Summary of “The Great Sadness of Ben Affleck”

In March of 2016, Jennifer Garner had recently separated from her husband of ten years, the actor and director Ben Affleck, when she was asked by Vanity Fair to comment on what the magazine referred to as her ex’s “Midlife-crisis tattoo”-a large, multicolored back piece of a phoenix rising from the ashes.
“You know what we would say in my hometown about that? ‘Bless his heart,'” Garner said dryly, then added, “Am I the ashes in this scenario? . . I refuse to be the ashes.” When he was approached about the tattoo that same month, Affleck insisted that it was temporary.
Affleck had been one of Hollywood’s marquee male celebrities for almost two decades.
Since the split, Affleck has been photographed more than once by the paparazzi, looking despondent.
A series of images of Affleck vaping in his car, his eyes shut in seeming resignation, made the rounds; so did another picture, of the actor smoking a cigarette, his face a mask of exhaustion.
Affleck’s was the kind of middle-aged-white-male sadness that the Internet loves to mock-a mocking that depends, simultaneously, on a complete rejection of this sadness, as well as a hedging identification with it.
Affleck was on the beach in Honolulu, shooting the Netflix action movie “Triple Frontier.” As his younger co-stars, the actors Garrett Hedlund and Charlie Hunnam, wrestled in the surf like purebred puppies, Affleck, who is forty-five, was photographed wading into the ocean carrying a small red life preserver, running in the shallow waters, and towelling off on the beach.
Staring at the water before him, his gaze obscure and empty, Affleck is a defeated Roman senator, or, perhaps, the most anti-Romantic version imaginable of Caspar David Friedrich’s 1818 “Wanderer in the Sea of Fog.” The image suggests not just the fall of Affleck but the coming fall of man.

The orginal article.