Monday, 25 July 2011

In Memoriam

It is Monday morning, and I am spending the day chillaxing (sorry) after a weekend away which contained little sleep, lots of fun and an excellent lunchtime meal. When I'm at home I love to stay informed and up to date with the news via my laptop/TV/phone/radio, but that wasn't really an option for me these past few days. In the car we only listened to the cricket, I didn't bring my laptop with me, we didn't turn on the hotel TV and it's not really good etiquette to check your phone all the time.

So when I checked Twitter just before bed on Saturday evening, I was desperately sad to see the news about Amy Winehouse. Desperately sad not because I was a huge fan of hers (I'll get to that a little bit later) but because it was all so depressingly predictable. Was anyone really surprised by the news? There was another thing that made me sad, though. Whilst perusing my Twitter timeline, a theme quickly began to develop which I found very odd - the inclination for people to automatically connect Amy's death with the atrocities in Oslo. Please let me take a moment to just briefly talk about both:

What happened in Oslo demonstrates quite clearly the abhorrent and despicable depths to which a human can sink to, and has made me despise the human race just a little bit more. Nobody - except the scumbag himself - can say what has been going through Anders Behring Breivik's mind in recent times, but it seems he is close with Neo-Nazi far-right organisations and has spent time co-ordinating and planning these attacks based on some sort of political protest. At the time of writing, over 90 people are dead, roughly the same are injured. The date of these atrocities - Friday 22nd July 2011.

Amy Winehouse was a musician, but also a very troubled young lady. I'm not into music, hugely, so it is not up to me to say whether Amy was wonderfully talented or not. To be honest, I could only name two of her records - one being a cover and the other being 'Rehab' which I never really liked. However, I've seen enough tributes from music journalists over the past two days to recognise that she was hugely talented, and is a desperate loss for the British music industry. The date of her passing - Saturday 23rd July 2011.

I have referenced the dates for one reason and one reason only - they are the only things even remotely plausible to cite when comparing these two events. In ten years time, perhaps we can look back and say "Yes, these two events in history happened on consecutive days" - but let us be very, very clear on this one. The comparisons end there. Why then, on Saturday night, was Twitter (and later Facebook) riddled with tweets/status updates bringing the two events together?

From a dickhead on Twitter - "Alright, Amy Winehouse made a good song once, but how is her self inflicted death more sad than the terror attack in Norway? 92 people died."

From a dickhead on Facebook - "5 days ago a true British hero was killed fighting for our country. Did you know this? Do you know his name? Did you care? A singer addicted to drink and drugs dies and its all over the news, Facebook and Twitter in minutes!!! RIP Corporal Mark Anthony Palin from 1st Battalion The Rifles!"

One more - "okay I know its sad about Amy Winehouse dying but what about all of the 92 people who have been shot and killed in Norway? Oh yeah that's right, they are not famous!"

People. Seriously, what is this? What on Earth is compelling people to write stuff like this, or think this? Am I completely alone in being able to feel sad for different people in different countries? Can we all not just think like this:

  • I'm very sad that many people have died at the hands of a madman in Norway.
  • I'm very sad that a talented young woman has died.
  • I'm very sad that a soldier has died doing a very difficult job in Afghanistan.
  • I fully understand that these events are in no way connected - other than perhaps time frame - and shouldn't really be talked about in the same sentence, never mind compared and contrasted.
Or is that seemingly too difficult? 

I'd like to finish this post on Amy. What some people don't know is that before the heavy drug use, before the silly hairstyle, before the horrible and odd tattoos, before the "out of it" stage appearances - she was actually a very beautiful young woman, and one who has gone far, far too soon. Don't do drugs, kids.


  1. One of my Facebook friends posted that status you quoted, yet they replaced "singer addicted to drink and drugs" with "smackhead loser". Was very tempted to tell her that that smackhead loser was someone's daughter, just as the soldier they referred to was someone's son.

    You do make some very good points. I did feel that the Norway massacre warranted the lead story position ahead of Amy's death myself, but I was stil disgusted by the way some people were turning it into a competition over which tragedy was more important. Dan Wootton, the ex- News Of The World Showbiz Columnist, was rightfully condemned for implying on twitter that what happened in Norway was "old news" and that the media should put an icon's death at the centre of their coverage. In turn, the constant "rehab" jokes and remarks to the effect of "I have no sympathy for her. She chose to take drugs and deserved what she got", from the anti -Amy brigade turned my stomach. Like you say, you can't compare Norway to Amy or to the death of that soldier. All are tragedies.

    I've probably written a blog myself out of this comment.

  2. That very status was on my news feed today, proving that said 'friend' of mine had no clue about the circumstances surrounding that soldier's death and was just copying that status to make them look superior somehow.

    This fucks me off so much I was gonna post something myself on Facebook but it just descended into an incoherent rant so I left it. At first it annoyed me that people were seemingly trying to compete with how grief-stricken they were (including someone I have a lot of time for who blogged at least three times on the Oslo shootings, and then kept relentlessley plugging his blog..). But then, we had to put up with the usual bollocks whereby people try to show off how much they support 'the troops'.

    I have a lot of respecy for the armed forces, and they do a difficult job, which makes me even more annoyed that so many idiots seek to use their cause to make themselves look somehow morally superior to those who mourn people like Amy Winehouse.