The Friday Morning Listen: Garbarek/ Winehouse – Esoteric Circle/Back to Black (1969/2006)

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94 people in Oslo, Norway, 1 young woman in London, England, and one elderly lady in Manchester, New Hampshire. Lots of press on the Oslo tragedy. Plenty of coverage on the sad (though not surprising) death of singer Amy Winehouse. One of the first things I saw on the Internet was a complaint lodged against the media about how they were going to spend more time discussing Winehouse than the Norway situation. Clearly, she’s of less importance, or so the sentiment goes.

Yeah, I get it. One story is senseless celebrity trolling, while the other is “hard news.” I see. Sadly, both stories devolved into the usual ugly Internet chatter with the even more usual labels (liberal, conservative, Marxist, Muslim, left, right, multi-culturalism, etc.) being flung around like so much monkey poo. The most ridiculous thing I read about Winehouse came in a Facebook comment. In reply to a “Who’s this Amy Winehouse?” somebody said she was a “Lady Gaga wannabe.” Awesome display of unintentional hilarity and ignorance, right there.

But what about the elderly lady from Manchester, New Hampshire? I was at a doctor’s office waiting room earlier in the week and was watching people as they queued up for the checkin window. This poor woman, probably in her upper 80’s, was having a tough time of it. When it looked like she might have to stand in one place for too long, she took a step back and sat down for a bit. I was afraid she was going to fall. So I’m mulling over these news stories and their relative importance, thinking hey, why is this lady’s story — her life and her decline — any less important than a terror attack and a celebrity death? Why aren’t we interested in her story? And similar stories of her generation?

My point here is that you can’t choose how people are affected by events. By this I don’t mean to downplay the seriousness of what happened in Oslo. On the other hand, Winehouse had family too. Their suffering is in no way diminished by the cartoonishness of her later years.

Jazz from Norway and soul from London: maybe folks should take some of it in and think about what they’re saying. Is that too much to ask?

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Mark Saleski

Mark Saleski

Mark Saleski is a writer and music obsessive based out of the woods of central New Hampshire. A past contributor to Jazz.com, Blogcritics.org and Salon, he originated several of our weekly features including the Friday Morning Listen, (Cross the) Heartland, WTF! Wednesday, and Sparks Fly on E Street. Follow him on Twitter: @msaleski. Contact Something Else! at [email protected]
Mark Saleski
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