What Philip Seymour Hoffman, as Lester Bangs in Almost Famous, taught us about the world (and the true currency of being uncool)

The death of Philip Seymour Hoffman is certainly tragic, but it shouldn’t necessarily be called shocking — he was in rehab fairly recently. Clearly this was a struggle for him, and the struggle defeated him; it’s happened to many others who excelled at their art over time as well. (I’m not sure if it’s casual or correlative, or if you could ever prove that it’s causal anyway, but it seems like people become actors trying to be artists and practice a craft, and then basically become zoo animals once they get successful — because of the paps and all that. So drugs are an escape.)

Hoffman had a ton of great performances, and won an Oscar as Truman Capote back in ’05, but a lot of people of a certain age probably best remember him from Boogie NightsAlmost Famous, or The Big Lebowski. He has a great line in Almost Famous, embedded above, that summarizes a lot of, well, how the world really is:

“The only true currency in this bankrupt world is what we share with someone else when we’re uncool.”

Amen and RIP, Philip Seymour Hoffman.

Ted Bauer