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They can't take away my dignit- oh, wait…

2012-02-15 09:58
 
Whitney Houston
Angry fans will tell me that it's all too easy to say nasty things about dead people because they can't defend themselves, but seriously, how long ago was Whitney Houston not one of the easiest targets of ridicule in the entertainment industry? Wasn't it during the Pre-Macarena Era?

Here's a little anecdote for some historical perspective: Did you know that over and above breaking all those music history records, scoring hundreds of awards and making multiple millions of dollars, Houston was also the first black woman to feature on the cover of You Magazine?

According to the veteran sub-editor who told me this factoid, magazine sales plummeted that fateful week, and the usual, steady flow of hate mail became a veritable deluge.

The sub told me (and swore it was true) that one mail he'd opened was nothing but the offending issue's front cover, crumpled into a tight angry ball after the sender had taken the trouble to write "kaffir" in black crayon across Houston's broad grin. But hey, that's all ancient history, way, way back in the early '90s.

In the last decade or so, Houston had become too insignificant and too undeserving to be a target of such focussed hatred, racially motivated or otherwise.

Instead, her downward spiral into addiction transformed her into little more than a pathetic object of ridicule.

For the last few years of her life, she was the media's unconscious tramp in a darkened doorway, and they – we – took turns pissing on her.

Prolifically lampooned as a drug-addled zombie who couldn't find her way to the bathroom with a map of the crack den staple-gunned to her death-grey skull, Whitney Houston provided a decade's worth of cruel entertainment for those of us who hated Whitney Houston.

God, I hated her. With a bazillion songs in circulation at any given time, Houston represented all I loathed about pop music. Her ubiquitous shriek of plastic emotion was a constant aural assault, all technique and no soul, which was actually physically painful. And if I asked a shop assistant to please turn off the Whitney because it was hurting my teeth and giving me murderous thoughts, suddenly I was the bad guy. Not fair.

Taste can't be argued, but Houston fans tried anyway. "Millions of fans can't be wrong!" Yes they can. People are stupid. Just look at their democratically elected leaders.

"But she has such a wonderful voice!" Sure, she had a great voice, but she was using it for evil. It was like being expected to appreciate someone's fantastic marksmanship after they'd just shot me in the face.

But eventually, I stopped wishing Houston a horrible sordid death, many years before her horrible sordid death. The fate she imposed on herself is worse than a hater like me could ever wish for. And why waste all that negative energy while Celine Dion still walks and breathes and sings?

 

Although Whitney Houston was the media's unconscious tramp in a darkened doorway, the fate she imposed on herself is worse than a hater like me could ever wish for.

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