Amy Winehouse, Minor Celebrity, Celebrates 28th Birthday

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Amy Winehouse, whose minor 2006 hit "Rehab" was not at all ominous or even cheaply faux-ironic on your Twitter feed the other day, celebrated her 28th birthday September 14 by playing a small show in her native London. Winehouse, whose personal life hasn't really given entertainment reporters much to go on, released a modestly successful follow-up album and has lately performed on the club circuit to a legion of devoted fans, who are not sure what Ms. Winehouse does with her free time. Cats, maybe?

Said one tabloid reader, "I have no idea who that is."

What's strange about Amy Winehouse's death -- what makes me, at least, feel extremely uncomfortable about the knowing way it's been covered, the "Could she have been helped? Was fame too much? What would she have been without the drugs?" variety of celebrity self-help-at-a-distance article -- is that her looming presence in the public consciousness was inflated and eventually maintained mostly by the prospect of her eventual breakdown. Where does sadness stop and complicity begin when public demand and the press's desire to fill that demand turns a talented, extremely troubled singer into an extremely troubled public figure?

Amy Winehouse the boring 28-year-old club singer who lives in an apartment with cats could have produced the same music, died in a cat-related accident, and gotten perhaps a day of back-page coverage. The press-public-marketing feedback loop didn't make the real Amy Winehouse a drug addict and it probably didn't accelerate her death, but it's managed to obscure the fact that hundreds of thousands of people who never heard "Rehab" all the way through, let alone Frank, were interested in Winehouse, at the end, only because she had become a story -- a face that stumbled around in pictures and forgot the words to songs, whatever those words happened to be.

That's a disservice. Winehouse's personal demons as they intersected with her music were interesting and relevant, given her insistence on playing that self-destructive character in songs and interviews. Winehouse's personal demons by themselves, as they were over the weekend, make me wonder what we really want out of our artists, besides column inches.

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Big_oaf2
Big_oaf2

     The introduction of the piece was written as a hypothetical, possible alternate universe news article that could've been written in the future, had WInehouse not died. It was exaggeratedly tongue-in-cheek and played for humorous effect That's what's called "irony," Genius Brains. The "media" wants NOTHING out of artists but column inches

Chris
Chris

I guess the staff at the RFT needed some space filler and decided to fill that space with this trite article.  What constitutes a minor celebrity?  Winning 5 Grammy Awards, winning 3 Ivor Novello Awards? I would offer that is not the definition of a minor celebrity.  Being famous for being in a leaked porn tape, THAT makes you a minor celebrity.  This article was very poorly written article and a poor choice by the music editor for giving it the ok to print.   

cab
cab

She died at 27- not 28.. Latest member of the 27 club.

Brian May
Brian May

"...celebrated her 28th birthday September 14 by playing a small show in her native London."  Amy Winehouse died at the age of 27.Aside from that, this article is poorly written.  Try to read this sentence out loud: "What's strange about Amy Winehouse's death -- what makes me, at least, feel extremely uncomfortable about the knowing way it's been covered, the "Could she have been helped? Was fame too much? What would she have been without the drugs?" variety of celebrity self-help-at-a-distance article -- is that her looming presence in the public consciousness was inflated and eventually maintained mostly by the prospect of her eventual breakdown. "

Kerri Cato
Kerri Cato

I agree, whatever the author was trying to get at was mostly missed. I get where he was going with the first paragraph but still, very poorly written indeed.

JoyGrenade
JoyGrenade

Your grasp of irony and complex sentence structure is enviable.

Brian May
Brian May

What you call "complex sentence structure," I call terrible grammar.  What you call "irony," I call bad journalism.

Jkemmery
Jkemmery

So we have a media person pontificating about the public's demand that the media provide them with sensationalism. Amy made a spectacle out of herself and we watched. Don't blame the public, don't blame the media, blame someone who cared more about putting substances in her body than her own health, art and fans. Amy's story is a tragic one in the classical definition of the word, but this type of post smacks of extreme hypocrisy if you ask me. If you want to change the world, don't be a journalist. Or weren't you aware of that simple fact?

Saint Louis, MO
Saint Louis, MO

for every celebrity gossip tabloid post you make, 10 awesome things that are happening in our city go unnoticed.

hooray for journalism!

cab
cab

You're right! We should never talk about anything else besides the "awesome" things happening in our city. Hooray for logic!

Erica T
Erica T

And yet you are reading, or at the least taking the time to comment on the gossip tabloid post, thus adding fuel to the fire you so dislike. Idiot.

Daniel Scott Williams
Daniel Scott Williams

Where should this person complain about the story?  Seems like the comments section is a pretty good place to get his point across to the writer.  And I gotta agree with them.  There are thousands of places on the internet folks can go to read about stuff that's happening in the rest of the world.  The place where I like to go to read about local music stuff is the RFT.  Guess that's a mistake.

Blogger
Blogger

And yet for every ten posts about awesome things that happen in our city that go unread, the posts about celebrity gossip blow up with page views. 

hooray for the readers! 

cab
cab

And in what way are you NOT being a hypocrite by clicking on article about "celebrity gossip" and leaving a comment? It's not gossip, btw. We're talking about someone's life. Just because that person was a celebrity, it doesn't make it trashy or unimportant.

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