Instead I want to highlight the danger of endorsing such a volatile figure to our youth. Gone are the days where stars' drug use was limited to Page 6. Now, in our microwave-ready world of instant news and social media it's nearly impossible to not see a wasted Winehouse's slurred and incoherent speech at MTV's Europe Awards. Gone are the days where Elvis's drug use was folklore and River Phoenix's death shocked the world. Today we see intoxicated stars receiving awards and Amy's death, while horrific, was certainly no surprise. Like Anna Nicole Smith, we watched her every moronic slur and every unapologetic drunken misstep unfold. And then we watched her get nominated, on a stage decorated with brightly-colored surfboards, and 20,000 kids in the audience cheering for her victory.
It's not just Amy who Hollywood promotes. Eminem cleaned house at the 2010 Teen Choice Awards; the list is endless. Sure, it's the parents' jobs to tell kids what's right and wrong. But let's face it, we no longer live in a world where parents and their kids eat dinner every night around the table. This is a time where roughly 30% of kids live in a one-parent home, many others live in homes with two working parents, or others live with extended family.
And that is exactly what advertisers are banking on. They know as well as I do that mom and dad aren't going to pause the old TiVo when someone like Winehouse starts slurring her speech and launch into a thoughtful moral lesson. Mom and Dad won't see it--they're at work. Or the awards are shown on a giant sceeen TV in Best Buy. Or in a mall. Or at a friend's house. Or on somebody's iPhone on the subway.
The Internet is abuzz with articles shouting "wake-up call!" regarding Winehouse's death. While her death is tragic and should be a monumental wake-up call, it's not going to be. From Judy Garland to Chris Farley to Heath Ledger to Winehouse, Hollywood's headstone of dead stars reads as long as the boulevard they frequented. There will be no wake-up call. What there will be are more awarding drug-addicted stars. There will be more hooplah and glitter thrown on strung-out celebrities, many of them appearing in commercials for popular clothing lines purchased by tweens, cosmetics endorsements, fast-food songs...even kids' programming like Nick, Jr. and Sesame Street. And inevitably, there will be more dead stars.
And still no lesson learned.