Philip Seymour Hoffman’s Addiction and Death, and Our Culture of Stigma and Hypocrisy

Three years ago today. Still valid.

life writ large

Philip Seymour Hoffman’s death this week (2nd February) has elicited two types of responses from my Facebook timeline. The one, that Hoffman’s death is a tragedy, an all too brutal and glaring reminder of the power of addiction (he was sober for over 20 years and relapsed only last year). The other response: that the media attention given to Hoffman’s death is outrageous and inappropriate given that he was a privileged junkie who died from a self-inflicted indulgence. The last is a response that is pervasive in society at large and is based on a stigmatisation of addiction and addicts that is frightening. But what is more frightening is the message about vulnerability that underlies this stigma.

In my response I will not be tackling Hoffman’s life, addiction or death. Firstly, I am not a fan of the cult of celebrity because however long we’ve spent with Mr Hoffman…

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