Saturday, July 23, 2011

"the inability to be truly free, that is, ourselves, in reality"

Learning of Amy Winehouse's death this afternoon really moved me. She is one of the people who resisted all that needed to be resisted in the entertainment world and she with all her might, perhaps going beyond what she was able to sustain on her own. She refused to be a packaged product, an entertainment commodity, insisting on doing her own thing. Besides, apart from some classical pieces, she is one of the few musicians my wife and I both enjoy listening to together. Previously, I posted as a Friday traditio her duet with Peter Weller, singing Heard it Through the Grapevine. Given how much I like her music, she should've made more than one appearance. So, Valerie is a special Saturday traditio in honor of her memory.

This afternoon, not long after learning of Amy's passing, in my daily reading from the CL Spiritual Exercises, I read this, said by Fr. Carrón:

Today we see around us an enormous desire for freedom, but at the same time we observe the inability to be truly free, that is, ourselves, in reality. It is as if, actually, we all bow under what is expected of us in each circumstance: in this way, you have one face at work, another with your friends, another at home… Where are we truly ourselves? Not to mention how many times we feel suffocated in the circumstances of daily life, without the least idea of how to get free, except that of waiting to change the circumstances themselves (this often seems the only road for liberation that we manage to conceive of). In the end, you find yourself blocked, dreaming of a freedom that will never arrive. In a historical moment in which freedom is spoken of so much, we see the paradox of its lack, its absence.
What made me attend to these words more closely than I othewise would have was something I read in an article announcing Winehouse's death, tweeted by her close friend, Kelly Osbourne, Ozzy's daughter: "i love you forever Amy and will never forget the real you!" Commenting on a post by a mutual friend, who merely noted Amy's death from her lethal addictions, someone wrote, "We all watched. Feels dirty." I am ambivalent about that statement because Amy Winehouse was so talented, so soulful. Yet, many derived entertainment value from her very public struggles, including her disaster in Belgrade earlier this summer. So, I guess it depends on how you watched, how you looked at her. Don't we all need a loving gaze? We need just the gaze with which Jesus looked on Mary of Magdala.

Requiescat in pace, Amy.

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