And such reflections don't usually go very well.
Yesterday, the toxicology report on Amy Winehouse came in. Well, sort of. Cause of death still undetermined, but they know it wasn't drug related. Well, thank God for that. People were stupid enough when they suspected it.
I didn't write anything about Winehouse's death because I didn't want to associate myself with all the idiots celebrating her demise. I wasn't that familiar with Winehouse personally. I knew she recorded an album that had people raving about her talent and her self-destructive behavior. In the days after she died, people were practically stumbling over themselves to chant, “That's what you get!”
(To be fair, we don't know how much of her drug use was part of her act at any given moment. She could have eventually gotten herself under control, but the drug use was such a part of her image, she had to maintain it. Dean Martin always had a rocks glass with him on stage with what looked like whiskey. Turns out it was actually iced tea, but only someone who drank from it would know. Martin said he did it just because he had a reputation to maintain. So it wouldn't surprise me if some of Winehouse's act was just that – an act.)
True, Winehouse was unrepentant about her drug use and even recorded a song declaring she wouldn't go to rehab. But there are far more evil people in the world, people far more deserving of hatred, and saying someone with addiction problems deserves to die just strikes me as cruel. The correct response is, “Oh, man, is she in trouble,” not “Overdose, bitch!”
In fact, most of these people celebrate other unrepentant drug users. Rap stars constantly brag about their drugs of choice, whether using, acquiring, or dealing. Rock stars were enabling their own bad behavior (of which drugs are only part of the package) long before Steve Tyler was a sperm in his daddy's gonads. Elvis was on so many drugs, a sneeze from him might have cured a third world country. Jim Morrison....say, you don't suppose there's some sexism involved here, do ya? The guys who do this stuff are celebrated as cool dudes, and women who do this stuff should be ashamed. Naaaaaaaaah....
There are also plenty of other people who behave...well, let's be polite and say questionably. Gretchen Wilson is a country singer who openly brags about being a redneck. Now, her worst drug is hard liquor, but it seems like that was Winehouse, too. The toxicology report detected alcohol in her system, and if that's grounds for someone deserving death, 99.9% of the country is going to keel over. There's this, “Oh, WE'RE responsible! SHE isn't! SHE deserves it!” to that.
Winehouse came along at the worst time. The entertainment industry has learned that people like to be bad. Such behavior was scandalous years ago. Now, it's necessary so that audiences don't dismiss you as a goody two shoes.
Should her handlers have tried harder to save her? Maybe. Should the public have been more interested in celebrating her instead of her lifestyle? Maybe. Should Winehouse have put her foot down and risked everything? Maybe. There's a lot of blame to go around here, folks, and heaping it all on one or the other isn't the way to go.
If you are religious, spare a prayer. If you aren't, spare a thought. But please spare a moment for a person who poured through the cracks and deserved better.