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What to say?

Most people are seriously more articulate than I am…and it appears that some of us are feeling a particular malaise these days.

I just read Sarah Spahr’s entry for today and thought, “gosh, she pretty much said just and exactly what’s on my mind right about now” as regards Norway, Amy Winehouse, and just generally not feelin’ it. So I’m going to give you the link to her blog, you can see what she’s talking about, and then come back.

The slaughter in Norway was particularly horrifying to me because it was conducted so personally. This man, in cold blood, shot nearly 100 teenagers simply because he decided he didn’t like those kids’ parents’ politics. Reports stated that he actually lured some of the campers out by pretending to be a police officer and shouting out that the gunman had been captured. When the kids heard this news, they started to evacuate upon his “orders” and he shot them. What can you say about actions like that? I just can’t wrap my head around what would make somebody think this was a noble way to act.

Back in 1995, when the US Federal Courthouse in Oklahoma City was bombed by Timothy McVeigh, it was shocking. But I think in some ways, the bombing was less horrifying although it killed more people and wrought greater destruction. McVeigh was at a distance; his crime(s) weren’t executed personally. They weren’t the act of a single, ruthlessly efficient madman with an agenda and a gun. But they are altogether too similar. One unbalanced man who saw himself as a disenfranchised martyr takes the hate, the venom he has been building up over a course of years, and unleashes it on the innoncent, believing, inasmuch as he has a capacity to, that he is acting “for God and Country.”


I’ve been thinking about Amy Winehouse a lot lately too.

I remember the first time I heard about her music. I was at a party with my friend Jennifer, and we were talking about music we liked.
She's got leg(s)!
(Jennifer, the night of said party, brandishing the remains of a Cinderella piñata)

I’d been on one of my periodic Motown binges and told her about singing an accapella version of “Stop, In the Name of Love” with two of my co-workers earlier that week. She told me I really ought to check out this new singer called Amy Winehouse (I hadn’t known how she spelled it, so I had originally Googled “Weinhaus”). Jennifer sang part of “Rehab,” and I thought, “man, this chick must have one hell of a sense of humor…I absolutely must find out more.

That bold voice, the sassy diction, the hugetastic hair, the wild makeup…I was totally smitten. I got the “Back to Black” album and eagerly awaited future offerings. (I’d listened to some of the stuff from her first album which was in a more Jazz style, and didn’t really dig it as I’m not generally terribly tolerant of most jazz, though of course her voice was just as awesome on that). But instead of the meteoric career trajectory she so richly deserved, she got mired down in the rock-and-roll party lifestyle that has claimed so many talented musicians. She was so young, and maybe a bit delicate. Too fragile for the vicious world of entertainment, for the pressure, for the extremes she put her body to.

Instead of becoming my generation’s Aretha Franklin, she became my generation’s Janis Joplin.

Amy Winehouse had a protégé…a young girl named Dionne Bromfield.

This kid is amazing. In the video above she was only 13. Much like LouAnn Rhimes of yore, Miss Bromfield is a kid whose vocal cords have grown up ahead of her stature, and a grown-woman’s voice surprisingly belts out from such a small girl.

Here she is, covering “Ain’t No Mountain (High Enough)” and with aplomb, I might add.

For reference, here’s the mark they had to hit:

They handled this song with skill and respect!

So I have really high hopes for this girl; I hope she keeps her head together, keeps a sensible lifestyle, and carries on the tradition of music her godmother started her on.

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