A year or two after my father died (that was back in 2003), I happened to be speaking with someone about grief - about my grief - and this person said "there is no silver lining. It's just a loss." At the time, hearing it and knowing how true it was, was such a relief. I don't know what it is - something about trying to find meaning in terrible events, something about feeling like some kind of spoil-sport socially when there isn't a lesson learned or otherwise uplifting note at the end of a sad story - but the release from those (false) obligations was so soothing and comforting. These past few weeks there have been so many public losses - Amiri Baraka, Pete Seeger, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Sid Caesar and Harold Ramis are just some of the most public - and with each I find myself thinking "it's just a loss." The world is a poorer place without these people in it.
All of that is what makes what David Bar Katz did in the wake of his friend, Philip Seymour Hoffman's death, all the more extraordinary. Mr. Katz, never spoke with the National Enquirer but was quoted by that publication as saying any number of terrible and terribly slanderous things. Mr. Katz, with the help of his attorney, arranged a settlement with the National Enquirer that provides for an ongoing annual gift of $45,000 for an unproduced play. Of course this doesn't justify Philip Seymour Hoffman's death; there's nothing makes his death "worth it." Still, if anyone was going to try to make or find a silver lining, $45,000 annually to support the values and vision of the person the world lost is the best effort I've seen.