Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Wise words about Any Winehouse and media

Ed here: This is one of the few pieces about Amy Winehouse's death that made sense to me. As a recovering alcoholic and reformed druggie I can tell you from personal experience that there are people who can't be "cured." In my time I've taken six or seven people to rehab, done everything I could for them--and had only one stay clean. I used to get pissed when this happened. I bought into all the AA stuff that everybody can kick. But after nearly thirty-seven years of being sober and watching various friends and acquaintances crack up, go to prison, die I can tell you that some just can't kick.

I was a big fan of Amy Winehouse's music and for selfish reasons. When she was on the air that meant all cRAP music couldn't be. Yes she was stupid to get into drugs in the first place but clearly she was a a way troubled girl before she ever started doping and the drugs presumably bought her some relief.

She was a rhythm and blues singer and a brilliant one (or hadn't you noticed that soul music is no longer heard on corporate pop stations?). I had some sense of what she was going through, all addicts will have. So spare me the self-rieghteousness. Yes she was fucked up but she didn't deserve to die because of it. If all the fucked up people in the world passed on there wouldn't be enough bodies left to populate Gilligan's Island.

Does grieving for Amy Winehouse distract from bigger tragedies?
The singer's death prompts a familiar Internet backlash. Here's why the critics are wrong
From Salon

Poor Amy Winehouse. Not only did the 27-year-old singer, who had a troubled history of drug and alcohol abuse, have the misfortune to die this weekend in London of yet undisclosed causes, she did so in the midst of an already jampacked cycle of terrible news. And everybody knows that a) people can only feel bad about one thing at a time, and that b) in what the U.K. Guardian helpfully refers to as the "hierarchy of death," it's wrong to care about a single individual when there are higher body counts elsewhere in the world. Let the sanctimony begin!

It seemed within minutes of the news of Winehouse's untimely demise, the Internet was abuzz with outpourings of grief and chastisements of said grief. "Amy Winehouse: Sad but not nearly as sad as 4M starving Somalis who can still be helped" went a typical, much forwarded tweet that cropped up in my feed, along with phrases like "real problems," "dead junkie," and "What did anybody expect?" God forbid a young woman's death not turn into an opportunity to announce to the world your cleverness in predicting it all, the unworthiness of someone who had the disease of addiction to merit sympathy, or your outrage because apparently you've been too engrossed in Somalia to give a toss.

It's fair to say that the popular media -- and those of us who follow it -- are often guilty of disproportionate attention to sensational stories. And when that happens, there is the risk of giving less care to tougher, more nuanced but important events. Believe me, if Nancy Grace and Dr. Drew never say another goddamn word about anything or anyone, that will be just great in my book. It's a fine line between newsworthiness and exploitation. And Winehouse's long-standing battles with her demons were a matter of public record; her debacle last month in Belgrade, when she was booed offstage, certainly appears to have been an ominous sign of what was to come.

for the rest go here: http://www.salon.com/news/media_criticism/index.html?story=/mwt/feature/2011/07/26/grieving_for_amy_winehouse

Mary Elizabeth Williams is a staff writer for Salon and the author of "Gimme Shelter: My Three Years Searching for the American Dream." Follow her on Twitter: http://twitter.com/embeedub More: Mary Elizabeth Williams


Vince said...

Strong post as usual, Ed. A while back I read somewhere that the internet had descended to the point where it was now primarily used to express one's indifference toward the death of a famous person. Seems truer all the time.

Ronald Tierney said...

Well said by both of you. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

What a voice, what a talent. Thanks for sharing, Ed.

Ed Lynskey