Saturday, July 23, 2011

where does amy winehouse fall on the scale of acceptable sorrow?

i am a fan of amy winehouse's music. i think she was talented, tragic, once-beautiful, and now possibly set for status as a legend. a death at a young age, however predictable, will send one to a legendary realm. we all saw it coming and for most of us, listening to her music coincided with mental guesses regarding how long she would be around. like with kurt cobain, no one was surprised. saddened, but not surprised.

the finding of her body comes a day after an absolutely horrific mass killing in norway. it is shocking and disturbing. around 80 young people, many in their teens, gunned down by an extremist, immediately after a bomb kills 7 and injures 15 in oslo. what do you do with a story like that? you didn't expect it. you didn't see it coming.

it seems like the tendency is to say that amy winehouse was a drug addicted, privileged pop star who lacked the will power to get off drugs and appreciate life. that mourning her is ridiculous next to a massacre and next to a famine in somalia and next to a war with casualties mounting. it might be ridiculous. or it might be natural.

i can't wrap my head around the norwegian massacre. i can't understand the idea of innocent kids being gunned down by a laughing madman. i can't comprehend the fear and the terror and the desperate attempts to get away and the agony when they failed. but i can comprehend ms. winehouse taking an addiction to its limits, finding no solace in success, and dying alone. it makes sense to me partly because i've been watching her self-destruction from afar for years and partly because, like me, she wasn't innocent. it wasn't done to her, she did it to herself. i can relate to that and so can a lot of us. i can't relate to the senseless deaths of so many young people.

it isn't that i don't genuinely mourn for those in norway, or those in somalia, or those lost to war. i do. but it's too big to absorb. it can't be understood. there is no reason or logic to help make sense of it. but the death of a drug addicted pop singer makes a sort of perfectly horrible sense. seeing it coming from far away doesn't make it less tragic. she was a person, no less worthy of being mourned than anyone else.

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