Western culture appears to be at a crossroads when it comes to Amy Winehouse.
On one hand her parents are calling for people to not buy her album or to support her nomination for MTV awards because they claim it only rewards her addiction based, off the rails behavior which is fair enough. Although, one could assume that her crippling emotional pain and damage urges her on as much as the public’s embracing of her extraordinarily self negating behavior.
America’s brand of pop culture doesn’t discern between good and bad when it comes to celebrity behavior; only who is more grotesque and fascinating to gawk at. Consequently, with her critically acclaimed album AND her public, blood soaked brawling – it’s all on the way up. That’s also how the vultures at MTV see it.
MTV asked Spears, Lohan and Hilton to show up and take home awards for being the most newsworthy characters over the past year. All declined probably because they want to emphasize the work. That in itself is astonishing because the main work of Spears, Lohan and Hilton isn’t their acting or singing, it’s the chaos of their lives. Sort of like Anderson Cooper. He’s a journalist; sure. He is, much more than that, a cute, repressed homosexual, New York City heir. The down side to simply embracing that part of themselves is that, you know, they’ll die soon if they don’t get it under control.
Dying did wonders for Anna Nicole Smith’s career but then, she actually had to die so she probably can’t use the royalties which is a shame. That’s the catch of the whole “death for publicity thing”. You die.
On the other hand, like Britney, Lohan and Hilton – Winehouse’s little dance with the devil of addiction in the pale moonlight of publicity has brought her enormous marketability. She sings about not wanting to go to rehab and she really doesn’t want to go despite authentically needing to. In a culture where “rehab” is just the contemporary equivalent of confession that takes some real doing.
Along with this conscience driven tug of war between the good and the bad that Winehouse is going through, there’s a physical metaphor for it in her actual life. According to an interview given by Amy Winehouse’s parents, Winehouse’s husband’s parents hang out at the pub with them. Good vs Evil. Disapproving Parents vs. Enabling Parents. MTV and a career vs. a stint away from the spotlight.
It’s just so hard these days. [source]