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Cranky Cuss

Cranky Cuss
Location
Ossining, New York, United States
Birthday
February 28
Bio
I am the author of "Send In the Clown Car: The Road to the White House 2012," currently available on Amazon and CreateSpace. I'm currently semi-retired after 23 years in a corporate environment. My motto: The conventional wisdom has too much convention, not enough wisdom. Corollary: Even Einstein was wrong sometimes, and you're not Einstein.

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Editor’s Pick
JULY 25, 2011 10:24AM

No Tears For Amy Winehouse

Rate: 54 Flag

     

A couple of times in the past year, I’ve resisted the urge to jokingly describe some absurdity as “more believable than Amy Winehouse showing up at a concert sober.”  In each case I resisted the urge because there is nothing funny about substance abuse.  I know too many people who have struggled with addiction to treat it lightly.

    

But when a singer’s most famous line is, “They tried to make me go to rehab, but I said, ‘no, no, no,” I find it hard to think of her death as tragic. It’s as if she had no intention of fighting her addiction.  Her death seemed preordained, inevitable.  It was one of the least surprising deaths in music history. 

    

To me, tragedy is an early death that couldn’t be prevented.  Tragedy is John Lennon being shot by a deranged fan, or Marvin Gaye being shot by his father, or Bob Marley dying young of cancer, or Buddy Holly’s airplane crashing in a snowy field.  Tragedy is not someone continuing to shoot drugs in their arms or snort drugs up their nose or pour bottle after bottle of liquor down their throat, despite pleas of family and friends.

    

I always cringe whenever the death of a substance abusing performer – be it Kurt Cobain, Janis Joplin, Gram Parsons – is portrayed as tragic, because many people are drawn to tragedy like a moth to a flame. They romanticize the life cut too short.  

 

Seeing the tears shed for someone like Winehouse makes the path of self-destruction more appealing for some, and makes it more likely that someone else will follow that path.  I’ve always felt uncomfortable when the wailing and gnashing over a youthful death makes the news, because I always sense that there are troubled people out there who see the despair and think, “Someday I’m going to make people cry like that for me.”

    

The only time I felt truly sad about her death this weekend was when her mother, who had visited her daughter on Friday, said that “she seemed out of it” and, according to the New York Daily News,  the meeting left her with the feeling that it was ‘just a matter of time’ before Amy met with a tragic ending.” 

       

Make no mistake: Amy Winehouse was a talented singer.  She had a smoky, soulful voice and Back to Black was filled with songs that felt like old Motown hits.  I was especially moved by “Love Is a Losing Game,” a lovely ballad that sounded like a lost #1 hit from 1966.  But let’s be honest: She made one hit album and that was five years ago, with nothing since.  The only reason most people remembered her was because of her continually self-destructive behavior.  I think of all the young women busting their asses in the music business trying to get just a taste of what Amy Winehouse threw away, and I get pissed off, not sad.

 

I suspect I'm hard-hearted about this because of my age.  I've seen this story too many times.  I was twenty when Hendrix, Joplin and Morrison died.  I was plenty bummed, man.  But now I'm 60 and I realize that when Pete Townshend wrote, "Hope I die before I get old," he was full of shit.

      

Winehouse’s death was the waste of a wonderful talent.  But a tragedy?

    

“No, no, no.”

  

>

 

   

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One of the more realistic essays I've seen on Ms. Winehouse's death. Thanks for writing it.
I agree with you whole-heartedly about glamorizing the drug deaths of celebrities. AW died before I ever heard her sing. I only knew who she was because of her signature snarled bee-hive.
Her death was not a surprise to me either. Still, a sad moment because she couldn't get her addiction under control. I think you voice the sentiments of many people.
Brave and honest. Yet, I still sense tragedy - in the classic form: fatal flaw within the character of a heroic figure. Amy, of course, fell short of heroism by a mile or two, so I would substitute talent and potential instead. I could see her defiance of rehab as a form of denial, the way mentally ill people refuse their meds because it saps their souls. I had not heard her singing until yesterday when I played one of the videos posted by Bluestocking Babe. I wept hearing that beautiful, soulful, lost voice.
I respect your view, Cranky, but to me, her death still falls under the heading of tragedy. Even when it is self-destruction, it is still a terrible tragedy. ~r
Pop culture of all kinds still operates on the principle of romantic-suffering-for-art (and the more dramatic, the better). I feel sadness for Winehouse's family who struggled with the reality behind the publicity. Good and necessary post. Rated.
uhmhmm thank you, Crank r.
I get what you're saying, and understand your reasons for saying them, but I, too, disagree. I will addd though that all drug-related deaths of the young, whether immensely talented as Amy was or not, are tragic. It is because it is preventable - or seems so as outsiders looking in. It's senseless and ugly and leaves us with so many questions, but it doesn't take away from the tragic circumstances of the others whom you mentioned. So young. Twenty-seven - the same age that Jimi Hendrix, Janice Joplin, Kurt Cobain, and Jim Morrison was.
You echo my feelings on Ms. Winehouse, Cranky. I was mildly amazed when I saw more blogs around the Net dealing with the tragedy of her death than I saw dealing with the real tragedy of the shooting in Norway.
I do agree with you, Cranky. A true tragedy is what is happening all over the world right now...we don't need to see the list. -R-
Your view assumes she was a sane addict. There are no sane addicts, and every addict's life is a tragedy.
I think there is a tendency to characterize addiction and self-destructive behavior as a character flaw, something that could be prevented if a person just tries hard enough.

While Winehouse's death isn't a tragedy for me, personally, I don't have a problem with it being portrayed that way. But I definitely get what you're saying, especially the part of throwing away what so many talented young musicians would love to have.

And in answer to the question in your tag, no. Every story affects every person in a different way, and I understand anyone having a hard time feeling sympathy here, especially considering what else has been in the news this weekend (thinking of Oslo, specifically).
Parsons death was just weird. Winehouse was taken off a stage a few weeks before, and she couldn't even stand up. Someone should have took charge of the situation. Yes, she was grown, but no, she was not in a cognitive state.I feel for her family and friends, not the hangers-on that were getting high with her.
Vile, disgusting, disingenuous, judgemental, self-aggrandizing. Only those who know all the facts should comment and nobody knows all the facts (How about a nice big cup of STFU?). The most important fact being that though the method may differ most everyone alive engages in some form of self-destruction - even if it's just being cranky.
I hear your argument and can't help but feel I hope never to become too hardened to feel sadness at a lost 27yo 's death. With holding judgement here (the choice of words used does not disguise that, tragic or whatever you feel should be used in exchange ) as "but for the grace of God, go I" is truer than you would ever believe. I hope you never find that out. Just me.
absolutely right on...this should make the cover (of more than just OS)...rated
Good post Cranky. Matt, I'm with you - I see nothing heroic about Amy Winehouse either.
While I respect your opinion, I do disagree. I think someone deep in the throws of their addiction is not in the place to make a choice. For me personally, the death of any young person is tragic--maybe because my own kids are around that age it hit hard. Russell Brand wrote a nice piece on it yesterday. I hope you don't mind me posting the link here.


http://www.russellbrand.tv/2011/07/for-amy/
Well done. For every famous young celebrity who dies of an overdose, there are hundreds of ordinary junkies and homeless dying in the streets. I feel the same way you do, sad, but not a tragedy.
Thanks for a thoughtful, well-written post. The one "nit-pick" I have with it (and with the deluge of articles / posts playing off of the "no, no, no" lyrics) is that she actually did go to rehab -- three times. Rehab is notoriously unsuccessful, with addicts going many, many times. I'd be interested in her death (as well as so many others -- famous and not) being a starting point for a true discussion of what we can do to treat addicitons. 12 step is not cutting it, rehab is not cutting it. I don't know what will, but similar to dieting (5% success rate) I feel we are not working hard toward a cure -- as we do with cancer, etc. My point is muddled, hope it makes sense somehow.
I agree with you 100 percent. Her rehab song says it all. She had fame and money but refused help, which is idiotic and selfish.

Meanwhile, there are millions of working-class, and dirt-poor, impoverished addicts out there, who are struggling with unemployment, mental illness and they turn to drugs as a form of self-medicating, and then they get addicted and this exacerbates their condition. Yet, we cancel their health benefits, kick them out of homeless shelters, deprive them of educations (if you have a drug conviction, you can be denied access to social welfare benefits and job-training in certain states).

Many homeless addicts that I have worked with, pursuant to my former position as a Public Defender in Baltimore, would have given anything to have had the opportunities for rehab and sobriety and medical care that Amy Winehouse had.

She really had no excuses. You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make her drink. Her death was of her own choosing.

My heart and concern remain for the real tragic victims of drugs and mental illness, the impoversihed folks, that I mention above. They are the REAL victims.

Yet we always forget about them.
Cranky, reading this article and lschmoopie's Club 27 piece, I can't help but think of Lindsay Lohan. Ms Lohan is 25 and on the same road, accompanied by lawyers.
@lschmoopie, thanks for the link to that article. It said so much...
Sometimes I think we get angry at these young people because they don't understand the rarity of their gifts, take them for granted. But I do think it is tragic that anyone succumbs to the unlimited access to everything these stars get before they are emotionally sound enough to handle it. Every single day there are ordinary people who say "no, no, no" to rehab, but we forget who is doing the speaking when they say that. It is the drug itself. They might have been stupid for trying the drug in the first place, but once they are hooked, all bets are off. It is a borderline miracle each and every time a person "recovers" from any addiction.

Lezlie
Great post Cranky... I wasn't surprised at her death, just feel sad that it was a life wasted. ~r
Was it the Dream Weaver guy or that other one named Gary who was into kiddie porn? Can't keep it all straight, but can enjoy the output(music). You might want to bone up on your Marvin and roll Otis or Minnie Ripperton in there instead.
It's ever been thus, Cranky. Whether it's suicide (Virginia Wolfe), an eating disorder (Karen Carpenter) or drugs (to your list you can add Marilyn Monroe, Judy Garland, Elvis Presley, Jim Belushi, Chris Farley, Heath Ledger...), the public is always fascinated with the dramatic and dark sides of their artists.

Maybe tragedy is too strong word--it's not literally the end of the world-- but I think it suggests a profound and universal regret that for some people, the talent can't seem to exist independent of the destructive behavior.
I don't think you are hard-hearted, Cranky. Ms. Winehouse is just another in a long line.
This news was not a shock, but I do think it is still a tragedy. She had the most soulful, rich voice, I couldn't hear enough. Many clearly feel the same...and she had parents who loved her. A tragedy especially for them.

On a tiny tangent, this "27" club, labeled for those musicians who died at age 27 --
Kurt Cobain killed himself, some say to be included in the 27 club (the others OD'ed)!!!
Isn't that enough reason to stop the glorifying of this "club"????

That's what I'm cranky about since Ms. Winehouse's death.
My husband has fought that beast known as alcoholism since he was in his teens. We are older now and have children. Still he struggles and I struggle.

What I think people fail to take into account is alcoholism is a disease. I do think Amy's death was a tragedy, but then I believe anyones death from addiction is tragic. The person might make light of it but in reality they are scared to death. It is the very nature of the disease called alcoholism that the person cannot stop.

The unfortunate part of this is they have to agree to rehabilitation. I do wonder if any kind of intervention was tried on her part. I do not know that much about Winehouse. But just from what you wrote I feel for her.

I wonder if she had mental diagnosis that were tied into all of her addiction problems. Many mentally ill patients will try to self-treat, especially if they do not want the world to know of their issues.
Among the obvious tragedy -- the unnecessary death of a young person -- the seemingly sheer inevitability of her death is in my books is a real tragedy. And that is regardless of how long ago she had a hit or where it was on the charts.

I'd love to hear J. Lennon's take on this perspective.

"Imagine there's no heaven' ... or "God is a concept by which we measure our pain." Ms. Winehouse was in pain physically, emotionally, spiritually, etc. Her song "Rehab" will always be an sad ironic reminder.
Cranky, I love you and I see what you 're saying, but I don't agree. I used to think of substance abuse as a choice, but lately various things have made me think of it as a disease. It seems like a stupid one, because you want to tell these people, well just stay away from drugs and alcohol. But their milieu (Amy, for example, was apparently introduced to hard drug use by her ex-husband Blake) doesn't make that possible. And once they're exposed to these substances, for them, there's no going back. I've learned that addiction is sort of like Russian roulette: lots of people experiment with alcohol/drugs and don't have a big problem - or, if they get addicted once, they can get treatment and get clean, and stay that way. But other people, like Winehouse, just keep going back to those substances. It IS a tragedy, in my eyes, the same way dying from an incurable sexually or intraveniously transmitted disease is. Yes, it's not a natural death, and it should have been prevented - but the fact that with all the fame and fans and money and admirers Winehouse had, she still had to drug herself up, speaks volumes about addiction. Whatever we think, I think we can both agree the world lost a truly unique singing voice - and lost it too soon.
She was like a ship without a rudder, just ambling around. White powders will kill you dead. She had a great voice. I hope she's in the proverbial better place now.
She was addicted and she was not Amy anymore.. Just a shell of a person. I have had addictions and I know how hard it is.

This to me was tragic but I knew it was coming.

HUGGGGGGGGGGGG
I would say I agree that's because I have a man in my life I've known for over 20 years and 17 of those years he has had an addiction I also smoked my first joint with him. I never could understand why someone would give everything up for absolutely nothing but regardless of the persons life style dying young is tragic most ppl have addictions they don't see it as that or it doesn't hurt anyone but we should never for get in our own lives that too much of anything makes u an addict and how can anyone judge. I for one am praying for her family regardless of the type of death it was death still hurts
For me, the tragedy is the waste of talent. You have a prompted a great discussion here, sir.
Just a minor quibble, but I've always taken the famous line in "My generation" that you quote as an admonition against allowing one's thinking to fossilize. That's not to be taken as some sort of aggrandizement of a Peter Panish effort to futilely hang on to youth, but more of a warning to always keep your mind open and active; "get old" of the song meaning the shutting down of the awareness of life's possibilities. So, yeah.... even though I'm also over 60 I STILL hope I die before I "get old".
There are those like Robert Downey Jr. who fight the demons and recover.
My guess is that you eat too much and don't exercise a lot.
If Cranky Cuss had a heart attack and keeled over, people would likely mislabel it a tragedy. For some it would be. Others, not so much. Some callous guy would say "Told ya".
Not saying I don't like you or wish you ill will, so please understand my point is that it's hard to know how to define these things. It's not one or the other.
Yes, I think you're missing the emotion here--and to some extent the lesson. What is it that creates "Amy Whinehouse?" What mingling of the culture and the origins of this artist--like all the others at the fateful age of 27--to seek self-destruction?

It isn't the rush to judgement in the end that matters, but the attempt at understanding so the culture can begin to look at itself in a deeper way, which is what ultimately the point of any art, and the life of that artist.
Love Matt's comment. I understand and "get" your points. Still, the fact that someone of talent and potential , can't survive, is tragic to me. There is supposed to be this fierce survival instinct , and when it's missing-- tragic. I don't think you are hard hearted , but to me, it feels like tragedy.
Well said Cranky, but for me I'll weigh in on the side of "not surprising - but tragic all the same". If her death is not considered tragic, at least her life was.
I am your age. If Amy were my child I would only be able to understand her death as tragic. I would feel deep anguish and self-doubt as a parent. I would be confused and angry that anyone would suggest otherwise. If this death were truly preventable it would have been prevented. Amy was out of control and yet was loved by some and adored by others. Early death is an outcome of many persons addicted to drugs/alcohol. It is always tragic to me regardless of age.

Is it at all necessary to determine whose death is tragic and whose is just – what – deserved or something? I really don’t understand the point here. I think what I’m trying to convey is that it seems as if it’s okay to pass judgment on others and I don’t understand that.

I do applaud your risk-taking in raising your question in public no matter that I see it differently.
Predictable? Sadly. Did I hope she would find a reason to stop? Yes.

Am I upset? Yes, but only because I have an addicted son who is in prison now and sober...I've seen too many addicts end up wasting their lives. It is never pretty. I didn't know about AW's death until yesterday...but I did know about Norway's tragedy.
the real tragedy is when we view this kind of death with a jaded eye. I speak for myself when I say that, not for you or anyone else. BUt I had a sort of eye-rolling moment when I got the word about her death and do feel a bit bad about that. Just sayin'....
Yes. Way too hard-hearted.
A young woman died. She lived her own life not for you or your children's friends or anyone else & now she's dead.
Yes that's a t r a g e d y.
"Once you've become a drug addict
you'll never want to be anything else." That's a t r a g e d y.
I agree with Every. Single. Word.

Period.
Because I don't know her and don't know the specifics behind her self-destructive behavior, I can only feel sad that she would be inclined toward such behavior in the first place and morn the fact that she was not psychologically strong or grounded enough to be any other way.

I understand your anger but see it more as a frustration with the cult of apathy than an actual rage. Either way, I empathize and applaud this intelligent piece.
The tragedy here is the drug problem. Fifty years ago, this almost never happened to any celebrity, even those in the music business. Then came the golden sixties. Now drugs are an accepted part of the cultural scene, and more people than we can count are destroying their lives. Try throwing a party with the admonition that there will be no drug use allowed. The only person who will show up is the pizza delivery guy.
You gotta luv this kind of generational self-righteousness. "We didn't do it, but these kids are." You really have to have on a thick set of blinders. Like the folks who say, "We'd never go on the dole or some entitlement program." Yeah, until the day it happens.
So easy to grandstand this one...but addiction is an illness, albeit self-imposed and more often than not a form of self-medication for mental anguish -- an illness nonetheless. . . addiction is a flaw of the brain, not a flaw of character. All the more reason to applaud those in recovery.
I probbaly won't read the other comments because I know you'll be praised by some, angered by others. May I just say, as someone who's sister led a life of drugs and committed suicide, as well as being the ex-wife of an abuser of drugs and alcohol, I share your views. Any further words by me would lead to a post-length comment, and a post I don't wish to write.
Couldn't be better examined or written! Rated
Cranky, when I die in a week or so, I want you to write the why and fore, don't cry, I'll go with honor, like a cat...~TEARS~

~wanders off into the thorn bushes~
As a member of Generation X, I should have predicted that members of the Baby Boom Generation would miss the point.

This has nothing to do with generations. It has everything to do with SOCIO-ECONOMIC CLASS.

RICH FOLKS HAVE NO EXCUSE WHEN THEY DIE OF DRUG AND ALCOHOL ADDICTIONS.

Poor people and middle class folks deserve our sympathy and help.

Rich people deserve our contempt. They have every advantage and opportunity and they throw it away. They are crap.

I feel nothing for Amy Winehouse or any other millionaire who dies of an overdose. Nothing.
But every junkie's like a setting sun. Pity she didn't have more mental wherewithal. Almost tragic.
I am hard hearted about men like you who eat themselves into oblivion, have heart attacks, and drop dead. No tears for you either. Your lifestyle is a choice.
If Amy Winehouse had been an accountant or a computer programmer, nobody would have taken note of her death except family and friends. But if she had been an accountant or a computer programmer, she would have had to address her addiction more forcefully because she would have needed to function on a day-to-day basis in order to make a living. Because she made money quickly in the music industry, she was able to go on all the benders she wanted. The admiration of her fans, the toadies and hangers-on and the record label bean counters all helped enable it.

To me, the main difference between Winehouse and John Doe down on Skid Row is that she had a marketable skill and perhaps John Doe didn’t. Which, come to think of it, means John Doe’s story is more tragic in my eyes.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m sorry about her death and I feel bad for her family. I’ve known too many people who couldn’t get the monkey of addiction off their backs. The sad fact is, though, that if Winehouse hadn’t been a junkie and a drunk, most of us would have forgotten about her by now. Which is why I can’t get too misty-eyed over her death.

Grif’s comment hinted, correctly, that the definition of “tragedy” was really a red herring. I used that as a way to provoke because I'm annoyed by the sentimental twaddle that gets bandied around at a time like this. Of course her death was tragic. But as far as tragedies go, pretty trivial.

@Harry’s Ghost: We shouldn’t comment when we don’t know all the facts? I’ll remember that the next time there’s a discussion of politics on OS. Or in fact, a discussion of anything.
A good essay, Cranky. I still see the whole thing as a tragedy, though. Her life, and her death. R
@Dover Soul: How do you know I'm eating myself into oblivion? Are you really my wife in disguise?
She had a lovely voice, and I mourn any passing of true talent.
If you've ever cared for someone with substance problems, you know what her mother meant. Just a matter of time... and the tragedy is the pain and guilt left behind for loved ones to try and sort through after it's done.

It's been said in lyrics 'only the good die young'; some souls need to blunt their psychic pain with behaviors that will destroy them early on. Winehouse seems to fit the description.
1:/
What Scanner said.
2:/
The art to staying alive is to keep breathing. Forget that and you're dead.
Amy was born in a crappy area of London and as her head mistress from snr school said was a highly talented writer but needed discipline etc. Her father tried and failed.
She was a manageable asset to the music label,branding company,manager, hangers on, the media and in love with a piece of filth drugy called Blake.
When she booked herself OUT of Rehab at the Priory in London 3rd June .
She was 'managed' by those who wanted to make money before she was burnt out or dead.
Before the drugs and vodka she was a nice girl.

If I were relig'arse I might say;

"Drugs are a gods way of saying you earn too much" -
but whilst people from hairdressers to billionaires think it's 'cool' then it'll continue.
The media liked her a mess as she sold copy.
SHit Happens then it Evolves - Gawd bless America and a not so Great Britain.

"NExt"
I feel sorry for her famil--her parents must be grieving for this end. But my single greatest association with the name Amy Winehouse is for addictive, self-destructive behavior, rather than for any kind of musical talent. Like you, I don't see anything heroic about courting self-destruction and resisting any overtures of help.

rated
(ooowhooohoooohoo, Crankster. I just read back through the comments and I think somebody up there said you were a fat ass! funny, and a little tragic...)
Oh dear heavens, not that anyone cares, but I can't let a typo go in an important comment. I do, in fact, know how to spell "probably." Just got caught up in the moment...
"Don’t get me wrong. I’m sorry about her death and I feel bad for her family. I’ve known too many people who couldn’t get the monkey of addiction off their backs. The sad fact is, though, that if Winehouse hadn’t been a junkie and a drunk, most of us would have forgotten about her by now. Which is why I can’t get too misty-eyed over her death."

Woooo!!! Do you hear yourself??? You sound like a judgmental, pompous, self-righteous a-hole. Any loss of young life and potential, whatever circumstances, is a tragedy!!!
"You sound like a judgmental, pompous, self-righteous a-hole. "

Wait, I'll have you know, Cranky might be a judgemental, self-righteous a-hole, but he's never pompous!! I've never seen him wear a pomp in the time I've known him!!!

~nods and wanders off~
Talented? Oh, yes!
Tragic death? Oh, no. I agree with you: tragic means it couldn't be helped.
I feel like spitting when people refer to an alcoholic and/or drug-addicted actor, a singer, an artist, as a "troubled soul". No one speaks of poor Uncle Joe as a "troubled soul". After all, how could Vietnam possibly trouble someone's soul?
How about that homeless man on the corner? After he lost his job, his insurance, he couldn't find a doctor willing to treat his bipolar disorder for no charge. Isn't his soul troubled?
I don't understand why so many have more sympathy for people surrounded by a strong support system, by family and friends, who have more money than they will ever need but STILL are looking for the "something else", the urge to feel even better.
I may be cocky (as you are cranky, heh) but I suspect that if I never had to make the choice between my RX's for the month or paying my mortgage, I doubt I would turn to a bottle or a powder, a needle or a pill.
http://open.salon.com/blog/cranky_cuss/2011/04/01/i_got_writer_moms_bd_video_up/comment

No tears for a fat ass who lacks humanity, but obviously never misses a meal or 10. I'll bet your doctor has told you to lose at least fifty pounds. Keep stuffing your face. It's your choice. You're doing it to yourself and the already overrun healthcare system can do without you.
"She had a lovely voice, and I mourn any passing of true talent."
Dr William Lee
Well stated Doctor Lee.
@Dover Soul: You must have devoted a considerable amount of time to finding that. I admire your persistence.
Some people are better off dead. It seems to be a successful life if just one person misses you. We all have to die and the tragedy is just drama. Sometimes when people die young it helps other people realize that they need to stop their addiction. My friend just died fat and drunk. It was horrible but Im glad it is over for him. May they rest in peace. Sure makes me wonder what goes on in the afterlife. Are the angels all up there yelling advice to us?

And of course there is the question..."Do you want to live a long boring life or a short exciting one."
Yes, you lack empathy. It is not necessary to approve of a person's self-destructive actions to feel sadness at her early, pointless death. It is possible to feel sympathy for her family just because they are people who are sad and bereaved. You don't have to make her and her family into symbols of something else. They can just be people who have and will continue to have a lot of pain.
Cranky: I take issue with a couple of things. First this, "I suspect I'm hard-hearted about this because of my age." I'm not sure how old you are but my guess is you might be younger than me. Hard-heartedness and middle to upper age (whatever that means) do not need to go hand-in-hand. It's not fun to be hard hearted and when I feel my cynicism having its way with me, it's something I fight hard to resist. I hope I live to be 100+ full of openness, curiosity and the willingness to admit I don't know much of anything.

Second, while you may know some people who have struggled with addiction, have you worked with one? Have you sat in the company of Addiction, a force so strong that I experience it as a separate entity that wants to destroy? Have you not been drawn to something that ultimately wasn't helpful to you (this are rhetorical questions). I'm conflicted about the whole powerless and disease model way of thinking, but I know this. I hate Addiction. The addict is not the Addiction. And Addiction is a very big and powerful system.

I was addicted to wine. Call me an alcoholic, call me powerless. I don't care about the labels. For some mysterious reason I will never truly understand, my back and forth decade long struggle ended for me with a simple and basic moment. Crystal clear. The question had finally been asked and answered. No more discussion. No more alcohol. No AA. No 12 steps but plenty of humility. This was 5 years ago. Now, it sounds simple and it was but I will never know why it was so simple after so much tug of roping with my daily dependence. It was mental water-boarding. And I would never be so arrogant as to think that I found some magical formula on how to quit such a strong addiction. I'm not religious, but spiritual enough to say when I see my clients overcome by the forces of Addiction, my friends, or those like Amy Winehouse, "There but by the grace of God go I".
Hard to miss while watching your wide end flounce in and out of here like a bi-polar monkey on steroids riveted by his own reflection. This post is called bottom feeding. You write about the pain of others and say you don't care. What a load of bullshit.
I am so sorry you don't understand. Amy had a severe mental illness -- she was bipolar, and not under treatment. Many of us kill ourselves. I survived three days of coma after my try, and am, astonishingly, now in my 60's. Many of us try to fix ourselves with alcohol & drugs, which of course make things worse. Free will only goes so far. I don't think Amy had much.

You might find this Washington Post article of interest: http://wapo.st/ovH7qv
@Dover Soul: How old are you? You sound like a 16-year-old who's been grounded and had his driving privileges taken away. Are you stomping your feet while writing, "You're a fat ass and I hope you die?"
I am 67 years old. I never said I hope you die. I said that when you do, from your insane addicted to food lifestyle that you cannot stop, there won't be any tears. Hopefully, Team Kevorkian will be in place at that time because although I find you to be a complete asshole, I would want you put out of misery as soon as possible.
@marytkelly: I understand. I had a brother-in-law who was consumed by his crack addiction. But after seeing him go in and out of rehab several times, and screw things up every time his life started to get straightened out, and seeing him get fired from a job because he scammed $20 in cash from a company credit card in order to buy crack, I realized that he probably would never stay clean. And when the inevitable phone call came, I was neither surprised nor, except to feel sorry for my wife, particularly sad.

Everybody keeps talking about compassion, but my feeling is that what Amy Winehouse needed was tough love, someone in her entourage - family or friend - who would say, "We're getting you help and we're not taking 'no' for an answer." But it doesn't seem like anybody did. Maybe it wouldn't have made a difference. She had a lot of money and a lot of free time and a lot of hangers-on and record executives who didn't want to derail the gravy train.

My point is not to be unsympathetic to the addict, but to stem the romanticization of musicians whose demons overcome them. There are people out there who are drawn to such stories and may be likely to follow the same path.
@Dover Soul: I know you didn't say that, I was exaggerating for effect. Glad to know you think I'm an asshole even though you don't know me, and glad to know you want me to be put out of my misery quickly and I wish the same to you. Sorry to tell you, though, I've passed all my physicals.
I don't believe that for a second. Your face looks bloated and you look altogether fairly unwell. I don't have to know you. This is OS. I just think you're an asshole sight unseen. That's how it works, isn't it? Never talked to you, don't want to. Don't need to. This 'article' says it all. You are definitely in the running for Bottom Feeder of The Year. Gorging on a 27 year old artist. It's chilling, really. A real vampirish thing.
@Dover Soul: For someone who doesn't want to talk to me, you have a lot of trouble shutting up. And my feelings would really be hurt by your comments if I had any respect for them, which I don't.
You'll notice Pete Townsend didn't die before he got old. He's still around. And he's old.

I don't know enough about Amy Winehouse to comment. So I'll say something about someone else on your list: Kurt Cobain. He committed suicide when he had an infant daughter. Regardless of what his problems were, I'm not sure I can ever forgive him for that. Obviously, I'm a parent. (Or perhaps I should have said "apparently")
I thought this was a thoughtful piece, but it sure has riled up a few easily-riled up people.
Dover Soul appears to have created himself just today for the sole/soul purpose of commenting here.
philosophy, hm?
what is a tragedy?
aristotelian: pity and fear?
is it indeed something we take on and put off?
ah if then she=got what she got cuz she
1.knew the deal
or
2.didnt & got swallowed.


is tragedy the opposite of comedy?
what is comedy?
amy w. dead can be comedy.
she cared so much about rehab

ah she went there & got em all high and made a song
and made a buck for
her promoter then
died colleccting.
ha
ha

uh, no


comedy is tragic and tragedy comic.
and so what?
all is well. dont worry.

dylan:
"it's life and life only"
(its allright ma i only bleeding)
philosophy, hm?
what is a tragedy?
aristotelian: pity and fear?
is it indeed something we take on and put off?
ah if then she=got what she got cuz she
1.knew the deal
or
2.didnt & got swallowed.


is tragedy the opposite of comedy?
what is comedy?
amy w. dead can be comedy.
she cared so much about rehab

ah she went there & got em all high and made a song
and made a buck for
her promoter then
died colleccting.
ha
ha

uh, no


comedy is tragic and tragedy comic.
and so what?
all is well. dont worry.

dylan:
"it's life and life only"
(its allright ma i only bleeding)
Cranky: Thanks for the thoughtful response. I think from your "title" I was focused more of looking for compassion in your piece. When you said this, "My point is not to be unsympathetic to the addict, but to stem the romanticization of musicians whose demons overcome them. There are people out there who are drawn to such stories and may be likely to follow the same path." Yes, I agree with you on this. Perhaps a little like teen suicide if, unchecked, can become a small epidemic...it has a contagious quality about it. I've always wished that Jim Morrison was still alive...I think he would have continued to have a very interesting life and it makes me wonder how even more his talent would have shined had he experienced sobriety.
for idiots:

advertising signs they con
ya into believin you the one
that can do what never been
done
that can win what never be won...

meantime life

she go on

outside ya.

(ps ya suddenly find ya got nothin to fear.)
(wanna know the secret? pay.)
(your rules, demons, yours.)

(i free)
james m
jimmy m
wanted to grow a beard and be a
businessman.

see "no one gets out alive"

eh, ya,
tis the end.

the children of the sun
get a trumpet for a wake up call,ha.

see artjames.
james m
jimmy m
wanted to grow a beard and be a
businessman.

see "no one gets out alive"

eh, ya,
tis the end.

the children of the sun
get a trumpet for a wake up call,ha.

see artjames.
Yes, just the same as you have no respect for Amy Winehouse nor did you know her, but you will write about her. I certainly wouldn't expect you to have any respect for me at all and you are at less than zero for yourself.
Indelible,
Dover Soul is simply pointing to the bleeding obvious.
This is base.
If you really like Amy's voice buy an effing cd. You'll have it like, always.
Some people, especially among artists, self destruct because they are too sensitive to live in this world. They cannot stand the evil surrounding them. They do drugs and die; they hurt no one but those who love them. That said, Joplin's death, for example, was a grave and historic tragedy. She was a great talent. Now, let me ask you this. If someone like Ann Coulter dies at 27 after she wins the Nobel Peace prize, is that a tragedy? R
I like what smokeysmom said.
Bottom feeding, vile, contemptuous -- yes, I think that's about right. Anything for an EP. And you have the nerve to spit on a real artist?
Oh, and your erstwhile "purpose" -- to prevent others from following her path -- is utterly phony and self-serving. No one gets up in the morning and chooses to become addicted to the point of death just because someone else did. Your moralizing is as despicable as your endless quest for ratings and EPs.
cool appraisal of being dead suggests it might well be an improvement on the alternative, especially if the alternative is going on in an african refugee camp.

we get slushy about celebrity tragedy for various reasons, but at the heart it is crying for ourselves: not only are we not rich and famous, but even if we were it might not be much fun.

life is bumpy for most people, and then you die. with luck you develop a rugged sense of humor, think of the good moments, and die with "i wonder what's next.." on your lips.
I needed to round this to 50.

I simply think this is sad. I have to agree with NeilPaul on the difficulty of distinguishing between disease/illness and what may have once been a serendipitous "try this - it's amazing" experience gone terribly, terribly wrong. None of us know her character, so none of us can judge it.
CC,

Thanks for writing about this. I view AW's death as a tragic ending. However, her untimely death leaves questions about why she was self-medicating.

Something had to have happened in her earlier life that caused her to have the subconscious need to self-medicate. What was that?

People self-medicate due to undiagnosed, or diagnosed but untreated, mental health issues. It seldom has anything to do with choice. Rather, it has to do with need - the need to feel good or feel better. (those feelings are different.) The human brain is subconsciously wired for “feeling good” or “feeling better” about oneself.

Depression, Anxiety, Bi–polar Disorder, Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, Sex Abuse, Rape, and many other conditions can be the “driver” for self–medication. Untreated, any of those conditions can lead to a train wreck for a life.

That is not my opinion. It is medical research and fact. More likely than not, AW has mental health issues that were not being treated or "addressed" in a professional manner.

Recent research shows the someone who smokes sets up the possibility of sudden death. If AW was a smoker, her last cigarette might have caused medical conditions that triggered her death.

Though not a “drug” per se in the sense of cocaine, methamphetamine or heroin, tobacco is addictive and can cause serious medical issues that can lead to sudden death. Again, not my opinion, but medical fact. Yet, many millions of people still smoke.

So, let’s not assume anything about AW’s death, until the facts become known.
Well Mr. Cuss I hope you have enjoyed all of this attention.

Sad or a tragedy, I don't know if it matters how you label it. But I do know that when a young person dies like this the lesson my Grammy taught me many times over applies: If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all.

To lift a quote from your bio: You are not Einstein.
Yes, the death of any young person who will never experience the joy and pain of a long full life, is a tragedy.
That you got an EP for this bile while Ardee, who wrote a much more insightful, knowledgeable and truthful piece (better written too), http://open.salon.com/blog/ardee/2011/07/25/a_talented_musician_passes_the_media_rolls_in_bullshit
makes me realize why no one of any real merit publishes regularly at OS any more. I'm guessing you are more than proud of your "achievement." It certainly overshadows anything the object of your derision might have accomplished in her short life, sarcasm intended.
agree with Greenheron :( so easy to judge others when we are not chemically all the same. A choice for you is not necessarily a choice for someone else. It's like a millionaire saying that you are obviously a poor parent for not sending all your kids to ivy league schools, when that's just not within the reach of most middle class Americans. It's not that they wouldn't want to, they just don't have the ability.
Looking at my patients I can tell you that I have many of the same tendencies/inclinations to weirdness that they do- it's all in the intensity or the severity of illness. Some people get a touch of something and they survive and are 'successful' other people get a large dose of a disease and they die. It's no more about willpower or choice than that.
I like it,I usually go shopping at http:// www. upsfashion.com/ . they have many kinds of product, Including shoes, clothing, belts, bags and so on.but the price all is cheap .
I like it,I usually go shopping at http:// www. upsfashion.com/ . they have many kinds of product, Including shoes, clothing, belts, bags and so on.but the price all is cheap .
I like it,I usually go shopping at http:// www. upsfashion.com/ . they have many kinds of product, Including shoes, clothing, belts, bags and so on.but the price all is cheap .
It is a tragedy when a talent like hers could not eliminate the demons. Your reaction of anger is very valid and, no, your heart is not hard.
Don't want to get caught up wondering if the word "tragedy" is appropriate or not. Is anyone's death a tragedy? I do think it's a pity because her talent will be missed by many. Is tragedy defined by how many people will miss you? I do think it's sad, I think it's a pity, and I'm not going to judge her. We all do the best we can at any given moment - whether that's considered good or bad by others (and isn't that always subjective?). She was young, she was headstrong, and she was addicted. If anything is a "tragedy", it's that the drugs were stronger than she was.
Hey CC,

Kinda feel the same way.

For whatever it's worth (coming from a so-called troll like me), DoverSo? and emmapee-2 are outta line with their criticisms.

[R]
Thanks for saying the unsayable, and for letting me know I'm not the only one who reacted as you did.
I respectfully disagree with you on this one, Cranky. You say you've seen this story too many times. Any time addiction claims another life, I believe it's a tragedy - whether the person is young or old, rich or poor, homeless or lives on Easy Street - addiction doesn't discriminate. It isn't a character flaw and it certainly isn't a choice.

Addiction is a much-maligned and greatly misunderstood disease. Frankly, I don't think we'll see any measurable progress toward its treatment unless and until we, as a society, find the grace within ourselves to shelve our self-righteous and judgmental attitudes. Judging from the comments here, we are a far piece away from that.
You make some excellent points here. AW did not produce much work..oh, but I so loved what little she gave. She was mostly famous for being a train wreck, but that's as much about the media culture as anything. Yes, she showed her behind in public many times, even showed up on stage drunk. But it's also true that photogs camped outside her door just waiting to catch her in a compromising position.

It doesn't matter so much to me what word is used. I will use the t-word only for convenience. Any time a person, especially one so young, dies a preventable death it's a tragedy to me. Why so? Because I know that perhaps one more year, or month, or even one more day of growth could have made all the difference. Michael Jackson died because he stupidly thought he could get away with taking a coma inducing, intraveneous medication just to get a few hours of shuteye. The real tragedy--he was always able to pay someone to say yes. Perhaps he would have come to his senses eventually and lived to become the elder statesman of pop, rock, and soul. Perhaps not. We will never know.

With Ms. Winehouse, there was so much raw talent and potential. What she had was extremely rare. Like so many others I feel the loss. I simply wanted more from her. With so many addicts in my family, I know for sure that most do not die so young, and not all will remain stuck on stupid for life. Addicts can and do get better. The trick is to stay alive long enough to reach the point where the will to live and thrive in good health is stronger than the call of the substance/behavior. If only her frail little body could have held long enough for her troubled mind to find the light of reason.

For those of you who are attacking Cranky personally--get a life!
KimAsshby writes "(Addiction) isn't a character flaw and it certainly isn't a choice".

Bullshit.

With the exception of those who get addicted to painkillers while battlin' an illness, addiction certainly IS a choice and/or character flaw.

All of us would love to "check out" of the difficulties of life every once in a while by getting high or drunk. But those who do it constantly (a choice) prior to physical dependence where it gets to the point of addiction, are extremely selfish (a character flaw). They value themselves over others.

I have no problem being judgemental about and self-righteous about my value to society as a caring, responsible, productive member of my family and community versus a junkie who cares about no one except himself.
A lot of letters, Cranky. Your words inspired a lot of reaction. Some very strong and very rude. But, you were sort of rude about Amy Winehouse's death.

I just saw Woody Allen's "Midnight in Paris". It featured a lot of writers, painters, and some musicians who were consuming a lot of alcohol as part of the plot. Some, especially Ernest Hemingway, was larger than life in his narratives in the script. He always had a drink in his hand. And, of course, history tells us that he committed suicide.

So, one poster did state that some people would prefer to live an exciting life and live on the edge instead of a long life. This is an individual point of view as well as choice.

Addiction sometimes covers up other major problems in personality and organic thought patterns. None, except her family, knew the whole story. So, we only know what the press says. I think that your essay is based on assumptions. Your use of the world tragedy is left to be defined by the reader.

I would prefer to die than live as some of the elders in my family. They give up and wait on the veranda to finally die.
I think this is a very judgmental, sanctimonious and self-righteous piece. You didnt know Amy Winehouse, you didnt know what she thought, what she felt, her pain, her sorrows, her joys, her desires. You didnt know her period, and yet, you come on here, and write a holier-than-thou piece where you seem to be omniscient and god-like in your judgement. Well Mr Perfect-Life, judge not lest you be judged yourself. Amy was a beautiful, extremely talented girl, who got lost, but according to you, thats because she's worthless, a junkie, an addict and not worthy of sorrow. Well you simpering small man, addiction is a hell of a place to be in, and just because you have never went through it doesnt mean its not a serious affliction that every addict would wish to leave.

And further you little worm, toxicology reports have shown no drugs in her system when she died, as if that makes things better.

I suggest you be more humble about your self, and more aware of you common humanity and kinship to all humans. Your type often displays the worst character aspect of humanity, the haughtily moral, upright, self-righteous and given to false displays of piety.

You should be ashamed of yourself and your lack of compassion.

It is truly to be said that many more people will mourn for Amy than will moan for you, you sanctimonious arrogant windbag.
Yo KevO --

You have a right to your opinion (as wrong as it might be); however, don't distort facts. Toxicology reports won't be available for several more weeks, you create-a-screen-name-to-post-a-comment idiot.

Carry on.
Cranky, the vultures must think you're dead, circling the way they are and squawking amongst themselves. Be careful, bubba, they've been known to vomit vile viscerals without warning...oops, something almost landed on me! Probly will in a moment or two.