In the aftermath of actor Philip Seymour Hoffman’s untimely death from an alleged heroin overdose, Daly again indulged an unfortunate tendency to attribute motives, and pass judgments, in the absence of solid evidence—and the Daily Beast again gave him a broad platform on which to do it.
In this case, he wrote a piece on Tuesday alleging Hoffman wouldn’t be an addict if he just more took joy in fatherhood. “Why was he in such abject need of a shoddy, solitary and dangerous chemical high when he knew the pure joy that comes with just being with your kids?” reads the lede. Then the piece proceeds to quote Daly’s sondaughter—yes, his own daughter—on what a good father Hoffman “seemed like” at a public event. From there to the end conclusion that “[w]hatever kick Hoffman got from the envelopes of heroin was just a lie compared to the joy that he, as well as his kids, could’ve shared in the snow on Monday,” the piece shows an appalling lack of understanding of how addiction works, and a lack of empathy for a man who was, by all accounts, always kind and fair to reporters.
I don’t care if he set reporters on FIRE, it would still not be okay to say that Hoffman should have gotten high on parenthood. Not only is that not how addiction works, that’s not how anything works. Waving a rattle in front of a baby distracts the baby from crying; waving a baby in front of someone who’s so far down that he’s injecting poison into himself is not likely to be a similarly adequate diversion.
Kids not being diversions, or solutions, or fucking fashion accessories. Kids being people, with their own stuff to do. It is not their job to deal with your problems or make your life better or get you off heroin by the joy of their existing, Jesus Marie.
So spare us this “but he had KIDS” nonsense. Of course that’s shitty. People shouldn’t shoot up if they have kids. People shouldn’t shoot up if they have PETS. People shouldn’t shoot up if their only friend is the 700 Club. I don’t think anybody’s running around saying heroin is fine as long as the only life you’re fucking up is your own. I think most people who are not this story’s author just recognize that should and shouldn’t don’t have much to do with it at all.