Well, as some suspected, Amy Winehouse is on crack. [This just in: Amy is now in rehab.] She's certainly not the first musician or singer to do drugs, and definitely not the last, but there is something different about Amy's rollercoaster trip through abuse and addiction: We're along for every second of the ride. Two Winehouse-related stories hit the papers today: Nick Kent writes for the Times of London: "The general public has developed an insatiable desire for watching its favourite stars debase themselves further and further in the public forum." Kent notes that Billie Holliday, Judy Garland, Keith Richards and Sid Vicious all had their substance abuses documented by the media. These days, not only can one can watch Amy Winehouse unravel on a daily basis, it's possible to join in: The crack-rock smoking clip was supplied to The Sun by a "friend."
The internet is not to blame for Amy's addictions; different people deal with fame in different ways. And there are plenty of non-famous people who are alcoholic crack users, to be sure. But can't constant media scrutiny and "fans" who want around-the-clock updates help fuel a star's burnout and decline? Writes Jon Pareles in The New York Times:
In their times the deaths of Jim Morrison and Kurt Cobain were sudden and shocking, leaving them a legacy as handsome rock martyrs. Now paparazzi and cyberazzi would be posting frequent updates, turning trouble into spectacle, and bloggers would be mocking "fat Jim" and "krazy Kurt" as they struggled, vying to see who could be more cruelly iconoclastic. But they were pre-Internet stars. Now, there's a sleazy symbiosis that connects instantaneous worldwide visibility, publicity, marketing and narcissism. Attention addicts can get their fix with a few mouse clicks.
The point is, Amy may have a drug problem, but don't we also have a gossip problem ? A schadenfreude addiction? Would be easier for Amy to put down the pipe if we put down the tabloids (and Snap Judgments?), causing the paparazzi to put down their cameras?
Related: The Saga Of Amy Winehouse: We Cry Uncle [Idolator]