Amy Winehouse Has A Problem, But So Do We

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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?

Why Amy Winehouse Is On The Rocks [Times of London]
In Real Time, Amy Winehouse's Deeper Descent [NY Times]

Related: The Saga Of Amy Winehouse: We Cry Uncle [Idolator]



I feel really bad saying this, and I obviously speak as someone who thankfully has never dealt with addiction (either having it or dealing with a loved one who is addicted) but I have a very hard time mustering up sympathy. Famous and non-famous alike. Pity, sure. But not much sympathy. Is this a personal failing/lack of heart, am I so overexposed to celebrity addiction I've become overly judgemental/self righteous? Anyone else mourn the death of what she otherwise thought was a kind and compassionate heart?

@gumbytime: Ditto. Most of the posts I comment on are political/"scientific"/social anyway.