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Death of Reason
By Darryl James (Columnist)
Published August 11, 2011

Today I grieve.

I grieve not for the passing of humanity into the ether, as defined divergently by many.

I grieve not for those I have loved or those who have loved me who are now a part of the great beyond.

I grieve for the death of reason.

For some, the pursuit of sameness which holds a certain comfort delivers a false reality. That reality allows some of us to pretend that we should all think alike and speak alike. We shouldn’t. And we have the right not to. Your right to be you and do as you please is only valid so long as you afford the same right to me and respect it.

Amy Winehouse’s untimely passing has caused many people to abandon all reason.

They abandon reason because they are urging everyone to grieve for her. And, in their urging, they misrepresent everyone else.

They’ve misrepresented my statements to portray me as a hater of Winehouse, or of white people, or of something that makes no sense to me.

I never said that people shouldn’t grieve for Winehouse.

I didn’t even say that Amy deserved to die.

I simply said that people who are grieving should leave the people alone who are not grieving.

And all hell broke loose.

I was accused of being insensitive, of making fun of Amy’s death and of seeking to censor people who disagreed with me. Not only were those thoughts not my own, but I read and re-read my words and I couldn’t find any of those messages.

Reason had failed.

I suspect this is because of what her death meant for them personally.

But it really should be personal. The abject attacks on people who do not grieve for her is the most insane parade of failed reason I have seen in a long time.

Particularly from the extreme nuts who tried to be nice but were essentially demanding that I allow them to censor me.

They wanted me to shut up about their attempts to coerce me into standing with them.

The debate over this debacle reminds me of the debate surrounding Bill Cosby’s rants against the Black community.

On the one side were people who defended him, saying that he had the right to say what he said and that it should have been said. On the other side were people who remembered that he prefaced his statements with “You lower economic people,” and understood what elitists mean when they employ such terms. But the confusion came when the people who defended his right to make such statements wanted the other side to shut up. Really? He has the right to make his statements, but no one has the right to oppose him?

Really? You have to right to grieve for Amy Winehouse and plea for others to do so, but no one has the right to not grieve for her and/or to tell you to leave them alone?

We are all individuals and while this nation is far from perfect, the freedoms afforded in thought and speech are precious indeed.

I suspected and learned that much of the failed reason came from people’s attachment to addiction or to loved ones with addiction, that they embodied in Amy Winehouse.

I just need to know when humanity switched from a desire to stand against failing in struggle and against giving into demons. When did we begin to reward falling away from functionality?

And when did we give way to making heroes out of broken humans who have refused to seek repair?

The same day we began to abandon reason.

It is unreasonable to think that all people will share the same view.

And it is unreasonable to believe that people with divergent viewpoints should be silent.

It comes down to rights.

JFK said, and I paraphrase: Your right to swing your fist ends when your fist connects with another man’s face.

Your right to believe as you do stops when you attempt to abridge my right to freedom of speech.

We don’t have to agree and I don’t have to listen to you.

You don’t have to read this.

You can disagree.

Just don’t be unreasonable.

Darryl James is an award-winning author of the powerful new anthology “Notes From The Edge.” James’ stage play, “Love In A Day,” opened in Los Angeles this Spring and will be running all Summer. View previous installments of this column at Reach James at


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