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April 21, 2014

Andrew Silow-Carroll: Passoverkill? Suggestions to make next year's seders even more culturally sensitive

Sara Israelsen Hartley: Seeking the Divine: An ancient connection in a new context

Christine M. Flowers: Priest's execution in Syria should be call to action

Courtnie Erickson: How to help kids accept the poor decisions of others

Lizette Borreli: A Glass Of Milk A Day Keeps Knee Arthritis At Bay

Lizette Borreli: 5 Health Conditions Your Breath Knows Before You Do

The Kosher Gourmet by Betty Rosbottom Coconut Walnut Bars' golden brown morsels are a beautifully balanced delectable delight

April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review

On Philip Seymour Hoffman's death: Let us not mourn this selfish act

By Christine M. Flowers

Christine M. Flowers


http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | (MCT) I remember watching a made-for-television movie in 1973 that changed my life. Not that I had much of it to change at the age of 11. Still, it grabbed me by the throat in the way that only a poorly filmed, terminally earnest public-service announcement ever could. "Go Ask Alice" was based on the book that every parent wanted every adolescent to read, and is still a necessary part of growing up. Some people think it's too simplistic, something along the lines of a Nancy Reagan "just say no to the bad drugs" riff.

But the book scared me enough to keep me from ever trying drugs. Heck, I've never even smoked a cigarette and refuse to take the suggested two Tylenol PM when one is enough. The movie, though, sealed the deal. Watching the early '70s version of a downward spiral looks almost quaint in retrospect. It's still out there on YouTube, and it amazes me how beautiful "Alice" looks when she's picking through the trash looking for something to eat after a heroin binge. (I mean, how did she keep that Bonne Bell lip gloss looking so fresh?)

And yet, the 11-year-old inside of me, still quite close to the surface, pulled up that film this week in the wake of Philip Seymour Hoffman's death, just to see if it had the same effect 40 years on.

No quite, but almost.



No matter how pedestrian the technical value, and no matter how ridiculous William Shatner's sideburns and polyester pants, that movie still resonates. It marked me at a time when it was important to be marked. Granted, there was little to no chance that I was going to become a high-living Havertown druggie in 1973. My idea of racy was to go to the Manoa Shopping Center alone, and my addictions ran to Ring Dings and Gino Giants, but seeing that impossibly lovely blond girl become a ravaged runaway in the space of 75 spare minutes taught me that being out of control was fatal.

So to this day, I rarely drink more than a glass of wine a week, and only then with a steaming plate of macaroni before me. I refuse to yield to the suddenly hip zeitgeist of legalizing pot because, dude, it's like, dude, no worse than booze and, dude, it's like so racist to lock up black kids, dude, when white suburban kids are doing the same thing. You know, dude?

Then again, this isn't about pot. This is about one aspect of the whole addiction narrative that people are usually afraid to touch with a 10-foot syringe, because it invites comments like the one that I got when I called Philip Seymour Hoffman selfish.

Ah, got your attention, did I? Were you expecting some sad eulogy to the departed artist? Not here, and not now. If you want that, google "Hollywood loves Phil" and any number of wonderful articles about his cinematic and theatrical genius will pop up. I am going to say here what I said to someone on Facebook, who then called me an unfeeling bitch: Drug addicts may be diseased, but they are also selfish as hell.

I'll give you a moment to digest that, even though I suspect I've lost most of my readers. But for those who are still there, let me explain why I think that Philip Seymour Hoffman deserves our anger.

People who have diseases usually do everything in their power to find a cure. My own father, who died a debilitating death from lung cancer, traveled thousands of miles in search of hope. Disease came to him and he fought it mercilessly, raging against the dying of the light.

And to be totally candid, this is personal. People close to me have died the way Hoffman did and left behind children who have only shadowy memories of them. It is a ferocious loss for the survivors. Addiction specialists will tell you that addicts are trapped by biology and psychology, and many times they are too weak to fight. I don't believe that. The human spirit is strong, not neutered, and we have within us the ability to stare mortality and destiny down, especially when there is a purpose greater than the artificial high.

Hoffman had kicked an addiction two decades before. He'd made three wonderful children with his partner. He might have had a disease, but he also had an obligation to those children. Two decades should be enough to immunize you against turning back to drugs, especially when three dependent, loving lives were created in the interim.

At the end of "Go Ask Alice," the addict dies. That was supposed to shock us into understanding, help us reject drugs and think twice before even dipping in. Crude as it was, the message was potent.

Hoffman ignored it, because he had a disease. And because he was selfish.

Christine M. Flowers is a lawyer and columnist for the Philadelphia Daily News. Comments by clicking here.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Previously:



01/27/14: O Captain! My Captain! Our fateful troth (& hairdo) is done
01/20/14: Christie's the victim, not the murderer
01/13/14: Of the court, Catholicism, cartoons & Satans
12/30/13: Of men, Giants and Texas Greeks bearing fourth-down conversions
10/28/13: Sense may be in short supply, but that gives us plenty to write about
10/16/13: Hail to the Redskins
10/14/13: It's the most wonderful time of the year
10/07/13: Congress teetering on the edge
09/18/13: It is Miss 'America,' after all, not Miss 'Special Interest Group'
09/16/13: America & its Miss'ed opportunities
09/10/13: We still must be civilization's gatekeepers
09/03/13: Around the world, the cross is in the crosshairs
08/19/13: Blood is on stop-and-frisk judge's hands
08/13/13: Hey, social progressives: Women can actually think with an organ other than a uterus
08/06/13: Media make our enemies seem friendly
07/29/13: Mrs. Anthony Weiner = Hillary 2.1
07/08/13: A voice of reason, from the dustbin
07/04/13: Heroes are all around us
05/27/13: Vietnam vet's words soothe modern tragedies
05/22/13: Circling the presidential-protection wagons
05/15/13: Divorce can't be just the pursuit of happiness
05/07/13: We knew Jackie Robinson, and Jason Collins is no Jackie Robinson
05/01/13: Blame pro-choice lobby for Philly monster
04/23/13: Of damnation, and staring back
04/15/13: Margaret Thatcher changed the world, and didnít have to be a feminist to do it
04/08/13: Taking great pleasure in the death penalty
04/01/13: An easy prediction --- bet on the unpredictable
03/26/13: 'The personal is political' is no reason to change
03/19/13: A word to the whines --- it was just some high jinks
03/11/13: The Great Race Debate, revisited
03/04/13: Marriage goes beyond love
02/19/13: 2 women, and what they're fighting for
02/04/13: Sadly, Scouting seems poised to give up the fight
01/15/13: Reflections from Gettysburg
01/02/13: The mentally ill vs. those who love them
12/27/12: Rapper learns he's just another guy on probation
12/20/12: Cold, hard truth about the killer
12/10/12: When a warm heart meets a cold manipulator
11/22/12: Some women don't know how good they have it


© 2013, Philadelphia Daily News. Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

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