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WHAT OTHERS SAY: Phillip Seymour Hoffman followed others down path to self-destruction

Thursday, February 6, 2014 | 6:00 a.m. CST

When the curtain finally fell on the life of Philip Seymour Hoffman, the American actor whose talent outshone his sleepy looks, tousled hair and rumpled clothes, it was a matter of sorrow but not surprise.

The Academy Award winner had said as far back as in 2006 that he had gone to rehab when he was just 22, after persistent drug and alcohol abuse as a college student. In that candid interview, Hoffman, then 38, had admitted that he used to abuse anything he could get his hands on, liking it all.

So on Sunday when he was found dead in the bathroom of his Manhattan apartment and investigators discovered 70 caches of heroin as well as prescription drugs, the conclusion was inevitable that he had died of a drug overdose.

Hoffman was known for his stellar performance in films like "Capote," which won him the Oscar for best actor, "Charlie Wilson's War," and "Before the Devil Knows You're Dead."

With his death, the 46-year-old joins the list of stars like Heath Ledger, Amy Winehouse and Michael Jackson whose personal demons proved stronger than all the fame, riches and adulation they had attained.

Hoffman's exit once again triggers the wonder that all such deaths do. What drives men and women, who have everything the average man and woman would die to possess, to self-destruction?

Some, when they chase the slippery and fiercely competitive path to showbiz success, seek help in substance abuse for courage, stamina, wish fulfillment, or whatever it is that they search for in the early stages of their career.

Some do it in a spirit of adventurous experimentation, some because it is regarded as an essential prop for artists and performers, from painters to athletes. However once embraced, few have the will power or ability to let go of them. The result is a colossal waste of talent and life.

Hoffman's death comes a month after the state of Colorado legalized the sale of cannabis for recreational use. Though there are restrictions on the sale — the buyer has to be 21 or above and the drug can't be consumed in public — there are reservations about the state move.

Critics are apprehensive that the drug, when freely available, will cause psychiatric problems, especially among the young. The persistent spate of Hoffmans requires greater soul-searching by a society that, despite being the largest economy in the world, seems to carry an enormous burden of trauma, need and frustration.

Copyright Khaleej Times in Dubai. Distributed by the Associated Press.


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Comments

Tony Black February 6, 2014 | 7:22 a.m.

Really? Some idiot overdoses on heroin and this writer instantly connects it to the legalization of marijuana? Of course they are from Dubia, which is just slightly behind the times, in all senses of the word, than Missouri. Gateway drug. If people would be honest, which most are not, what did they try first, cigarettes, alcohol or pot? And how many of these people have tried pot, didn't get addicted, but won't admit it. What drivel from the Missourian.

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams February 6, 2014 | 7:37 a.m.

TonyB: Yeah, the article seems a gross overreaction to a single event much like the overreaction of anti-2nd Amendment folks when some dumbass shoots up a school or theater.

PS: The comment "seems to carry an enormous burden of trauma, need and frustration" isn't too far off, tho.

(Report Comment)
Tony Black February 6, 2014 | 7:43 a.m.

So Michael, you are equating this overdose to the massacre of 20 kindergarteners. Real classy.

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams February 6, 2014 | 7:55 a.m.

TonyB: You're the one who posted, "Some idiot overdoses on heroin and this writer instantly connects it to the legalization of marijuana?"

And, I agreed with you.

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams February 6, 2014 | 8:04 a.m.

TonyB: The similarity is folks who take an event and extrapolate it more generally. Such an extrapolation is unwarranted.

As you pointed out, the number of people trying pot and doing fine with it far exceeds those who move on to other drugs and die.

Similarly, the number of people owning/carrying guns in a responsible manner far exceeds those who shoot up a school or theater.

It's the extrapolation that is...as you said... a gross overreaction. About as logical as your "classy" slur.

(Report Comment)
Tony Black February 6, 2014 | 8:39 a.m.

Uhmmm, the writer went there, not me. I simply commented on it. You, however, overdose = pot = dead kids.

(Report Comment)
Tony Black February 6, 2014 | 8:43 a.m.

That's why we can't have reasonable debates anymore. 2 cases of people going to the extreme, with nothing meaningful comingfrom it.

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams February 6, 2014 | 9:11 a.m.

Well, if we extrapolated your "point" to a target, your bullet missed it.

Sheesh, you don't even like it when someone agrees with you.

Of course, what has you riled is you think I equated "overdose = pot = dead kids (from shooting)."

No, I didn't. I noted the "thought" similarities between the unwarranted leap of logic made by the author of this editorial and the unwarranted leap of logic made by folks after a shooting massacre. In both cases, folks jump off an illogical cliff, usually to make some sort of hidden-agenda political point.

I could have also used TSA and NSA over-reactions as my examples.

(Report Comment)
Tony Black February 6, 2014 | 11:09 a.m.

You brought a gun to a pot fight! LOL. MY point is why do people insist on changing the subject. The discussion is about drugs, not guns. And before somone jumps on it, the only thing guns and drugs have to do with each other is prohibition.

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams February 6, 2014 | 3:59 p.m.

"The discussion is about drugs, not guns."
________________

No, the discussion (which you initiated) is about "and this writer instantly connects it to the legalization of marijuana?"

It's about jumping to conclusions, extrapolating beyond the range of the standard curve, and having a full-blown panic attack....which the author of this article did.

I'm absolutely convinced that if I had used US overreactions to terrorists (TSA and NSA) as my examples, you and I would not be having this discussion because you would agree with me.

But, I used overreactions to guns.

And THAT is an area you overreact. Your over-reactive ox got gored.

The discussion is about overreaction to single events that results in a grossly exaggerated response...such as in this editorial.

That's the ONLY comparison I made. My discussion is neither about guns or drugs. It's about logical and rational responses....or the lack thereof.

Which, of course, was your point, too.

(Report Comment)
Tony Black February 6, 2014 | 4:49 p.m.

Too bad you did't use a different example. But we all see what you went with. So, since you keep harping on it, you think the gun legislation pushed for after Sandy Hook was "about jumping to conclusions, extrapolating beyond the range of the standard curve, and having a full-blown panic attack? Sorry man, 20 dead kids is none of the above.

(Report Comment)
Tony Black February 6, 2014 | 7:19 p.m.

Michael, after getting home and pondering other examples, I see where you are coming from. I offer my apology. Guns are one of those very conflicting things for me and I do get testy too easily.

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams February 6, 2014 | 7:28 p.m.

I wish the shooter had survived. I would have liked to have seen him cook.

You say knee-jerk, anti-gun legislative reactions to 20 dead kids is NOT "about jumping to conclusions, extrapolating beyond the range of the standard curve, and having a full-blown panic attack."

In a nation of 310,000,000, oh yes it is. Compared to how many thousands of kids killed by automobiles, oh yes it is. Or accidental poisonings. Or falling. Or disease.

Oh yes it is.

Your solutions, those legislative solutions, mean exactly squat. There is NO defense against those willing to die in the midst of their mayhem.

None.

Best you learn and remember that, else all you do is end up tilting at windmills and "feeling good" because you DID something, even if it is damnphoolish.

If you don't like the 2nd Amendment....change it by following the procedures outlined in the Constitution. No other process is acceptable to me.

PS: Your concern for kids on THIS side of the birth canal is touching. As for those on the other side under the knife of a...gag...physician, not so much.

You are inconsistent.

(Report Comment)
Tony Black February 6, 2014 | 8:02 p.m.

And you say I can't agree with You? Oh well, done pig wrestling. Good night.

(Report Comment)

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