A Question (or ten) on the Death of Whitney Houston

I guess I don’t understand this outpouring of media coverage for Whitney Houston since her death a little over a week ago.  I understand a certain morbid interest, and I’m not saying she wasn’t a talented singer and actress, but where was this lovefest for her when she was a living tragedy instead of an unfortunate dead one?  Where was this alarm, attention and adoration for her when there was something we, as such a concerned nation, could have done?  WAS there anything we could have done?  If there wasn’t, if she was the product of ongoing lifestyle choices, addictions, bad decisions and blown opportunities, why are we emulating her at all?

I’m sorry if I’m stepping on sensitive toes here, but I don’t understand the outpouring of emotion and shock NOW.  Where was Ms. Houston a week before her death?  Did anyone in the general populous know? Did anyone outside of her circle of influence at the time care

Yet here we are as a nation, as the world, mourning her passing like she was at the top of her game, like she was at the pinnacle of her stardom.

Again, I’m not saying the last years of her life, and her untimely death weren’t tragic, nor shouldn’t be mourned.  But, where were we, the mourners, in all this time between her first drug bust in 2000 and her death due to (most likely) some form of overdose?  Where was her family?  Where were her “friends”?  Where was the Christian community that she claimed to be a part of?  Where have we been?  And why are we surprised now at the outcome of this spiraling, out-of-control life?

As Jennifer Braceras says in her excellent Boston Herald article:

To be sure, the sycophants who called themselves Houston’s friends, while leading her down a path of destruction, bear some responsibility for her downfall. Yet conspicuously absent from the public discussion of Houston’s death is the role of personal responsibility.

The language used to describe Houston’s death is revealing. “Whitney was taken from us too soon,” cooed Anderson Cooper.

Taken by whom, Cooper does not say — but the implication is clear: Death is something that happened to Whitney Houston, not something she did to herself.
(bold print is my emphasis)

I guess what I’m actually questioning is our nation of tabloid reading, “Jerseylicious”-watching, gossip junkies feigning shock at the passing of a public figure wherein that figure was placed on such a lofty pedestal, by that very same public, then for all accounts pushed off, by that very same public, who now have the audacity to go, “Wow, we didn’t see that coming!!  What a surprise, the poor, poor dear!”

Whitney Houston as a talent, and a HUGE voice in pop music will be missed, no doubt.  But that voice and that talent has been “missing” for years now.  So, c’mon people, gimme a break with the over-romanticizing dumptruck!  You–we–have no right.  And, she deserves the rest.

2 thoughts on “A Question (or ten) on the Death of Whitney Houston”

  1. Yes, it is annoying to read the over-romanticized comments and I, too, cringe at the inappropriate hero-worship in our society which often ignores personal responsibility.

    BUT—–your message also conveys a sense of scornful blame directed both towards her and those who may have neglected her. The fact of the matter is we have no way of knowing how many people may have stepped in to try and help her. There may have been many private conversations and pleadings we know nothing about. If she rejected all such attempts at intervention, do we then turn our blame to her? Or– do we condemn others because we feel they didn’t try hard enough to help her?

    Very rarely, do we get the whole story because we no one really knows the whole story.

    1. Hmmm, interesting take on my comments. Thanks for the chance to (hopefully) clarify.

      My intent was not to convey a sense of scornful blame towards Whitney or those who may have neglected her. My intent was more a commentary on the mass-outpouring of “surprise” at her dying due to some form of malfeasance (hers or others). My intent was more of a “where was this massive public concern for her well-being in all these years between her first public drug bust (2000) and her dying.

      During those years, tabloids were more about how bloated, how strung out, how . . . drugged she looked. AND if you notice this weeks tabloids, they STILL are. And the public eats it up!! Now, upon her death, that same public has the audacity to go, “Wow! We didn’t see THAT coming! What a surprise!!” Which is B.S. in my humble opinion.

      If there is any “scornful blame” in my post, it’s simply at an overzealous media and an overbloated public (Which is a whole ‘nuther chicken-and-egg question in itself!) Any scorn leveled is in my question of, where was this huge worldwide interest in Whitney Houston (public AND media) in any of the weeks or years BEFORE her death??

      Okay, rant over . . .

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