Basquiat. Hendrix. Coltrane. Seymour Hoffman. These people are worshipped for their contribution to the arts, and their lives and untimely deaths are romanticized. For Phillip Seymour Hoffman there’s nothing but compassion - new yorkers cry out he’s one of our own, meanwhile if he wasn’t rich and famous and robbing everyone for his fix opinions would have been bi-polar. What do most people think of junkies? Gamey, can’t be trusted, indulgent to the max, to be avoided and vilified at all costs, purposely courting death. Compassion or sympathy for the addicted in these cases is non-existent, the opposite in fact, except for other sufferers. Just sayin’. The hypocrisy is unreal. You cannot take away the power of art. But you can think differently about the ordinary people suffering this malady, rising above your outrage at your car being broken into. All Seymour had to do was wait by his ATM for an hour. If this disease/addiction is to be reviled in everyone else, how can everyone accept the cloak of fame and not also measure those people by their shortcomings like the guy on the street?

painting: Binge, acrylic on wood ©1996 by steve sas schwartz