Two events this week were featuring famous “junkies”: the first one was the disastrous concert of Amy Winehouse where she appeared too drugged/drunk to perform and the second one was the trial of John Galliano in Paris, facing racism charges after a video showing him drugged/drunk making the apology of Hitler.
In a way, both cases are he same: some very talented artist, praised for their outstanding performances/creations for years, openly and publicly addicted to drugs until their addiction leads to their dramatic lowering; and thus inspiring the general audiance rejection and anger. As long as Amy Winehouse or John Galliano were lucid enough to be able to offer quality services, there was indulgence regarding to their addiction (indulgence and even sometimes something of a fascination! Isn’t Winehouse’s biggest tune a song saying “They tried to make me go to rehab, I said No, No, No“?), but once they became too weak to produce what was exactly expected from them, once they became targets easy to reach, why bother to treat them with the minimum respect due to any human being? Is that the new mainstrean philosophy: treat artists like gods when they are OK, throw them away like old dirty tissues when too wasted to entertain?
Would have Amy Winehouse or John Galliano not been drunk/drugged, their behaviour would be totally unacceptable. But as junkies, they should be treated as they are: people in suffering, in need of assistance and not fully accountable or responsible of what they do/say when they are put in a situation they did not really chose. Indeed, John Galliano has not uploaded the video himself and Amy Winehouse did certainly not arrange herself her tour. In both cases, we have here people suffering from a disease (drug addiction IS a disease), tricked into a public appearance that do not represent them as human beings and as artists.
As junkies, it is of course absolutely necessary that measures are taken to withdraw them from the public scene: they need help and rest to quit drugs, the quality of their work suffers from their addiction and their employers are playing their reputation as well. But the same way no one would consider hooting an athlet for not running well when injured or put charges on somebody talking during their sleep, shouldn’t the public have a much more consideration to these two people who are, after all, the victims of the situation? Why not keep the rage against those who exploit a junkie singer to make money on her past fame or exploit the image of a junkie fashion designer? Maybe because those who are responsible of these two disasters are certainly convenable businessmen, wearing nice suits and having a nice office and all, and above all because they are able to answer the insults, unlike those who are too wasted to react? Actually, I always found very strange how our societies are able to make gods/icons/myths of normal human beings, just because they are beautiful, rich or famous. All we see here with Winehouse and Galliano is the exact counterpart.
The way Amy Winehouse and John Galliano reached the very bottom after reaching the very top, actually, is a reminder: we live in a world were might is right.