How the predictable can be sad

Who would have thought that some sympathy would cause so much agitation? When Amy Winehouse died on Saturday, we didn’t just lose one of the greatest singers of our time. Her parents lost a daughter, many lost a friend. Yet, most of Amy’s obituaries, along with endless angry tweets and facebook updates, were preoccupied by pondering the apparently surprising scenario that her death left thousands if not millions of people shocked, sad, almost speechless. Amy’s destructive lifestyle had been well-documented by the media: we shouldn’t be surprised, so we shouldn’t be sad. As if the death of a young person could ever really be comprehensibly predictable, because of addictions or depressions or self harm or long lists of tablets you...

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