Good Morning, Citizens
Amy Winehouse’s death is sad, if only in the sense that someone so young has died. There are those of course who have berated the woman and her lifestyle, damning her habits and seemingly cavalier attitude to life.
But the truth is that the wheres and hows and whyfores are not our business and nor should it have to be. Everyone is free to make their own choice and I, for one, made mine – never to buy her records, or willingly contribute to the spectacle that was The Amy Winehouse Trainwreck.
But understand that it was not because I in any way judged her for her lifestyle. It was because I felt that purchasing her records – being her fan – was exploiting her in the same way that her management, her record label , to a lesser extent the press and even her fans did so openly and eagerly.
I refuse to believe that the supposed “elevation and exaltation” of celebrity is tempting enough to corrupt the very basic soul of a person
The choice became about principle: I did not condone the face of her fame – how could I justifiably support it by giving her beneficiaries (the label, the press, the industry!) the money to perpetuate it?
I refuse to believe that Amy Winehouse happily sold her dignity for the sake of a career lived in the headlines. I refuse to believe that the supposed “elevation and exaltation” of celebrity is tempting enough to corrupt the very basic soul of a person – the desire for happiness and warmth and family. (Except, of course, in the cases of Snooki and the Kardashians – not that they have souls, at any rate.)
One could argue that the feeding frenzy of the press was party to Winehouse’s destruction. Crazy pictures and headlines made a clown out of a human being that was obviously unwell. You could also argue – as I do on my worst days – that the public’s hunger for ultimately trite and meaningless icons to validate their existences (Pete Doherty, Lindsay Lohan, Kate Moss, anyone?) egged on the machines of morbidity and vulgarity that go by the names of “Entertainment Culture” and “Tabloid”.
But the real butchers of this sick-chamber are not the press and public. We stand at a distance from Amy Winehouse the person. The REAL culprits in this mess are those that were close enough to her to act when it was required most… and didn’t.
Her managers, friends, family, record label, band – those that knew her personally… you, too had a choice. You could have attempted to intervene, or walked away from what was essentially a public suicide happening right in front of your own eyes.
We’ve made celebrity out of self-destruction and empty notoriety, and in the process forsaken our own dignity and nobility. We suck.
Ok, maybe I’m being too assuming – maybe you did try to do something, we’ll never know. It might have cost you a job or a client or even a cash cow, but ultimately you’d have stepped off that bus with a clear conscience. As it is now, it seems like everyone who surrounded Amy Winehouse is tainted by this tragedy. It seems like you… WE… laughed at the girl with the funny hair because it was amusing and we all made money by selling the video of her falling down.
Our choice as her friends, her fans, the press, her management, whatever, was to watch her dying and revel in it. We’ve made celebrity out of self-destruction and empty notoriety, and in the process forsaken our own dignity and nobility. We suck.
Amy Winehouse often said of herself that she didn’t really go looking for fame “I’m just a musician,” She said. That’s how I will choose to try to remember her.
“And now someone’s on the telephone, desperate in his pain
Someone’s on the bathroom floor doing her cocaine
Someone’s got his finger on the button in some room
No one can convince me we aren’t gluttons for our doom”
– Emily Saliers
Thank you for listening. Carry on as planned…
An aside, from me (dot):
We did celebritise her fucking out. We did it with Brittany, MJ, Blohan … but I don’t think I agree with you that anyone could’ve saved her. Not really.
Sometimes parents and friends don’t know what to do or how. And ultimately no amount of intervention is going to help if the person who’s suffering doesn’t want to wake up (and why would you? sometimes the outside over there where you have to feel real stuff is pretty kak).
Addiction is not a choice.
From what I’ve learnt over the past year, speaking to many, many people who are addicts or are affected by addiction in their family, it is a disease for which the only cure is a LOT of support and therapy and love. Day by day. minute by minute.
I read this on Russell Brand’s site in a piece on Amy Winehouse. It’s an awesome read, not only because of Amy, but because of insights into his own recovery:
[Addicts] have about them the air of elsewhere, that they’re looking through you to somewhere else they’d rather be. And of course they are. The priority of any addict is to anaesthetise the pain of living to ease the passage of the day with some purchased relief.