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Would you feel guilty?

The talented singer Amy Winehouse, who has never kept her drug and alcohol habits a secret from her fans or…

By Shira Bick , in Blogs Fit for Consumption: A Commentary on Culture and Values , on January 23, 2008

The talented singer Amy Winehouse, who has never kept her drug and alcohol habits a secret from her fans or the tabloids, was recently captured on film smoking what was reported to be crack cocaine from a pipe.

A musician with a drug problem? Ho-hum, right? She’s definitely not the first singer whose songs have been fused with lyrics about substance abuse. Type in “celebrity drug overdose” on Wikipedia and you can find a long list of artists who died as a result of their drug habits. The truth is, Winehouse’s behavior is hardly shocking.

The only difference is, if Amy ends up dead on the carpet one day like Judy Garland or Janis Joplin before her, we’ll actually be able to document her fall through tabloid pictures and headlines.

Will we, the public, feel guilty that we watched it happen? Will we feel a sense of discomfort or even a sense of shame that we were essentially along for a deadly ride?

Would her death even be as shocking as Garland’s or Joplin’s? Or would we simply shake our heads and say, “Well, you could see it coming.”

Perhaps it’s not the public’s responsibility. It is strange to be privy to such intimate behavior and yet be so far removed from the source. You almost can’t help but feel disconnected. And is it really so wrong to watch?

What about the media? A recent post on the Gallery of the Absurd website reported that a new tabloid called Celebrity Drugs and Alcohol Weekly was projected to hit newsstands later this year. But publishers would argue that they only sell what the public wants.

I personally would suggest that if the media stopped publishing it, the public wouldn’t miss it, at least not after a while.

In the end, if Winehouse wants to destroy herself with drugs, it’s not up to the public to stop her. After all, she’s the one who sings that “they tried to make me go to rehab and I said no, no, no.”


  • Worshiping celebrtities is the modern version of human sacrifice. It performs some sort of cathardic function (god knows what) that human societies have craved since the begining of time. This guy, Dr. Pinksy, (I think), wrote a book about it. It makes sense to me. Humanity can be a sad lot.
    The public craves it. Businesses sells it.

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