A twenty-seven year old girl. Beautiful, talented, insecure. A well-documented battle with drink, drugs, self-harm. Dead – possibly at her own hands.
A thirty-two year old man. Good-looking, passionate, bright. An ‘ordinary guy’. A murderer who has blown up and shot nearly 100 people.
What do we know of these people?
With Amy Winehouse, the writing’s been on the wall for some time. Her struggles with addiction are well-documented. There have been interventions. To some extent, this tragedy could have been predicted – but we’ll never know the whole story.In her tributes, we see two pictures. The public face of an artist who sold more than five million records and influenced a generation of fans and musical contemporaries. The tabloid shots. The interviews. The melt-downs. We know less however, about the private woman. The daughter. The aunt. The friend. The child.
Then there’s Anders Behring Breivik. Just a few days ago, no-one knew his name or face – now it’s hard to forget. A picture is emerging – of a loner, interested in bodybuilding and politics. A devoted son, a quiet farmer, an extremist. As the days unfold, we’ll no doubt hear more about who he is and what he stands for. So far, there’s been nothing in his past to suggest what was to come. Perhaps we will never understand.
It’s fascinating to see the extreme differences between the two:
One person couldn’t cope with fame. The other couldn’t cope with ignominy. One person’s life was out of control. The other was extremely disciplined. One was full of self-doubt. The other was certain he was right. One revealed her problems to the world (“I told you I was trouble!”). The other kept it all inside. One took it out on herself. The other took it out on everyone else.
Winehouse and Breivik show us two faces to anger. Amy directed the hatred inwards. In this interview she speaks of her deep insecurities leading her to drink. The head of A&R at her record label said “She walks onstage thinking that everyone thinks she’s a d***head and thinks she’s sh**.” (source)
a “very egocentric, narcissistic and disciplined man” likely to believe that he was always right.
Clearly they are extreme examples, but is it significant that the woman turned her anger on herself, whilst the man inflicted it on others?