Winehouse vs The Norway Tragedy- Fair Mourning? – By Nick Van Ruiten

Since I am flying under the radar these days, it’s my pleasure to have my little brother, Nick Van Ruiten, contribute to my blog.

Nick is currently living in Minneapolis, MN. He’s an incredible artist and interesting intellectual. Oh, he’s also a stellar pinball champion. So, ladies and gents please give him a warm welcome to Depth in a Shot Glass…


On Friday July 22, I was taken back by the news I heard of the deadly bombing in Oslo and horrific shooting in Utoya island, the capital of Norway. Initially the reports I was reading said 14 dead and more missing, personally I hold a special place in my heart for Norway considering my love for Lefse (Norwegian flatbread), Black Metal!, and their gorgeous women. Aside from those superficial reasons I had always considered Norway an ultimately peaceful country, so to hear of random attacks on innocent civilians was very disturbing and my heart went out to those who lost loved ones in this tragedy.

The next day while getting my morning coffee I saw the newspaper headline and it read “90 plus dead in Norway tragedy, more missing”, I thought to my self  “Wow, this is some serious shit right here”. When I got home I looked up some news websites again hoping to hear exactly what had transpired or any new developments, but to my dismay I was bombarded with “Amy Winehouse found dead at London home”. Now don’t get me wrong, death really does sucks, but how in the fuck is one (talented?) musicians death more news worthy than 100 or so normal everyday working class civilian murders? 100 or so people that we most likely have way more in common with than Ms. Winehouse? Could it be because we are a society so easily seduced by pop culture and celebrity worship? I think so.

You might be thinking I am a bit coldhearted, however my condolences do go out to the family and loved ones of Amy Winehouse, and I am sorry for their loss. Whatever cause of death they find I would just like to take an excerpt from one of her songs, “They tried to make me go to rehab but I said ‘no, no, no‘”, Rehab isn’t a joke, and obviously if people are trying to get you to go, most likely they are worried and really care about you. It was obvious she had problems with substance abuse from the get go, so honestly it really wasn’t shocking for me to hear of her death. the frenzy around her death was eclipsing a nations tragedy, everything from special reports on the news, to everyone and their uncles Facebook status, and to pub/coffee shop banter. Was it really so important? Was this fair to the 100 or so families of the dead in Norway?

The point is that, we live in a society that screams for universal peace and compassion, yet when we could practice it ourselves, we fall into the same shallow traps harder every time we could prove to ourselves that it is all getting better. Personally I was having a rough couple weeks(break up then job loss), I was wallowing in self-pity, until this came about and realized “Shit man, compassion is key!”. We are all inherently awesome, and no one person deity, saint, criminal, celebrity, psychopath, or average everyday you is more important than anyone else. So shouldn’t we show compassion and give our hearts equally to all? 100(Norway) will always be greater than 1(Winehouse). We either have or will experience great loss at some point, you can’t avoid it, but we shouldn’t regulate levels of our compassion and mourning based on anything other than what we personally actually feel. Don’t believe the hype. Love equally. Cheers!


One response to “Winehouse vs The Norway Tragedy- Fair Mourning? – By Nick Van Ruiten

  1. Well said! Hope to see more contributions from Nick in the future.

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