Celebrity v Tragedy

By reading Facebook and Twitter feeds, one could be forgiven for wondering if the death of Amy Winehouse means more to people that what has happened in Norway.

Both were a day apart, a world away, and both involved death of young people. Death, before it was naturally expected.

One was on a massive scale. Cruel, calculated, perhaps almost unfathomable. Beyond comprehension. Maybe that’s why it doesn’t seem to resonate as much with some as one that was unsurprising, singular, yet possessing something infinitely more powerful.


Is it simply that we recognise her? We know her voice and have connected with her songs, and the people in Norway are as yet faceless, and even after we hear their names, will continue, for those of us on this side of the world continue to be, mostly nameless?

Or maybe it’s because we, as human beings, can handle and understand the death of one, yet we’re not equipped to deal with the atrocity of mass murder.

Perhaps we’re not built like that. We shut out the horror because if we let it in, it would scar us too deeply.

Maybe that’s a good thing. One person taking that many lives should not be easily processed. We shouldn’t be surprised if people close their eyes and try not to feel it. If we could handle it, then death on that scale would have to be commonplace – a terrible thing. We would, in turn be a much colder and harder species.

Both are tragedies. An incredible waste. I just hope that the people who are pouring out melancholy of the death of Amy Winehouse are at least as equally saddened by what has happened in Norway.

The death of one famous person should absolutely not eclipse the death of 92 (at time of writing) people who are not famous. That number which may or may not include a New Zealander.


  1. AnonymousJuly 24, 2011

    Fully agree, Dave!

    The thing that struck me was that Amy all but asked for this death, while the 92 (at time of writing) in Norway hadn't (that we know of.)

    It's an injustice.

  2. I agree completely. I suppose the thing that resonates for me is that Amy Winehouse had a gift, and a choice - to share/nurture her gift and choose to live and have respect for her own health and life. The people tragically killed in Norway had no such thing. Their deaths are a senseless loss, hers is, at least to me, no such thing. She chose the path she went down. Yes, I'm sad for anyone who dies young, but those who are young, full of hope and full of life are the ones I'll actually mourn.

  3. I for one don't understand the grief surrounding one person's death compared to the atrocity in Norway and tragedy in China. One death that is unsurprising, and, to a degree, self inflicted. Compared to hundreds of lives taken unjustly. Death, in whatever form, is sad. But let's get things in perspective.

  4. Dave, You have said exactly what I have been thinking (you just didn't use as many F words as me) Thanks for saying it out loud!