Russell Brand tears through BS on Philip Seymour Hoffman death

Remarkable, innit, how a cockney glamour boy who used to do nothing but get on my tits has emerged as one of the clearest thinkers on our global mediascape.

Writing in today’s Guardian, Russell Brand has produced a column about the death of Philip Seymour Hoffman that tears through the forensic obsessions and pop psychologizing of most press coverage.

In a piece titled "Philip Seymour Hoffman is another victim of extremely stupid drug laws", Brand states:

“... we will now be subjected to mourn-ography posing as analysis. I can assure you that there is no as yet undiscovered riddle in his domestic life or sex life, the man was a drug addict and his death inevitable.”

The balance of Brand’s column will surprise no one acquainted with his politics, his own addiction, or his advocacy of enlightened drug programs, all of which prompted a visit to Vancouver’s Insite supervised injection facility when the comic was in Vancouver last August with his Messiah Complex tour.

He continues: “What prohibition achieves is an unregulated, criminal-controlled, sprawling, global mob-economy, where drug users, their families and society at large are all exposed to the worst conceivable version of this regrettably unavoidable problem.”

“Would Hoffman have died if this disease were not so enmeshed in stigma?” (Readers are invited to stare in wonder at some of the comments appended to Travis Lupick's relevant article, here.)

Meanwhile, screenwriter Aaron Sorkin provided a thoughtful piece to Time magazine—generally a venue where I wouldn’t expect to find any clarity on anything. Also an addict, Sorkin recalls huddling with Hoffman during “mini-AA meetings” on the set of 2007 film Charlie Wilson’s War.   

“I told him I felt lucky because I'm squeamish and can't handle needles. He told me to stay squeamish. And he said this: 'If one of us dies of an overdose, probably 10 people who were about to won't.' He meant that our deaths would make news and maybe scare someone clean."

Sorkin adds: "He didn't die because he was partying too hard or because he was depressed—he died because he was an addict on a day of the week with a y in it."

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