Why It’s Not “Too Soon” to Mock Amy Winehouse

1. Because it gets people talking about character, codependency and cowardice: By the end of this week everyone will be tired of talking about Amy Winehouse’s death. But until then, get ready for a week of Wino, because dead rock ‘n rollers are sexier than stalemates in Washington and Norwegian gunman. Besides, how can Wino not make us feel better about our own lives?

I’m sure making fun of Wino will piss off the moaners and crybabies something fierce. Good! That’ll get the discourse rolling. For every person who questions her legacy a dozen more defend it, citing the singer’s talent, style, rebelliousness, and online footage of her better performances. When all else fails, out comes the lack-of-compassion card.

I say, bring on the debate! Regale us with horror stories about Wino’s “demons,” otherwise known as run-of-the-mill “recovery issues.” Remind us of the bipolar medication she rejected on the grounds that it would stifle her creativity, so we can ponder how well that worked out for her productivity. Sobriety has a chance when careless abandon backfires on your lazy ass and you’ve got to fight to outlive your vices gone wild. Wino wouldn’t even put up her fists to fight for her own life.

When alcoholics or addicts of any stripe make a determined effort to clean up, successful or not; on the first, second, or sometimes third attempts an altered awareness of one’s own discontent and troubles enters the equation and positive change can begin. Call it a user-friendly version of the anxieties said addict was trying to anesthetize. Wino failed to give her best shot at achieving Demons 2.0. And don’t give me any of this “but she was in and out of rehab” baloney either, because “in-and-out” doesn’t cut it when someone’s as far down the drain as she was.

Q: What’s the difference between Amy Winehouse and Michael Jackson?
A: Nothing, now.

2. Because Wino got her “too soon” card yanked years ago: If we make fun of Charlie Sheen, Courtney Love, Lindsay Lohan, Paris Hilton, or Amy Winehouse and one of ‘em drops dead from the effects of megalomania-powered self-abuse, does “too soon” really even come into play? I say no. We’ve already been hammering at ‘em for years. If a defiant celeb publicity whore can walk around with a heartbeat and sanction webpages of pre-mortem humor dedicated to their undignified behaviors, certainly post-mortem humor can’t be ruled inappropriate. Sure there’s “a time and place” for certain things, but to me the dominion of “improper” here begins graveside and ends at the grieving parent’s face. Otherwise all bets are off. So no, I wouldn’t go up to Mitch Winehouse at the funeral to tell him his daughter ranks two steps down from Sid Vicious, but that’s about the only occasion where I won’t call this dead duck a dead duck.

Q: What’s the difference between February and Amy Winehouse?
A: February makes it to 28!

3. Because, “get character or become one,” that’s why: Once we start to resist life’s temptations, avoid immediate gratification and self-pitying isolation, once we surmount obstacles or prevail over the consequences of our actions, that’s when we build character. When did Wino let herself experience any of those triumphs?

Now I’m not pushing abstinence, celibacy, monasticism, or any other such thing, but I am saying that extreme excess 24/7 “because you can” (or because you’re “rock n’ roll”) doesn’t get you very far. So when I claim Amy Winehouse was all style and talent but no character, I mean that literally. Not only was she a terrible example to addicts on the fence about getting clean, she never truly sought an achievement deeper than a microphone and a crowd. Sure it’s scary to perform in front of thousands, but it’s a lot more frightening to do it sober and it’s the kind of challenge that could have sparked a little interest in life beyond the next high. Wino never gave herself the opportunity to face life on life’s terms. She never gave herself a chance to build character, so she became one.

BTW, that’d be “Wino” we’re talking about here, the “character” being made fun of. Not the little girl from the 90s who sang her heart out: the doofus whose last professional undertaking was to grab her fans’ money (penniless Serbs no less!) and hit the stage too loaded to perform. Talk about a cheap shot! Wino was cheating herself and her fans by then; I bet more than one person left a breadline to attend that show. So my point is, there’s nothing wrong with making fun of that Wino at all.

What is too bad is it’s the only Amy Winehouse we ever got to see.

Q: What’s the difference between Amy Winehouse and Amy Winehouse jokes?
A: The jokes will get old.

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