the wife and three children who are left behind and who, because her husband and their father was a well-respected and well-known man, must share their grief with the world.

We do not know what happened in that apartment, and we do not know what happened in his mind. We will not ever know. It is not for us to know. Somehow, consumers of pop culture have got it into their heads that celebrities owe us something – information, access, anything. They do not. The debt really should run the other direction.

The best actors devote their lives, their sanity, their very being to creating vast works of art on an ever-changing canvas. We mostly consume that art in two hours or less and move on to the next piece.

Losing Philip Seymour Hoffman today is painful to me as a consumer and fan of his art. He is one of my favorites and always will be. He is one of the greats and always will be. Losing him hurts, and it should.

But while the world lost a performer and the screen lost an artist, a woman lost her husband, and three children lost their father.

So let’s keep our pain in perspective and our priorities in order. Still, this sucks.

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