When Amy Winehouse died just over a week ago, the Internet exploded with reactions. It seemed that everybody with a blog, twitter or facebook account was in a race to make their thoughts known before anybody else. That it was important to be opinionated, and avoid any sort of subtle, middle ground. You couldn’t turn around without exaggeration.
People exaggerated their shock; they could not understand how a drug addict and alcoholic who last recorded an album five years ago could possibly have died in tragic circumstances at a young age.
People exaggerated her importance to music. A talented singer with only two albums — the last of which was released nearly five years ago — was elevated to a person who had the significance and influence of a Beyonce in 2011.
People exaggerated the extent to which Winehouse — and, by proxy, any addicted person — could help herself, and insinuated that she could have simply stopped, cold turkey, any time.
And people exaggerated the extent to which Winehouse was a victim of her addiction, insinuating that help was not available, or that nobody ever tried to extend help, or that the largest obstacle between Amy Winehouse and rehab was something other than Amy Winehouse herself.
Amazingly, I even saw her death blamed on Tory cuts to the NHS. I wish I had saved that link.
But most amazingly, I read what Russell Brand wrote about the whole thing. And now I have to say that I like something Russell Brand has done. And that’s just weird and wrong.
Brand manages to be nuanced and personal, while seeing the forest for the trees. It’s worth reading.