Awkward reality of fallen movie "stars"

Add Philip Seymour Hoffman to list of celebrities who have died from drug-related incidents. Add to the list of incredible talents perished too soon. Most importantly - Add him to the list of people you should never revere just because they play pretend on a big screen.

I loved Hoffman's work. I thought he brought a certain characteristic to his roles that only he could achieve, properly with an obsessive work ethic, quirky tendencies, and an awareness known by few in the world of movies. Although he won an Oscar for his role in Capote, he'll always be a character-actor to me. A guy who could steal a movie as the sidekick or even with a cameo if he had to. But that's where the love ends, and should always end. Whatever caused his fall to drugs years ago, and to that which he ultimately succumbed, I don't really know. I'm not going to speculate or dream up a scapegoat to blame. He's the one to blame. He turned to drugs, alcohol, and other vices. It's a damn shame considering his talent.

Hoffman is added to the list that owns several names - John Belushi, Heath Ledger, Chris Farley, Judy Garland, Chris Penn, River Phoenix...a few known names. The list is far more robust.

Yet, regardless of example after example, we don't wise up as listeners, viewers, or fans of their respective art. We don't wise up to the simple fact: these people are not heroes, or stars, or worthy of the reverence that should be redirected to teachers, fire fighters, policemen, parents, or any benevolent soul that changes a life for a day. Or brings a smile to a passing stranger.

Of course, be entertained and enjoy their work. But let that be the end of it. Want proof? Scroll through social media and find endless fan pages or websites. Read the eternal hellfire of comments after a False Idol posts an update to Twitter or Facebook. There is artificial love, as if it were the most important message of the fan's day. I find it pathetic. A few examples...

"Can you follow me??????"

"I LOVE YOU SO MUCH. YOU'RE SO BEAUTIFUL!"

"OMG, WHAT A GREAT PICTURE! SO PRETTY!"

"Hey, how are u doing? can i just a reply from u???"

I rarely need to troll for these comments, because the comments come too often and are too easily found - as if I need any more proof that we're a misguided society. The Land of overused punctuation and abbreviated words. I feel sorry for the English teachers battling this new reality...The only reality actors have is that they play pretend for a living. Actors have decided to play different types of people and characters for their careers - talk about the ultimate identity crisis! And we keep revering them..

Actors should never be your hero. They should be the guy or gal you saw in a movie that entertained for 2 or so hours. If anything, the character should inspire you, not the actor. Find someone that can interact with you, someone that is a true hero. Find that person and learn to be a hero yourself for someone else.

CHICAGO TRIBUNE VIDEO

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