Another celebrity death, and another reason to wonder why. Up front, I must say I was never the biggest Whitney Houston fan … I recognized her mighty talent, but her poppy, soaring power ballads were never my cup of tea. When Whitney was racking up her biggest hits, I was gazing at my navel, listening to Depeche Mode.
But while paying very little interest to her music, I still got sucked into the lurid world of her radical transformation from America’s ruby-throated sweetheart to drug-addled tabloid fodder. So I must admit that I watched with interest the train wreck that was her miserable decline, mainly because she seemed so committed to it. “Crack is whack.” Really? How funny (and ironic) is that?
I even posted to my Facebook page a video of the hilarious yet angry fan reaction to a particularly god-awful concert Houston gave in Melbourne last year. In it, Whitney is so breathless she’s practically bending at the waist, panting, sweating like a sumo wrestler. Not pretty.
So I can’t say I was really surprised at the news of her death last week. In much the same way that I approach the death of any celebrity, my main reaction was not sadness at the passing of a person of note, but rather for the tremendous squandering of rare and amazing talent. God gives you this mighty gift, and you just let it slip away. You have the whole world in your palm, and you snort it, or you inject it, or you drink it until it kills you.
So whether it’s Whitney Houston, or Amy Winehouse, or Michael Jackson, or Kurt Cobain, or John Belushi, I can’t mourn the death of such stupid people. I can mourn the passing of their great talent, and be saddened by the tremendous waste, but I can’t shed tears for people who have it all and just piss it away.