At the risk of offending a lot of people (yeah, because that’s stopped me before), I’m so over listening to the never ending media coverage of Whitney Houston’s alcoholism, addiction and lousy marriage.
We’ve been inundated with media hype about how her friends, family and entourage let her down by ‘letting her’ drink and drug. Um, Whitney was a 48 year old grown up and a mother of a young daughter. All right…here it comes: Whitney let herself down and in the process left a young daughter too soon.
Don’t get me wrong; I was and remain a big fan of the music and unmistakable talent. I’m not a huge fan of celebrities who trash their gift and their life for drugs and alcohol and assume none of the responsibility.
We’ve seen it time and time again. Celebrities who think they are worthy of a “pass” because of who they are. And many get it. Case in point is Lindsay Lohan. I don’t think it takes a rocket scientist to know that if you or I pulled the DUIs, theft and car crashes Lindsay has on her record, we’d be doing some hard time in no time.
There’s never been a shortage of celebs that have crashed and burned too soon. I remember John Belushi (33), Freddie Prinze (22), River Phoenix (23), and of course, even the great Elvis did not escape the trappings fame and fortune, dying at 42. One that really sticks in my memory is the death of Judy Garland. Her powerful voice, big brown eyes and tearful renditions always moved us; gone too soon at 47. It’s all so tragic. The world needs these talents and they deserve full well lived lives.
But I have to ask: Where is it written that if you are lucky enough to be gifted with an amazing voice or acting ability, the general rule of responsibility doesn’t apply to you? I guess I just come from a school of thought that I am responsible for my own actions. And so are you, no matter who you are.
I wonder what God says to his children that took their gifts and their lives and flushed them down with a heroin rush, an alcohol binge or a cocaine snort. That’s got to be a tough conversation to have. Erma Bombeck once wrote that when she finally met God, she hoped she would be able to tell him that she used everything he gave her. I envision that conversation ending with a long hug. Talent is a blessing. Blessings should never be trashed.
Whitney Houston might have started out in church and its meaning may have stayed with her all her life, but the fact is she abused her body, her voice and her life for years. We were all saddened to hear the news of her death, but few were surprised.
When I read that the governor of New Jersey, Chris Christie, had decreed to fly the flag at half staff to honor Whitney on the day of her funeral, I have to confess, I was more than a little annoyed. I get that New Jersey takes great pride in the fact that Whitney was one of their own. I respect that. I guess I am a bit old fashioned when it comes to our flag. Nowhere in my heart does the American flag commemorate celebrity. It symbolizes our nation, our freedoms and it belongs to all the service men and women who put themselves on the line for our country.
If there is a line in heaven for celebrities that need to make retribution for their actions, I’m sure it’s a long one. In the end, we all wish for them what we wish for ourselves … a little peace.