I Will Always Love Her, Too

I loved the music of Whitney Houston and the elegance she possessed in interpreting lyrics. And her voice?  Her depth and range was magnificent. I clearly remember the movie she was in with Kevin Costner so many years ago. It seems to me it was a foreshadowing of what was to happen to her, yet she either didn’t recognize herself in that or just didn’t have the strength to overcome it.

The pop singer’s storyboard is familiar.  We don’t know what’s beneath but I think we could venture an educated guess.

I am very sorry she died.  She was a great talent, a beautiful woman, a mother, a daughter and so on.  Did her bad choice in a husband doom her? Or would the celebrity have done her in anyway?  It doesn’t matter anymore.  She’s gone.

Whitney goes the way of so many who have died for no good reason, except perhaps, that they were famous and have access to anything, anytime, anywhere. I can’t imagine what it’s like to be around that kind of star power and the inevitable excess.  I don’t presume to.  But it seems to me, if we cared this much, we would have helped her fight her way back to herself. We would have tried to keep her alive.

The list of singers dead from drug use is long… Amy Winehouse, Michael Jackson, Kurt Cobain, Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison, Mama Cass, Janis Joplin… and on it goes. Being a star is no easy thing but the public grief afterward, as if a family member died, seems gratuitous.  Where was everybody when Whitney was alive?  Where was the clamor for more of her music?  I don’t think I’ve heard her name in the news for a very long time.  Where were all the legions of mourners and handlers and friends and family when she needed them?

Nowhere.

Gwyneth Paltrow’s movie, Country Strong, was about a singer needing to get away from  her singing life, drinking herself to oblivion to get through her days, pushed to the inevitable ending.  Her cries for help were loud and clear but  her husband/manager doesn’t acknowledge them.

The lines are blurry in a star’s entourage. Does the publicist, agent, etc.try to help?  Usually not, because their livelihood is tied to the star.  It’s not in their self-interest. The people surrounding them (like doctors) don’t do their jobs. Their families can’t get close enough to exert influence.

When the train wreck has reached its destination, this is what we do. We stand in long lines to mourn people we don’t even know. We buy flowers and write cards in a makeshift memorial on a street corner.  We watch hours of TV listening to reporters, watching footage of her in performance. We want to get close to the shine of celebrity, to people who were blessed with giant talents as if they are one of our own. It’s pretty pathetic.

Yes, I am sad Whitney Houston died.  But I can’t help wondering, who’s next?

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