Winehouse’s Death Shows Lack of Concern

Media outlets and the American public make a mockery out of the death of singer Amy Winehouse.

As I’m sure many of you know, soul singer Amy Winehouse was found dead in her London apartment Saturday July 23. While her death was sudden and still unexplained, to many fans it seemed like the predictable ending to a lengthy, drawn out Shakespearean tragedy. Talented and young, the singer spent much of her music career living a life of addiction and a tumultuous relationship with ex-husband Blake Civil-Fielder.

I was never a fan of Winehouse, but certainly recognized her beautiful voice and the talent she possessed. This blog is more about the heartbreaking state of addiction, the media’s obsession with celebrity and the public’s addiction to the demise of famous musicians, artists and actors.

Stories about people like Winehouse, Lindsay Lohan and Charlie Sheen are fodder for the media hungry masses. Paparazzi stalk these celebrities and often antagonize them in order to get the latest scoop. Their latest scandals are not only aired on fluff shows like Entertainment Tonight, but also shown with great frequency on reputable news networks such as CNN, MSNBC or Fox News.

This notion brings me to two important conclusions. First, the media is to blame. Second, we as media consumers are to blame.

News outlets are covering celebrity addiction with a rare glimpse into the real issues behind addiction. In recent years, mass media has experienced an explosion of sorts. Media outlets now have numerous of avenues to deliver news to the consumer. There are 24-hour news networks, Internet news sites, news apps for your mobile devices, etc., that allow us to receive information immediately. We are now connected more than ever to the news, which leads me to my second thought.

People are consuming media at a rapid rate thanks to the constant connectedness of the World Wide Web. It seems that we cannot get enough current events. Sadly, the most viewed stories aren’t about the talks to raise the debt ceiling or the hanging of an eight-year-old Afghan boy. Rather, events like the name of David and Victoria Beckham’s baby or the recent NFL lockout remain as top stories on websites.

It seems that we love to stories about celebrities slowly killing themselves with drugs and alcohol. We enjoy watching them slip slowly from reality as a form of entertainment. We make a mockery out of the real problem of addiction and mental illness. Am I the only one who is disturbed by this trend?

I know what addiction and mental illness can do to a person and their family. When I heard of Winehouse’s death, I thought, “Not surprising, but so sad.” I’m certain her family has similar feelings on her untimely death. After all, she had a mother and father who loved her, undoubtedly.

To the people who say, “It’s her fault. She’s the one who did drugs and couldn’t stop,” think about it again. What if this was your child, friend, parent or sibling? Addiction is a mother of an affliction. It takes love and support from surrounding friends and family to overcome. And of course, the addict plays the biggest role in the success of overcoming addiction.

So, I ask you all to take a second look at your media consumption. Ask yourself if you’re watching the lives of these celebrities unfold for the sake of entertainment or true concern. If  your answer is entertainment, find a hobby.

Tell us how you feel in comments.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Doug Curlee July 27, 2011 at 02:20 AM
christal..now you know why i was happy to leave television news after 42 years of it..we started going tabloid the day the o.j. simpson case started.. and we've fallen farther into that abyss every day.. your plea is well stated..your warning also.. will anyone listen? i'm not hopeful. doug
Christal Ferris July 27, 2011 at 02:47 PM
Doug, I couldn't agree more. Few people rarely ignore the tabloid news. Sad, but true. I admit that I'm not immune either, but if I catch myself reading or watching a story about some stupid celebrity scandal, I die a little inside. ;)
Joe Spencer July 27, 2011 at 11:12 PM
So what should the reaction to her death have been? Frankly I had no idea who she even was but then as i read up on her....my god people have been trying and trying and trying to help her. So how do you feel sorry for her at that point? Self-detsructive behavior is bad enough but coupled with the fact she refused help time after time after time. No pity here. Nor do I care to hear about her either. I feel sorry for her family and friends who have had to endure the pain of watching her demise. But there is a sense of relief now for them that they too must feel that at least its over.
Christal Ferris July 28, 2011 at 04:40 PM
Joe, my I don't care about anyone's reaction. It is simply a commentary on the media's lack of regard to people struggling with addiction or mental illness. They are both serious issues that people tend to make fun of when it is a celebrity. It's not a joke. It's a serious issue. Yes, people tried to help her. I get that. I have a brother who has relapsed many times. Of course we have tried to help him for the past 10 years. I feel sorry for him. I feel sorry that he cannot overcome this. Does he make the choice to participate in this self-destructive addiction? Absolutely. However, there are deeper problems that often contribute to addictive behavior. It is a mental disorder that people brush off as the addict's choice. There have been many days I have thought he would be better off dead. That we would all be relieved it would be over. Then, I think of the person that he really is and death is not something he deserves. He needs help and a long-term solution. People with addiction should not be shunned and made fun of. That is my issue.
Joe Spencer July 29, 2011 at 02:28 AM
I agree it's not something to laugh at or make fun of. Not at all. I certainly sympathize that you have had to watch the demise of a sibling. That is not something anyone should have to endure. As for a celebrity such as Amy, I dont think people laughed at all. I think many felt sorry. I didnt laugh, but I sure didnt feel sorry either. She had family and friends around to help her--something many addicts don't have the fortune of. She also had the financial means for any treatment that she could have wanted or needed--again something most adicts dont have the luxory of. She is the one who chose to laugh it off herself and not care. I don't think it was the media or public doing the laughing or shunning.


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »