This past week, Hollywood actor, Phillip Seymour Hoffman died of a drug overdose.
Found inside Hoffman’s room were numerous bags of heroin, each of which might have ultimately killed him if his final dosage had been unsuccessful.
Ever since the man’s death, we have been subjected to reports from the media, comments of celebrities and acquaintances who called the man a genius.
As someone who has lost people close to me, I certainly understand their feelings and kind expressions of regret.
But Hoffman wasn’t a genius; Hoffman was a fool.
Geniuses don’t kill themselves by doing drugs.
Geniuses don’t put needles in their arms, light up, or inhale powder up their noses.
The list of talented people who have killed themselves with drugs and alcohol is endless: Ernest Hemingway, Elvis Presley, John Candy, Whitney Houston, John Belushi, Michael Jackson, Hank Williams, Keith Whitley, just to name a few.
The list could go on and on.
I truly do not understand the mindset that says, “I’m rich and famous now. Let’s do drugs.”
There’s not enough wealth, fame, power, or peer pressure in this world to make me ingest, inhale, or inject drugs into my body.
As an author, I know a number of people in the publishing community who seem to think drugs and alcohol abuse are somehow synonymous with creativity.
I, however, think they are exactly the opposite.
Drugs and alcohol do not enhance creativity; they stifle it.
Creative and talented people don’t have to be self-destructive in order to achieve success. Fame, wealth, and achievement don’t necessarily require one to die.
I believe that all talent comes down to Man from above. Those who have it are blessed with it. They are entrusted with it. They are stewards of it.
Gifted people who squander their talent on self-destructive behavior are stupid and selfish, depriving others of their presence and the chance to further enjoy their work.
Another thing that disturbs me about this most recent pointless death is the incessant need of the authorities, after some celebrity’s overdose, to furiously go after the deceased’s drug dealers, like they are the ones who killed him. It is much more zeal than they often employ when an ordinary citizen dies from their evil trade.
The problem with this approach is that it makes the dead celebrity appear that he is simply an innocent victim, who shared absolutely none of the responsibility for his own premature demise.
Nobody made Phillip Seymour Hoffman take heroin at gunpoint. Nobody held Michael Jackson down and forced him to take a powerful sedative. Nobody forced whiskey down the throat of Keith Whitley.
These people all willingly chose to walk down this dark path for themselves.
Chronic drug abuse is suicide on the installment plan.
It’s not funny. It’s not genius. It’s not creative.
And it should never be praised or celebrated.
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