in public passing

I reference Whitney Houston in the following as she has become the latest occurrence of that which has garnered my ire, but I mean this in deference for all troubled celebrities who pass…

Does any one remember “don’t speak ill of the dead”?

I don’t understand this vitriol that occurs whenever a fallen celebrity dies. I concede my interest in Whitney Houston of late began and ended within the length of whichever song of hers popped up on my iPod. I enjoy the beauty of her voice for however long I may (or may not) have the song on replay until I move on. She was a talented singer and that we my never her anything new from her again is a loss for those who enjoyed her singing.

Those of us that don’t find the humor of such disrespect (especially within minutes of the announcements of the person passing) and dare call the critics to task don’t know how to take a joke or are taking things too seriously. No I, like millions of other Houston fans, did not scour the Internet each day for all news Whitney. That did not make us any less of her fans or make her passing any less meaningful to us in our own little ways. The disrespect of the dead is bad enough and some also choose to also belittle the living who want to take a moment to offer their respects even if it’s only something as simple as a single line Facebook status.

Did she take a superstar career and blow it all to smithereens? Yes, no one denies that. Ninety-point-whatever of us in this world get to fuck-up in relative private and will never have our laundry out but to a select few. In this world of information overload, most celebrities don’t have that luxury and intentionally or not, Houston’s laundry was there for all to gander. Eventually, even she owned up to her mistakes. Yet, because she (and other celebrities) don’t get a chance to “redeem themselves” in the public eye, it justifies the internet critics carte blanche to spout whatever snarky bullshit they feel like in the guise of being funny. Why? Just because the dead and their grieving family will likely never read it, does not make it any less hurtful. It is not gallows humor, it is just mean. So no, I do not feel compelled to pat such behavior on the back.

Just remember whether you (the critics), become famous, infamous or not, some day you will die and someone is going to talk about you.

Let he who is without / cast…

4 thoughts on “in public passing

  1. I agree about the snark factor, and especially where it applies to untimely deaths. I will also say that writing a line on FB to express one’s own personal stake in the loss seems appropriate. There is an aspect to FB obit postings that does bother me, though. There are some posters that seem to be engaging in “me-first-ism,” leaping to be the first to spread the news, and it seems it’s usually the same people who do this for any celebrity death. There may be no apparent snark, but neither any empathy shown- so the pattern, once noted, leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

  2. I’ve also considered the “also rans” offensive as well. You know, these are the people who would make jokes and ridicule someone during their lifetime, then suddenly jump on the “RIP” bandwagon when they die.

    I sort of met Whitney in 1986 in Philadelphia, fresh on the heels of meeting Chaka Khan at a Rizzoli bookstore appearance she made. Both had incredible voices, but while Chaka was gracious and engaging, Whitney was aloof and unapproachable. With that said, she was born to sing, not be friends with me, so I have always been a fan, and appreciated her vocal talents. More important, I have always resented how the media treated her, especially after her marriage to Bobby Brown.

    The media magnifies “situations”, and is capable of making people into villains, when in fact all they want to do is live their lives. Unfortunately, their celebrity status often does not allow them to do that. Take the case of Texas Ranger outfielder Josh Hamilton, a recovering alcoholic/drug addict. 2 weeks ago he was spotted drinking in a bar, and the media was all over it. While it’s obvious that he still has some demons, the media blew this out of proportion, and turned it into an event, when in fact the issue should be between him, his family, and his employer, who pays him $9 million a year. Typically however, as Whitney’s death has shown, these thing never end well, and I think we have the media to thank for that.

  3. There seems to be less and less compassion and mercy in this world. I can’t imagine what her family, especially her daughter must be going through and I think of this and so many things as someone who’s lost three family members to drugs. We still don’t even know the ‘why’s and wherefores’ but I don’t care, it’s just mean-spirited and displays a coldness and lack of human kindness. No, I did not know her. Yes, she may have thrown her life away. Yes, she was an adult and made her own decisions and drugs are bad, yes yes…but have a heart. The woman is dead. People loved her. She was a mother and wife and daughter and niece and friend and they’re grieving and to sit there in condemnation, dismissal and judgment may be self-satisfying but is reality is more of a reflection on you who judge, than on her.
    Whitney, you had a beautiful gift. Thank you for sharing it with us. Rest in Peace.

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