xmlns:og='http://ogp.me/ns#' Yeah. Good Times.: Amy Winehouse R.I.P.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Amy Winehouse R.I.P.

I'm sad about this; I'm really sad. I thought she was amazingly talented and have been following her career for the past few years, along with the rest of us, and for some reason I kept thinking that she was going to be able to pull it together. It's really no surprise to anybody that she died of an overdose, particularly me, but... I don't know. I didn't think she was going to end up this way. I thought she was going to make it. Maybe I'm naive. Maybe I just had a higher opinion of her than anybody else did.

The first song I heard was Rehab, on the radio; I'm no Winehouse hipster or anything, I heard of her at the same time as the rest of you. At first I was confused by it, though, because it sounds so much like a 1960's girl group, but I had never heard it before. Was it a cover? But, no, that was just her style; not necessarily mine, but okay. I read some articles about her and was profoundly struck by something she said once in an interview: "I write songs because I'm fucked in the head and need to get something good out of something bad." She obviously had her demons, who doesn't, really? But there was something about that line that made me take a particular interest.

I saw that video of her fucking up horribly and what struck me most about it wasn't how much of a trainwreck it was, it was to wonder how the people around her could have let that happen? Not that they let her get on stage in that condition, but that they let her even get to that condition. She's on tour, I think that concert was in Serbia, and she's surrounded by people all day long. She also had obviously been drinking and doing drugs all day long, while surrounded by people? Anybody who actually cared about her would have never let that happen, which must mean that she spent her days being surrounded by people who didn't really care about her. Add that to the the demons she already had and it was no wonder she was an addict. She may have been supremely talented, but she was also in obvious pain; a lot of it, and apparently the people in her life weren't willing to help her.

And why is that? Well, that's just the culture we live in, right? She made a lot of people a lot of money by being a huge celebrity trainwreck. Nobody had any incentive to help her get healthy, where is the money in that? All the while the public watches with gleeful abandon as her life completely falls apart, because there's nothing we like more than to watch somebody's spectacular failure happen in the public light. It puts our own lives in perspective. Hey, things might suck for me, but at least I'm not Amy Winehouse, right? And now, of course, we wait eagerly for the results of the toxicological examination so that we can say things like "Oh my god, she had all of that in her system? What a fool! No wonder she died!" and then we can all feel really superior about ourselves; because she's dead, and we're not. She was weak; that would never happen to me.

I'm not saying this tragedy is any worse than any other; I can keep things in perspective, but like I said, it makes me sad. There was a woman with enormous talent, with public demons and very obvious pain, and she's surrounded by enablers who want to keep her like that. What chance did she really have, anyway?

EDIT: I hate having to clarify myself, but I obviously wasn't completely clear the first time. Yes, of course I know that you can't stop an addict who wants to continue to use. Perhaps even one or two of the people in her daily life actually made a half assed attempt to try? Possible, I don't know. I'm not saying that the fault lies with anybody except the addict herself. But it's probably true that most of the people around her 1. had a job to do and 2. were just there so they could party with her. Even if you take away the alcohol in her hotel room, when 10 people show up at the door with heroin, does the lack of alcohol really matter? It's hard enough for an addict to try to quit when they're just a "regular" person, but when you're surrounded by people whose livelihoods depend on you continuing on as you were, or by a huge bunch of "fans" who want to be able to say that they partied with Amy Winehouse in her final days, and then sell the pictures they took for thousands of dollars... she never had a chance. That's what I'm saying.