It's difficult to write a post that refers both to the death of Amy Winehouse and to the massacre in Norway, but I feel impelled to because the two events have been linked in many people's minds: some individuals have poured scorn on those who have been saddened by Amy Winehouse's death for - as they've put it - mourning a junkie while nearly 100 innocent young people were ruthlessly gunned down by a deranged neo-Nazi fanatic. My view is that Amy's death is no less devastating to her family and friends than the deaths of those killed in Norway are to their own families and friends. I also tend to have an aversion to condemning people for the way they live when they're not harming anyone else, but on Facebook and in comments beneath articles about Ms Winehouse, there is no shortage of people ready to condemn her; it was her own choice, they say, she brought it on herself. I'm not so sure: I don't believe she began taking drugs and horrendous amounts of alcohol with the attitude, "This will kill me, therefore I choose it." Addiction is not a choice, it is a consequence of bad choices, which isn't the same thing at all, and once you're an addict, the concept of choice becomes rather hypothetical.
It's better to remember her undeniably great talent rather than her sad end. Unfortunately she has joined the ranks of those who in different ways burnt out, such as Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Gram Parsons, Jim Morrison, Phil Lynott, Ian Curtis, to name just a few. Like those others, it's best to remember her through her music.
As for those killed in Norway, I can't believe there's anyone who reads this blog who isn't shocked and outraged by the senseless massacre and waste of so many young lives in the name of an odiously misguided ideology. But among the comments to various on-line articles, I've seen some rather vile anti-Moslem statements, as though this mass murderer's warped motives had some validity, a deceit I believe most decent people would utterly reject. If, like me, you'd like to send a message of condolence to the people of Norway, there is a link here where you can do so.