Saturday, February 18, 2012

A Quick Note on Whitney Houston, Drugs, Etc.

It amazes me how preachy people can be about the shit that happens in other people's lives.

Especially in regard to celebrities. It seems that celebrities are either upheld as icons or vilified. I know that when you are a public figure, much of your life becomes open for scrutiny -- but still. What we tend to forget is that these people aren't angels or demons. They might be famous, but they're still just people.

On that note, I think taking a moment to talk about Whitney Houston is in order. In particular, the attitude I've been seeing around the Internet that she doesn't deserve to be mourned because of the problems in her life. For example, on Twitter:

"I think it's more tragic when someone who isn't famous for going to rehab dies"
"I find it more tragic when someone who is not a washed-up drug addict who has pissed away their talent and career dies young. #justsayin"

My response: until you've been there yourself, you have absolutely no right to judge the people who have. Drug addiction is hard, whether you're a famous singer or an ordinary person. "A washed-up drug addict who has pissed away their talent and career"? Why such hatred? A better response would be compassion, sympathy, support -- whether the drug addict in question is famous or not. This "anti-Whitney Houston" attitude is disturbing in that it shows disdain and contempt not just for her, but for all people who have been in her situation.

This reminds me of a post I wrote a while back in reaction to the death of Amy Winehouse. I only occasionally listen to her music and probably wouldn't have written a post on it, but I was shocked to see her mother quoted as saying, "It was only a matter of time." Even disregarding that, the general attitude at the time seemed to be that she deserved it.

For crying out loud, people, have some compassion. It could happen to you. It has probably happened or will happen to someone you know. So don't pretend you're a saint; no one will believe you. Anyway, a saint would care. A saint would have compassion.

We are all human. We all fuck up -- some worse than others. But just because you have a steady job and an apartment doesn't give you the right to spit on the homeless guy as you walk past him on the sidewalk. You don't know how he got there. You don't know what he's feeling. And even if you did? What if you knew the exact circumstances that led to the utter ruin of his life? Even then, it's not your place to judge.

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