3/5 of a Mile in 10 Seconds

Recently, the Dylan Farrow letter and Philip Seymour Hoffmanís death have underscored for me a couple of things Iíve come to find very alienating about the internet--or at least my corner of it, which amounts to a message board and Facebook. Iíd rather post these thoughts here than there; people would take personal issue, and, as I think Iíve said before, I donít have the stomach for such arguments anymore. Thereíve been hundreds of ILX posts about Dylan Farrow, and, as with virtually every emo- tionally charged news story that flares up over there--Trevaughn Martin, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, Aurora--the thread followed the usual pattern: a few dozen posts, someone says something in not exactly the way that someone else thinks it should be said, people start sniping at each other, the word ďidiotĒ makes its first appearance, and before long somebodyís telling somebody else to go fuck himself. Every time. If you end up on the wrong end of that, youíre lucky if only one person takes issue with you; usually thereís a pile-on, with one person surrounded on all sides. Iím very careful about posting on such threads. Most of the time I avoid them completely (posting, I mean--I read them, or at least as much as I can keep up with, largely in anticipation of the train wreck), and if I do post, Iíll let at least three or four days go by and studiously stay clear of saying anything thatís going to cause me grief. I wanted to go on there and say that I wasnít sure if Allen was guilty or not; by way of contrast, I felt a lot more sure that Michael Jackson was guilty. Didnít dare-- I never would have made it back alive. Celebrity death. I liked Philip Seymour Hoffman a lot--first noticed him in Boogie Nights (donít think I connected him with Twister at the time, which came a year earlier), wrote a bit about him on this site soon after, saw many of his films over the coming years. I was glad to see him win an Academy Award for Capote; beyond just his performance, itís an excel- lent film that should be seen. If a lot of actors reach us because theyíre either glamorous JFKs or schlubby, everyman Nixons we can more easily relate to, PSH was a consummate Nixon. And he seemed revered by the people who worked with him. But, his everyman qualities aside, I didnít personally know him. I donít feel gutted or devastated, and I have a hard time understanding the online chorus of people who say they do. Maybe thatís a failing on my part, I donít know. I mean, if anything, a film actor leaves more of himself behind than any other kind of artist--we can actually watch Hoff- manís performances for as long and as often as we want. I spend a lot of time on ILX, and enough (though less) on Facebook. Thereís a lot I get out of both. But these are two phenomena I find odd and annoying.

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