Of Actors, Artists and Addicts


Artists by their very nature require a certain solipsistic attitude. It is the very fiber of their craft to say nothing of the time, devotion, and “alone” time just to perform and perfect their instrument. There is nothing evil or wrong in it,  although it doesn’t make them particularly great neighbors, parents, husbands, church deacons, etc.  Hoffman was very upfront about his addictions and often commented had he  been famous or rich much younger he would have been dead that much earlier, too! The reason many artists are addicts is because the two can be intertwined psychologically and even genetically. The very thing that drove them to addiction drives them to be artists and vice versa. It never goes away and is only accelerated or abated by various social economic and psychological conditions. To ask if he loved, or lived, or transcended himself is perfectly fine, but to answer or judge them for not being otherwise causes so many more complications.  Hoffman presaged his early death and spoke about it as though it were a premonition of sorts. As with the late Cory Monteith, one of the inherent problems seems to be in their post-rehab treatment. An addict becomes sober and  detoxes for a time, but when they relapse they go right back into their old dosage and inadvertently kill themselves. I think that’s imminently more addressable, for the rest of us,  than the deeper, more ontological questions as to why they’re addicts, artists or even actors in the first place.


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