It’s happened again. Another celebrity who did himself in with a drug overdose, and the media are fevered to saturate us with details.
This time it’s actor Philip Seymour Hoffman. It would seem he was in the “he had everything going for him” class. Not anymore.
With each new repeat of the same story line, we are lectured about the absolute loss of choice and control that the “disease,” called addiction, yields. Experts tell us of the provable physiological changes in the brain of an addict. The layman can hardly refute the research, but it simply boils down to that first step – that one factor: choice.
I’ve yet to see any data showing that people who succumb to the evils of chemicals just one day at the age of 8, 12 or 20 were grabbed by an irresistible urge to ingest a substance that had otherwise been foreign to them. Instead the scenario is that they chose to experiment, and many then continued, and one day they were hooked.
With all of the electronic communications and avenues that exist to send and receive information in a nanosecond, this modern society is supposed to be the most informed ever. That end product is highly debatable.
The vast majority of the major media have and continue to fail enormously when they report on these endless “accidental” deaths. Think of Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson, Curt Cobain and Heath Ledger to name a few. One vivid memory is Whitney Houston being well into her drug life, appearing on Oprah in a foggy state, gyrating that she would “pawtay.” Yes, and “pawtay” she certainly did. Shame on Oprah; Houston should have never been before the camera that day for the entire world to see.
With the exception of one report, I am unable to recall any solid, hard-hitting message telling the public, especially young people: “This is what NOT to do,” following up with: “These dead celebrities possessed more talents, opportunities and resources than most people on this planet, and they chose to waste all of them.”
The menu for the outcomes of using (and especially, abusing) drugs is pretty limited.
The media provide a huge disservice in trying to evoke sympathy for the user. Count me as one of the many who has grown weary of what seems to be an incumbency upon us to feel pity for those lost souls.
Sympathy is for the caring families that surround the abusing addicts. How horrible for parents, spouses, children and even good friends to be placed in the frightening and helpless position of feeling like there just must be one more thing to do – one more thing I’m not seeing, and so on. They are actually the victims.
The same cannot be said for the Lindsay Lohans and Justin Biebers of the world. Their parents are on the gravy train, and that train is a wreck waiting to happen.
As long as the media promote celebrities-gone-bad as wild and “cool,” the destruction will not be reported as real life.
Betty Arenson has lived in the SCV since 1968 and describes herself as a conservative who’s concerned about progressives’ politics and their impacts on the country, her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She says she is unashamed to own a gun or a Bible, couldn’t care less about the color of the president’s skin, and demands that he uphold his oath to protect and follow the Constitution of the United States in its entirety. Her commentary publishes Fridays.