Philip Seymour Hoffman (1967-2014)

» Today being the Ides of March (.. something that probably means little to anybody but me) .. I feel compelled to at least mention the death of Philip Seymour Hoffman.

Philip Seymour Hoffman (1967-2014)Beyond the grief that comes from the loss of anyone at such a young age (he was 46; my mom was 47 when she died) ..

.. and who was a father with such young children at home .. in which the word 'tragedy' always comes to mind ..

.. he was considered among the most talented actors of his generation .. if not thee most talented.

It seems somewhat ironic that I see similarities between the actor and the Dog .. which I will detail shortly. (Both are NYC boys for starters.)

But basically it is his honest straightforwardness that makes me see the Dog in him.

I am talking about interviews that people have done with him. Especially the 2006 60 Minutes interview with Steve Kroft where they meet in Greenwich Village at 8AM.

So the fact that PSH is/was an ACTOR .. portraying masterfully something that HE IS NOT .. that seems to me to contain an interesting paradox.

The folks at 60 Minutes must have also been struck by this paradox because they lead off their segment with Hoffman saying » "If I can make you believe that this thing that is NOT happening is really happening .. then I've done my job."

This paradox that I am referring to does not seem easy to put into words. I have been waiting for my thoughts on him to form .. to gel .. to take form. At first, there was just lots of emotion. Confusing emotions.

He died February 2nd. Groundhog day. (You gotta be kidding me.) Some six weeks ago.

Part of me has been secretly hoping that my feelings on the subject would pass, so I could just forget the whole (unfortunate, sad, depressing) thing. (It's not like I don't already have plenty of compelling things to write about.) But this was not to be.

••• today's entry continues here below •••

Philip Seymour Hoffman Laughing (1967-2014)Another part of me was reluctant to start .. because I could see how it might be difficult to stop.

I am concerned that this entry will grow and grow and grow.

But I could see that I would have no peace without addressing it.

Cuz that openness and honesty is the thing that I love about the Dog ..

.. especially when so many people are trying so hard to convince you that they are something they are not.

Or when they try to convince you that they ARE NOT something that they really are.

And when they try to convince themselves .. of these things.

If they cannot even be honest with themselves, they sure as hell arent going to be honest with you .. even if they would like to be.

Their ability [ both the Dog's and PSH's ] to give you a thoughtful, straightforward, honest answer, brutally honest, at times, to the best of their ability ..

.. and to exceed your expectations doing it .. that impresses me.

It impresses the shit out of me. It inspires me. It even awe's me, at times .. because I know how hard it can be. How difficult.

And how difficult it can be to get there. To get to the place where you are even CAPABLE OF delivering such an answer. Such an honest, straightforward answer. More difficult than it looks. Much more.

Philip Seymour Hoffman (1967-2014) Bearded, Intelligent Eyes LeftSo how PSH manages to pull that off .. becoming another person. Is it all just an illusion?

Does he not seem like a great guy just to hang out with ..

.. and talk about whatever crazy shit happens to come up? That's kinda how I feel about the Dog.

No matter how you might approach it, his untimely death represents a huge loss.

Did not his talent evoke a sense of awe? Like he was just visiting .. from another planet. That shit must be very inspiring for the actors of today and tomorrow.

Earlier today I was writing about » the writer behind the writer. With PSH, I feel like » the actor behind the actor is not really an actor. Rather, he is a real person. A very real person.

I remember seeing Cate Blanchett saying in an interview (something like) » "I dont take it [ all the feelings associated with acting ]. Rather I give it TO THEM [ the audience ].

Which strikes me as curious .. cuz it sure does SEEM LIKE she is taking it on herself. But I also heard that PSH did not take his work home with him.

Joaquin, Mom and River Phoenix in NYCAlong these lines, I heard that it was perhaps an inability to separate [ 'detach'? ] ..

.. from his character as the thing that ate at River Phoenix (.. who I dont really know very much about ..

.. but who I have heard the Dog mention .. more than once ..

.. the drug-death usually being involved in the conversation in some way).

He was the older brother of Joaquin. Casey married into the family. And Casey is a New England boy. So is PSH.

I feel like I 'get' most New England boys. (Cuz I are one.) I get them without even trying.

Getting Kicked Out of the House » Fucks You Up

And then when I heard that the mother of PSH's children kicked him out of the house .. well, I felt like I could relate even better.

But if PSH was able to detach from his roles like a true pro .. what it is that killed him?

By that I mean .. what was the pain that he was trying to escape from? .. knowing full-well that the drug might kill him. [ The needle and the damage done. ]

Phillip Seymour Hoffman talks to boy in strollerMust have been the rift with the mother of his children.

That can definitely fuck you up. (Notice what Dostoevsky said about being with children.)

Both the Dog and PSH, interestingly enough, had come to a point in their lives, rather early on ..

.. where they each confronted the unfortunate predicament » sobriety or death.

I am talking about sobriety in all its manifold chemical forms. Not just alcohol .. tho certainly that was a problem.

And we all know that there are things a man won't do until he is confronted by death.

And it seems like they both had a thing for injecting plant derivatives that make their awful pain go away ..

.. for a while, anyway. Quite understandable, from a certain perspective.

The Dog Responds to » the Death of Philip Seymour Hoffman

Phillips Seymour Hoffman holds his daughter at the beachI asked the Dog if the (overdose) death of PSH had affected him. He replied (via email):

"I actually felt the impact of his death pretty significantly. I've liked his work from way back.

I was saddened and frightened to see what had happened, despite having kids he really loved. Makes me question my own self-control."

Perhaps now you can see the irony of ironies .. when I tell you that the Dog's Masters degree (from USC) .. is in » Safety. Industrial safety. HardHatsVille. I totally give him shit about that.

But there does exist a certain poetic balance .. in the Dog's pursuit of a career in safety, no?

Do not these two photos of PSH with his kids make you feel that he is a snickerdoodle dad?

Philip Seymour Hoffman with a far-off stareRest in peace, Philip Seymour Hoffman. We will miss you. We miss you already. ■

Here are three other photos that I liked or found telling »

  1. photo_01
  2. photo_02
  3. photo_03

Update » Staring at the Flame (Le Carré)

Update July 17, 2014 » John Le Carré wrote a fascinating piece on his experience with PSH ..

.. see here » Staring at the Flame ..

.. a title I find curious .. given the final image here that I have posted.

Le Carré seems to confirm what the Dog and I have suspected. I could feel the heaviness of sadness forming inside as I read the article.

I can still feel it. I feel like crying.

Thanks, John. It's not the sadness that I appreciate.

Are you vibing off my entry? .. with your title? My ego says that you are. I don't believe it, of course.

Thanks again for the piece. It helps.

Oh, I just saw the trailer. So weird to see PSH in a newly released movie (alive) after he died.

The film has strong reviews, but I can't find any local theaters that showing it.

Update Sept 3, 2014 » Julianne Moore in Map to the Stars

Only tangentially related, but this is good enough that I want to capture it here ..

.. regarding Julianne Moore starring in an upcoming Cronenberg film titled Map to the Stars. See here » It's Not Me, It's the Story.

I've always liked her and admired her work. I don't think that PSH would object to my mentioning this article here in his tribute.

Re Cronenberg see » here.

The smartest programer-dude who I ever traded messages with (Nigel from New Zealand) and who helped me with some of the more puzzling aspects of programming ..

.. specifically mentioned Cronenberg as a director he admired.

For more along these lines, here is a Google search preconfigured for the query » philip seymour hoffman.

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This page contains a single entry by Rad published on March 15, 2014 3:15 AM.

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