Brad Pitt Is Only ‘Human’: Pitt Is Being Open About ‘Recovery’ And Taking The Critique [Opinion]

Brad Pitt has often been considered, probably because of the roles he has played as an actor, to be a shining example of strength and heroic masculinity. While technically everyone realizes that Pitt is only human, he found it necessary to remind the Associate Press recently of that fact.

Brad Pitt is quoted in the Washington Post from an Associated Press interview, explaining that he’s only human and because of that. Pitt must be open about his drinking.

“I’ve got no secrets. I’ve got nothing to hide. We’re human and I find the human condition very interesting. If we’re not talking about it, then we’re not getting better.”

Brad Pitt is a real live icon and a living breathing symbol of what it might mean to be a man. That leaves fans and various readers wondering what all this really means. Many journalists have tried to capture what it is Pitt is supposed to say, feel, or do in his situation. It is a situation that a lot of human beings find themselves in.

Brad Pitt gave an amazing interview to GQ recently, one in which he truly opened up about his feelings.

“I can’t remember a day since I got out of college when I wasn’t boozing or had a spliff or something. Something. And you realize that a lot of it is, um—cigarettes, you know, pacifiers. And I’m running from feelings.

Brad Pitt was running from his feelings. That could only prove one thing. Brad Pitt is human. Isn’t that what he felt necessary to explain to Associated Press? Could it possibly be that underneath those perfect pecs and abs, Brad Pitt displayed in Fight Club and Snatch, beats the heart of a real live human being just like everyone else?

If Brad Pitt is a real person with actual feelings, how might that impact Pitt’s iconic status? Well so far the Daily Mail has called Pitt ” A pampered man baby.” they also said he needed to “grow up.” and that was just the headline. The overall message was, drop the psychobabble and just own the mistake, Brad. Stop whining about emotions.

“Sad Dad Brad’s indulgent psychobabble makes him sound worse, not better. Like a man on the run from himself and his obligations and not someone who understands his dreary role in the painful failure of a marriage.”

In a follow-up article by GQ, that totally seemed to disagree with the Daily Mail, but was none the less critical in an opposite way, Ira Madison had a lot to say about masculine roles, as an obstacle to being able to communicate.

“This Pitt is analyzing himself and his life so he can come out healthy and strong again. That’s hard, tiring work—more so when you’re up against angry men and women accusing you of being weak. For almost every generation up to and including ours, the world has expected men to lead two lives—one that drips with machismo in public, and a stoic private life where we withhold our emotions from the world.”

So can Brad Pitt express his feelings and still be a real guy? Is it justified for writers to make assertions that Brad Pitt is a broken man, not a man, somehow less, and going down some sliding scale toward less of a man? Is it alright for other writers to applaud his honesty on one hand but call him less masculine for it on the other? It’s like masculinity is a bad thing in some parts of this commentary.

Brad Pitt seems likely to be correct in his assertion that he is a human being but everything else he said seems up for debate. Did Brad Pitt say too much or not enough? Was he too remorseful, not remorseful enough?

Is it alright for Brad Pitt to give interviews explaining his feelings? On one hand, no one can truly know how he feels unless he is forthcoming with information about his emotional state. On the other, every statement lays him bare for criticism. Why does everyone have to judge, and why do his statements have anything at all to do with gender, age, or state of emotional maturity?

Brad Pitt of World War Z and Snatch
Brad Pitt of World War Z -[Image by Rich Fury/Getty Images]

GQ asked Brad Pitt how he felt and so he told them. Why can’t people just take Pitt’s statements at face value? Brad Pitt expressed a desire to get better, and to recover from his alcohol problem, which he’d never really thought of as a problem before. It’s not uncommon.

Brad Pitt perhaps fits better into the recent New York Post article that speaks about functional alcoholism in both men and women. It indicates that many successful people drink to excess, yet manage to show up for work every day, do their jobs well and go home to loving families. Not all heavy drinkers end up on the street.

Like Brad Pitt, 37-year-old Seth is quoted in the New York Post, explaining why he drank. Thankfully Seth’s last name was omitted from the article and he is not a celebrity, so he won’t be bothered with others trying to critique his answers.

“I was taking out significant loans to grow my business, and I needed a way to numb the stress of family life and work life. I didn’t think I had a problem [at first], but [my wife] suspected it. She started seeing signs like my slurred speech.”

Brad Pitt and Seth have much in common, despite the fact that Brad Pitt has hundreds of millions of dollars while Seth is worried about repaying his small business loan. Life can be painful and stressful whether one is wealthy, has nothing, or in debt. It is understandable that some would seek the solace of numbness regardless of their age, gender or economic station in life.

Brad Pitt is not alone in being able to conceal his alcoholism. Midtown-based therapist Kimberly Hershenson told the New York Post about her perspective of habitual drinking.

Brad Pitt of Snatch and Fight Club
Fight club star Brad Pitt [Image by Jason Kempin/Getty Images]

“I’m seeing a lot of professionals like nurses, doctors and lawyers and successful people. It’s not people who are blacking out, unemployed or living in Section 8 housing. I’m seeing married executives with great careers, and nobody knows what’s going on with [their alcoholism].”

Thus if Brad Pitt can teach his fans anything from his experience it is that addictions are equal opportunity. Men, women, rich, poor, black and white can use and abuse substances in order to self-medicate, but there are risks involved within modern society, even if one manages to do everything else required of them.

For Brad Pitt, it was the unexpected risk of having his parenting skills questioned in a way that could have deprived Brad of his children. Though he was cleared of any wrongdoing, Brad Pitt is still suffering from the impact of what now appear to be false reports from an anonymous witness.

As for Brad Pitt being open about his feelings. It must be difficult for Pitt to open up knowing that his words will become headlines around the world. Were Brad Pitt’s statements calculated? Well, one would think he had planned out what he would say. Were they genuine? Perhaps as genuine as Brad Pitt can afford to be right now.

Secrets can be toxic, but openness can expose anyone to ridicule. Brad Pitt quit drinking six months ago. Now Brad is left with some pretty dark consequences for something that at the time seemed innocent and ordinary to him, but apparently not to some other individual who complained about Brad’s behavior to officials.

Brad Pitt committed no crime and was cleared of all wrongdoing in his case with child protective services. Still, Brad Pitt had little choice but to quit all use of substances due to frequent drug and alcohol testing which if Brad failed could deprive him of parental rights. Is that fair?

Brad Pitt is now drug and alcohol-free and intends to stay that way. Isn’t that good enough? Brad Pitt has lost a lot but says he is “embracing what he has left.”


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Is Brad Pitt any less masculine for sharing a few thoughts about his own emotional state? What does Brad’s gender have to do with his right to express himself, or his tendency not to? Women drink, and women can keep quiet as well. Is being strong and silent really even a male trait specifically?

Brad Pitt is a human being going through difficult times.

[Featured Image by Tim P. Whitby/Getty Images]