I’m just gonna say this without beating around the bush. Whitney Houston dying doesn’t make me sad, doesn’t seem tragic to me…it just pisses me off.
I talked with my mother this afternoon and she said, “Isn’t it sad about Whitney?”
I said, “No, I just think she’s a damned idiot.”
When she asked why, I told her that I was getting more and more disgusted with the Michael Jackson’s and Corey Haim’s and Amy Winehouse’s and Whitney Houston’s of the world. People with an unbelievable amount of God-given talent and they simply piss it away.
My mother then berated me for having no compassion for addicts. She’s right. I don’t.
Yes, I understand being a celebrity is no picnic. Yes, I understand that once you’re hooked on a drug, it becomes hard to kick that habit.
On the other hand, these are people that are catered to, fawned over, and worshipped. And they also have the time, money and resources to get all the help they need, over and over and over again, if they need it.
Instead, they choose to get into harmful relationships with other people, or with substances.
And then, inevitably, they die.
And then, somehow, we canonize them as though they are gods.
Though I truly didn’t like his music, anyone could see Michael Jackson was as talented as they come. Brilliant. But unbelievably troubled. Mentally, he didn’t seem much beyond a ten-year-old when it came to social interaction. He obviously had body image issues. And, true or not, no one can deny he put himself in the path of molestation lawsuits more than once. Innocent or guilty, he wasn’t smart about his choices.
And all of that gets swept aside when he dies. If he’d released an album six months before he died, would anyone have bought it? Would anyone have cared? Once he died, he suddenly was awarded a posthumous “King of Pop” tag that he rightfully lost years before. All his evils, his quirks and his transgressions were forgotten.
Just watch. It’s going to be the same with Whitney. For someone who literally had it all, beauty, singing talent, the adoration of millions, she pissed it all away in the last ten years. Yes, she was making a comeback album (you just watch all the stars line up to help finish that off and get it released while it’s hot), and yes, she released an album in 2009 that did okay, but really, when was the last year Whitney was actually relevant and at the top of her game? Back in the 90s?
So is it tragic that she died? I’m sorry, I’m going to be the unpopular one here and say no. It was inevitable, because she obviously couldn’t shake that monkey off her back. Hope Bobby Brown’s happy, he helped birth that monkey.
But really, with all the “little people” out there…you know, the ones who have to hold down a day job, maybe raise their kids and somehow beat some horrible addiction as well…there’s lots of them that do it.
Do we ever get star-studded tributes to their accomplishments? No. They get to pick up whatever pieces of their life still remain and get back to the task of living. Often it’s just their family and some close friends that know the struggles they went through.
And there’s likely thousands…probably hundreds of thousands…that lose that same race that Whitney just lost. Where’s the gala memorials celebrating their lives after they die? Where’s the stars lining up to sing their praises and help finish whatever unfinished business they have? Instead, it just comes down to those who stuck by them to remember them and try and understand what the hell went wrong.
I write this not to bury Whitney, nor to praise her, nor to mourn her.
I write this because I know she’s going to be turned into some sort of hero, maybe the Queen of Pop or some damn thing. When we should be using that energy, that pain, that concern for those who still need it.
Dying because you abused substances isn’t sexy. It isn’t cool. It isn’t even tragic. It’s just fucking stupid.
We need to stop making junkies into heroes.