An editorialist named Eric P. Lucas says in Friday's Los Angeles Times that since Heath Ledger's death was the result of his own recklessness, he therefore should not win an Oscar for his performance in The Dark Knight.

"It's time to stop the canonization of Heath Ledger," Lucas begins. "He's just a pretty good actor who did away with himself and broke the hearts of his family and friends, and he shouldn't get an Academy Award to memorialize his death. ... Each year more than 100,000 Americans die of alcohol or drug abuse. It would be madness to commemorate one such death with the greatest honor in cinema. Please give the Academy Award to someone who's had the courage to stick around."

Lucas asserts that Ledger's performance isn't all that great anyway -- "a can-can dance of snuffling pseudo-psychopathia," he calls it -- but that's irrelevant to his larger point. It would seem that even if Ledger's Joker truly did represent the finest acting of the year, his personal behavior should disqualify him from Oscar consideration.

To Lucas I say this: Wanna watch me make this pencil disappear?

I actually agree with a lot of what he writes about how certain people's drug- or alcohol-fueled deaths make them more iconic than they would have been otherwise. Did Kurt Cobain's suicide rob my generation of its greatest poet? Nah. I think the only group that really suffered a major loss when Cobain died was the heroin industry. And I think it's silly when people talk about getting emotional when they see Ledger in The Dark Knight, as if the death of someone they never met still makes them misty-eyed all these months later. So let it not be said that I am not a heartless bastard.