Odds are, you spent a decent amount of time this morning and yesterday reading a bunch of eulogies to Amy Winehouse, the British soul singer who was found dead this weekend. And that's the Internet's job, to start an avalanche of pieces about the same thing. So, to make your life easier, there's only one eulogy to Amy you need to read, and it's written by (no joke) Russell Brand, British comedian and sometime friend of Winehouse. Here's just a sampling. Go to the Guardian to read the whole heart wrenching thing:
Now Amy Winehouse is dead, like many others whose unnecessary deaths have been retrospectively romanticised, at 27 years old. Whether this tragedy was preventable or not is now irrelevant. It is not preventable today. We have lost a beautiful and talented woman to this disease. Not all addicts have Amy's incredible talent. Or Kurt's or Jimi's or Janis's. Some people just get the affliction. All we can do is adapt the way we view this condition, not as a crime or a romantic affectation but as a disease that will kill.
We need to review the way society treats addicts, not as criminals but as sick people in need of care. We need to look at the way our government funds rehabilitation. It is cheaper to rehabilitate an addict than to send them to prison, so criminalisation doesn't even make economic sense. Not all of us know someone with the incredible talent that Amy had but we all know drunks and junkies and they all need help and the help is out there. All they have to do is pick up the phone and make the call. Or not. Either way, there will be a phone call.