I call him the archetypal Englishman because his rise and fall - going by this account by Nick Davies and other comments - encapsulate what has happened to English, and to a lesser extent British, society since Thatcherite free-market capitalism took hold.
Capitalism turns humanity into a commodity to be bought and sold. Sean Hoare was one such commodity, while the celebrities about whom he wrote were even more clearly commodities, goods to be flogged in ruthless pursuit of money.
He came from a working-class background of solid Arsenal supporters, always voted Labour, defined himself specifically as a "clause IV" socialist who still believed in public ownership of the means of production. But, working as a reporter, he suddenly found himself up to his elbows in drugs and delirium.
He made no secret of his massive ingestion of drugs. He told me how he used to start the day with "a rock star's breakfast" – a line of cocaine and a Jack Daniels – usually in the company of a journalist who now occupies a senior position at the Sun. He reckoned he was using three grammes of cocaine a day, spending about £1,000 a week. Plus endless alcohol. Looking back, he could see it had done him enormous damage. But at the time, as he recalled, most of his colleagues were doing it, too.Enough people are saying similar things about Hoare to convince me. So why would a good socialist, rooted in decent values, end up hounding and befriending famous people for a gossip page? How have our values become so distorted that this rubbish counts as news? I certainly wouldn't want to go back to the deferential social structures of the pre-War period, but I am old-fashioned enough lefty for the phrase 'false consciousness' to be popping into my mind. Hoare isn't a perpetrator of this stuff: he's a victim. An entire society has grown up in which the private lives of vacuous stars has appropriated the name of 'news'. It's destroyed Hoare's life, but it's also distorted our society.
Like Hoare, we've all become addicted to vicious destructive tittle-tattle. The purveyors of this filth do it because it's a) cheap and b) because they despise us. They think it's what we want, and all we're capable of following. They treat us with contempt and in doing so, their predictions become true. I met a couple, one of whom wrote for the Sun and the other for the Mail. In person, they seemed delightful. Charming, thoughtful, intelligent. They spoke of their jobs with a glorious sense of irony, as though it was all jolly larks. This of course makes them cynical disgusting scum. These papers ruin lives, from celebrities to the grieving parents of Milly Dowler or - as in the Mail a couple of weeks ago - the parents of the girl killed by a falling branch 'because' her teachers were on strike.
Sean Hoare sounds like a kind, caring, considerate and intelligent man who had a lot to give society. Instead, he devoted himself to propping up a morally and politically bankrupt society and publication. That someone so good can do so much that is bad should make us all pause to reflect on how he - and we - have come to such a pass.
And if you think that I can't possibly mean you, think again. If you know the names of people famous for nothing, if you think you know who killed Maddie McCann, if you get a thrill from the tabloid front pages even while you're reaching for the Guardian or the FT, then you're a part of it. Irony is not a defence.
We killed Sean Hoare - and we've poisoned ourselves too.