Yes, the media was complicit in the Amy Winehouse self-destructive soap opera. How could it not? The public will always be starving for blood -- either we live vicariously through her exploits, or validate our conservatism by using her as the Other. The media is supposed to function as a filter.

How does Amy's death matter? On pure humanitarian grounds, it doesn't; albeit talented enough as a pop singer, Winehouse's aesthetics was headed from the bottom since she switched producers between _Frank_ and _Back to Black_, and there was no hint that she might have significant creative output in the short run. Contrast Jimi Hendrix, who was shot down when he was beginning to soar really high. We have a major catastrophe going on in the Horn of Africa, coming from a myriad reasons mostly out of control for those most affected. As much as I have sympathy from the mentally/emotionally fucked-up, being one of them, it's just not the same. The media did cheer her on, but Amy jumped on her own choice.

On the other hand, it does matters as a test case about the media's ability to pass scot-free from its complicity in an insidious, self-serving form of manslaughter. It was to be expected when Kurt Cobain was similarly bullied into overload, but now the very concept of centralized means of communication is financially and morally shaky. Plain economics says print newspapers and magazines are going to whither away. Can they get away with this?

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