I should apologize for not responding immediately to the events in Norway or the demise of Amy Winehouse. I had just flown back from England, having written two new pieces on deadline (one 3000 words), and was grappling with adjusting to Provincetown and jet-lag. Best to wait till you’re rested and coherent than jump in with groggy eyes and clouded judgment. This is still basically a one-man operation when it comes to the big picture items and I needed a rest. I did, however, try to read the Christianist manifesto of Andrew Berwick last night (I’ll use his English name for simplicity’s sake), and will have something to say about it in due course. But two brief thoughts on him and Winehouse.
Berwick is quite obviously not insane. The manifesto has very little in it that you wouldn’t find on, say, Jihadwatch, except for his violent conclusion. That distinction matters a huge amount, of course. But mass murder is not proof of insanity. In some ways, if you truly believed the extremist crap he writes, it makes perfect sense to take up arms against what he regards as tyranny. He’s evil; but not mad.
Tragically, Amy Winehouse finally got what she sought for so long: death. It must in some ways be a relief for her. Her addiction was so obviously overwhelming she couldn’t bring herself to master it and made a decision not to. She even wrote a song defending her desire to die. If someone suffering a terrible disease refuses treatment for it, they are choosing death. That’s what she chose. We have to respect that decision even as we mourn the loss of a brilliantly original artist.