I’m Shocked, Shocked, To Learn That You Are Dead
So Whitney Houston’s taken the long dive and with her goes one of the truly astounding voices in all of human creation. The glitterati are, predictably, shocked. Some random Tweets:
Mariah Carey: Heartbroken and in tears over the shocking death of my friend, the incomparable Ms. Whitney Houston.
Katy Perry: So devastating…
Justin Bieber, found it inexplicable: Just heard the news. so crazy.
Actress Elizabeth Banks was simply surprised: Wow. RIP Whitney Houston.
Piers Morgan avoided shock, opting instead for a more reserved and British response: Stunned by Whitney Houston’s death at just 48.
Others, in addition to being shocked, were also sad.
Lea Michele: I’m speechless. Such sad news about Whitney Houston. TV host Nancy O’Dell: I am in shock and so sad… Russell Simmons was deeply saddened. Ricky Gervais found it So sad. Michelle Branch found it both sad and, like Justin Bieber, inexplicable: Is the sad news about Whitney Houston true?!?! Kris Jenner found it So so sad that Whitney Houston died…; Olivia Munn thought it was Sad to see anyone go so early. Matthew Morrison wasn’t just sad; he was very sad: I’m very sad to hear about the passing of Whitney Houston… Nicki Minaj emphasized her shock: Jesus Christ, not Whitney Houston…
Perhaps iamdiddy (the artist formerly known as P-Diddy, Puff Daddy and, for those inconvenient appearances in court, Sean Combs) said it best: Whitney Houston!!! OMG!! I really can’t believe this… This is one of the saddest days ever. Did you catch the multiple exclamations? The caps? This man was truly moved.
And then, some were simply stoic in the face of cruel fate. Christine Aguilera: We have lost another legend… She will be missed. Rihanna: No words! Just tears. Chloe Moretz: Omg.. whitney houston died..we’ve lost another amazing singer.
Serena Williams found a way to make it about herself: Wow. Just wow. This has ruined my whole day. Yeah? Well guess what, Serena. I’d bet it didn’t do a whole hell of a lot for Whitney’s day either.
Get it straight, people: if a high school football team gets wiped out in a plane crash, that’s tragic. If a loving family gets butchered by a couple of sick cockroaches who couldn’t figure out anything better to do with their time, that’s a tragedy. If hundreds get sucked off the face of the earth in a random tornado, that’s a disaster. Those are the events that properly leave us shocked and sad.
The only reaction these people should feel is guilt. Whitney Houston has been dancing on the edge of a cliff for fifteen years, we’ve all watched, and we’ve all known this day would finally arrive. Unlike most of us, however, these sorry-ass, hypocritical mopes with their self-serving tweets screaming Look at me!!! I’m so important!!! might have been in a position to actually do something about it. Mariah Carey says Whitney was her close friend. Really? In my world, I tell my friends when they’re screwing up, and they tell me.
Here’s what makes me sad: The 2012 Grammy Awards took place on the same weekend as Whitney’s exit. Not one clown with a microphone, a national platform and an opportunity to actually influence a demographic that could benefit from some decent role models, took the opportunity to point out the obvious: lifestyles can kill. Standing idly by while someone you love chooses self-destruction is an option only for the cowards among us. But the truly hypocritical cowards are the ones who pretend that it’s just one of those things, inexplicable and, yes, oh so sad.
Hey, maybe she was beyond help. Maybe nothing would have stopped her death spiral. As Gus McCrea observed in Lonesome Dove, “Life is short; shorter for some than others.” Fine. Choices have consequences and we are, ultimately, responsible for our own fate. But can’t someone, somewhere, find the balls to stand up and say This is what happens when you choose to ruin your life, when you squander your god-given gifts, when God, or the universe, or maybe just the iron-determinism of cause and effect logic presents you with irrefutable evidence that, yes, you too are mortal.
Why is it so difficult to advocate taking advantage of the time we have, maximizing our opportunities, and making some feeble stab in the direction of not pissing the whole thing down the toilet just because we were too lazy, too stupid or too indifferent to actually make it all count? If you really miss Whitney Houston, tell the truth about her. Maybe it will save someone else.