Monday, February 13, 2012


Oscar Wilde said “There are only two tragedies in life: one is not getting what one wants, and the other is getting it.”

It's always sad when a talented person succumbs to their demons, but the truth is, being given the fame, money and power to pursue those demons is an even worse tragedy.  Whitney Houston rose to fame in the 80's, sung like an angel and reached the kind of legendary status few performers ever see.

Whitney in 1985
Then, when the hits stopped coming, she proceeded to piss away that talent as she diligently pursued her demons.  A lot of people blame Bobby Brown for her downfall, but I never took Whitney Houston for the silent type.  Bobby Brown has his own demons to pursue.  Whitney must ultimately stand alone.

She was given a second chance, as is customary in this country.  Even if you fall from a great height, if you are willing to come clean and make amends, the public will forgive you.

Well, her mea culpa was made public and her career was slowly put back on track.  Sadly, however, years of addiction to crack cocaine had destroyed her gift.  Her voice.  While she could still sing, she lacked the power and control that made her famous.

No one would tell her this, of course, as that is not part of the rules.  We do our best to accept you, as you are, once you start a comeback because we know that with your two steps forward comes one hefty step back.  The question is whether or not her death was a result of that backward step.

It doesn't matter.  I think she secretly knew she ruined her amazing gift.  She knew and was beginning to feel uncomfortable pretending that she was still that person her public so desperately wanted her to be.  Immense pressure must have been building up inside her -- a fear that the public would discover her flaws and cast her out of favor.

A man who had recently done her makeup for an appearance was interviewed after her death and intimated that Houston asked him if he had been saved.

I don't think it takes a genius to see what she was really asking.   Could she be saved?  Not by god, or  by accepting Jesus Christ.  It was not a plea for spiritual salvation.  It was plea of a very different kind.

The answer, unfortunately, was no.

Creepier to me is that while Whitney Houston's dead body was upstairs in her hotel room awaiting transfer to the morgue, the Grammy party she was to attend was still being held.  By then, not only did guests know that she was dead, they knew her corpse was in the general vicinity.

Creepy.  Sure, death is a fact of life, but a celebrity death is different.  Voracious media outlets lined the outside of the hotel awaiting a glimpse of her body bag being stuffed into a coroner van.  If she was on a vicious backslide into drug and alcohol addiction, she may have gotten exactly what she was wishing for and that is the greatest tragedy of all.

1 comment:

  1. You, my good man, have said it all in your writing, which is excellent !