The death of Phillip Seymour Hoffman: Hollywood will learn nothing
HOUSTON, February 18, 2014 — Actor Philip Seymour Hoffman recently died from a drug overdose. Pious tributes came in, and the internet was filled with people who waxed poetic about how tragic his death was.
Sometimes the heartless cynics deserve to have the last word. Seymour, like many celebrities before him, loved drugs more than his family. He left behind a wife and child because they were less important to him than recreational pharmaceuticals.
He probably loved his family. He just loved drugs more. If his death had occurred 50 years ago, people could claim a lack of knowledge of what drugs do. Nobody would fault people from smoking in the 1930s and 1940s because the damage from cigarettes was not known to the public at that time.
The perils of drugs are well-established.
The 1960s flower children glorified Woodstock as something positive, rather than a celebration of breaking down American society. In the months and years following Woodstock, the music industry.saw Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, and Jim Morrison all overdose.
Professional sports was rocked in 1986 by a pair of cocaine overdoses only eight days apart. Only 40 hours after achieving his lifelong dream of being drafted by the NBA’s Boston Celtics, Len Bias was dead.
The next week, hours before his wedding, the NFL’s Don Rogers of the Cleveland Browns died.
The 1990s saw music infected by the Seattle grunge scene, where drugs were celebrated as cool. Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam showed up at the MTV Video Music Awards stoned and compounded this idiocy by cavalierly announcing his lack of lucidity. Drug use during the grunge era claimed Blind Melon lead singer Shannon Hoon and Smashing Pumpkins keyboardist Jonathan Melvoin among many others.
The 21st century featured more narcissists who thought they were invincible. Drug deaths were for other people, but could never possibly happen to them. President Obama took cocaine as a young man. He lived because he was lucky. Actor Charlie Sheen has had near fatal overdoses but also been incredibly lucky.
Singer Whitney Houston was not so lucky. One of the most beloved entertainers in the world, Houston’s descent into drug use led to her overdosing at age 48 in a Beverly Hills hotel bathtub (February 11, 2012). She began 2012 as the mother to a beautiful teenage daughter. Six weeks later, her daughter was an orphan.
On July 13, 2013, a young man with everything to live for, 31-year old actor Cory Monteith of Glee fatally overdosed.
While drug abuse itself is not political, liberals have for decades advocated for the legalization of drugs. President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder are doing everything possible to legalize drugs, including ignoring federal law sand refusing to prosecute low-level drug crimes.
Libertarians want drugs legalized, and even some conservatives are prepared to surrender in the war on drugs.
First Lady Nancy Reagan was openly mocked by the left for her “just say no” campaign despite it being successful. The message was clear. Ronald Reagan was uncool, an old-fashioned square. Drugs had to be cool. Doing drugs was just partying.
Those pushing to legalizing drugs have no business telling the rest of us to accept their destructive behavior as a personal choice. Promoting and consuming death products is not cool, and those who die are not tragic losses. Tragedies are children with cancer and wounded American veterans. Rich people with too much time, too much money, and too much narcissism need to be turned into pariahs, not lionized.
Seymour Hoffman may have been a great actor. He may have even been a great person. For now, he is just another dead celebrity. The real tragedy is that celebrity drug users will learn nothing from his death.
The next overdose is upon us any day now, with pious lamentations to follow the day after and life-altering behavior that preserves life to occur never.