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Norway: The Amy Winehouse Connection

5 August 2011

5:38 PM

5 August 2011

5:38 PM

One of the most irritating aspects of modern journalism is the tendency to make spurious
connections between unconnected phenomena. The non-existent links between Saddam’s Iraq and al-Qaeda is the most obvious and pernicious of these. Many conspiracy theories originate from
making connections where none exist. So when I tell you I am about to connect the death of Amy Winehouse to the massacres carried out by a right-wing anti-Muslim extremist in Norway, I would
forgive you for being sceptical.

Both stories were running around my head while I was on holiday last week and I can’t stop thinking about them. I run the risk of sounding a combination of pretentious and fogeyish when I say
that both tragedies have made me think that in western culture we do not do enough to look after our young people and help them make the transition from childhood to adulthood.

Amy Winehouse and Blake Fielder-Civil were two pathetic children who failed to mature into fully-fledged adults. The singer’s second album, Back to Black, is not just a record of the
aftermath of a failed relationship, it marks the singer’s inability to cope with life as an adult. Rehab, the grammy-award winning single, is the cry of a brat, a celebration of arrested

And here is where I get really fogeyish: I don’t think it is entirely unreasonable to suggest that young people experiment with extremist politics for similar reasons that that they
experiment with drugs. And it is no coincidence that Breivik decided to massacre a group of young people on a political education camp. He was intending to exterminate the next generation of
Norwegian progressives.

We don’t much go in for political education camps in this country. But the best way we could show solidarity with the young people of Norway is to begin doing just that.

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