Amy Winehouse And The Sure Poison Of Celebrity Rehab
The news hit the wires around 10am this morning. Amy Winehouse was found dead in her London home of an apparent drug overdose. She was 27 years old.
This came as no surprise to anyone. Winehouse had been at the top of many Rock and Roll dead pools since 2008. She had many stints in rehab, a contentious marriage to Blake Fielder-Civil ending with his incarceration and their divorce. Plus the reports of extended bouts with crack, sleeping pills, booze, extreme bad behavior in public and a nasty issue with anorexia all pointed to dying young. There are many out there in Internet land wondering why her demise took so long.
However, there is something else underneath Winehouse’s death, a cynical barrage that began when “Rehab” became a number 1 single and thrust Amy Winehouse into the public eye as a major celebrity. Mick Farren put his finger on the problem in a recent Facebook post:
Amy Winehouse is dead at the crucial age of 27. The booze and drugs certainly killed her but I swear to god she was also a victim tabloid culture and the fraudulent belief that rehab achieves anything but a life-burden of hypocrisy and imposed guilt.
I don’t totally agree with Mick as per what rehab can/does achieve. Steve Earle and Robert Downey Jr., among others, have benefitted for rehab. Ok, it took several trips but something finally clicked in these immensely talented individuals and they are now back to contributing their art to a Mass Man driven society that desperately needs culture and intelligent input.
Farren’s larger point about the Ortega-esque nightmare of that is the modern Tabloid driven celebrity obsessed wasteland that passes as Western media is dead on. Rehab is just a career move these days for those twerps who get caught acting bad in public and play the victim card. Anthony Weiner, Chris Brown et al declare themselves addicts and run to the nearest clinic to be coddled and then turned loose on a 24/7 greedy for more and more fuck ups. Rehab centers like Betty Ford are no longer treatment centers for serious Charlie Parker type addicts and people with real problems. They are sweat lodges to prepare for the next go round with vomiting in public.
For someone like Amy Winehouse, an addict who really needed the help of serious psychological professionals, rehab was just another step on the road to the inevitable. It makes me miss the Oliver Reed's, Peter O’Toole’s and Rat Packs of yore, when public messes were civilized as the altar of victimization had yet to be constructed.
Lindsay Lohan gets lectured by a judge and set free for another romp in the pissant lawless lane. They both were fodder for the 24/7 cable tabloid culture. Lohan, living on the coat tales of Mean Girls will go on servicing our tastes for lightly bad behavior while giving nothing back to the culture that salivates (and cheers) for her fuck ups.
Winehouse used her music to define a time and place for many. Her serious problems with drugs and anorexia delighted the grinder and we are left with the overdose of young possible powerhouse singer/songwriter who was unable to control her own self-destructive impulses - another in the odd statistical surge of dead 27-year old rock and rollers
And so the 24/7 Cable Tabloid monster and its consumers move on to new business.