Monday, July 25, 2011

What Amy's Death Means To Me.

The world news is overwhelming. So much grief and sadness.
I am confused about something - what motivates people to turn to social media with so much vitriol?

I was bombarded with FB posts and Tweets saying very ugly things about Amy Winehouse.
There was a common theme in the stuff I read - she was rich so she didn't deserve sympathy for her problems.
Or, that there was real tragedy in the world so why was the media focusing on one person.

I think Norway and The Sudan are unfathomable which is why we can more easily relate to one person's death.
We are more likely to know an addict than a mass murder or famine victim.

I think the human heart has room to grieve for more than one thing at a time.
We don't have to choose. I also think music deeply touches people so they felt a connection.

If I tweet about The Sudan is it implied that I don't care about the people of Norway?
For the record I have lost sleep over famine when I have food abundance that can only be described as hedonistic.
The weight of sadness I feel for the parents of those Norweigian teens is not something I am able to be eloquent about.
It is a horror I need to shut my mind to.
So I pray and hope for the people of Norway privately.

As for Amy Winehouse her death does feel personal to me. Why?
Because I have children who are living in a time when fame, wealth and celebrity are lauded, encouraged, exalted.
We live in a culture that lists rock star as a profession. What happened to singer or musician?
Why movie star and not actor?

We are watching famous young people self destruct on a regular basis. We are buying magazines to follow their every misstep.
We are dressing our children like them, buying their movies, CD's or merchandise then we are first on the bandwagon to critisize them when they overuse alcohol or drugs to cope with their often sudden and overwhelming fame.
Is the heavy media attention towards this one woman an act of guilt? Do we feel a little complicity?

The death of Amy Winehouse is not simply the self imposed death of a rich girl. It is a wake up call.

I can't control extremists or the weather in Africa.
I can teach my children that singing is a wonderful thing but that fame might not be.
I can teach that drugs will not resolve anything you may try to cover with them.
I can watch the news and MTV when my children are asleep.
I can support media outlets that report news, not glamorize it.
I can teach tolerance.
I can also remember that death at 27 is too early and that a family are grieving.


  1. My friend, this just might be my favourite post that you have ever written. Eloquent, honest, beautiful.

  2. You are such a thoughtful eloquent writer!

  3. What everyone else has said. Ditto. Lovely. Honest. Perfect.

  4. Oh now THAT is funny - I DID say you were thoughtful after all. :)


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