Saturday, February 08, 2014

All That Matters

I wanted to say a few things here about some recent news items that I have very strong opinions on, not that any of what I'm about to say hasn't already been said.  I just want to go on record about where I stand on them.  Some stories just don't have a shelf life as far as I'm concerned.

First I'd like to say something about the death of Philip Seymour Hoffman and the incredible backlash I've seen on social media about his being just another privileged star who killed himself and so on.  Quite simply put, I see my friends when I see Philip Seymour Hoffman.  I see an artist that has fallen victim to a very real addiction that no one has any right to judge the validity of in any way.

And that's simply because he made good art.

I also see a man who in death doesn't need to defend himself from a group of people who are finding the need to politicize it, making divisive claims that fit into a weird Christian agenda that sees both sides posturing according to their beliefs.  I have people on my Facebook and Twitter feeds that are Christians, and most of them are raging alcoholics, yet they don't consider themselves addicts nor do they care about an artist that has done what artists do.  Artists die.

Call me a lifelong Romantic, but there really are such things as tortured artists.  Historically, what has tortured them is substance abuse.  Addicts that were able to somehow compartmentalize their addictions to entertain us in some way created some of our favorite books, films and music.

Which brings me to one of my idols, Woody Allen.  As artists, we can only dream to have been able to produce the body of work that this man has produced while simultaneously having to compartmentalize and navigate through a culture that is more than willing to be the judge and jury.  I don't care what he's done, if the claims are true, or if Woody Allen is not only guilty but a heroin addict like Hoffman.

Unless we're going to do background checks on all of our artists and then judge their art accordingly, I suggest we learn to compartmentalize their personal lives much in the same way the addict does.  Compartmentalizing seems to be one of Woody Allen's many talents.  And after all of this, I can only hope that he can continue to produce the work that he has in this his postcard years (I call them this because all of his movies are like little postcards from around the world lately).

That's it, really.  No main point.  We're all addicts, we've all done shameful things, and the art is mutually exclusive and really all that matters in the end. 


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