Maybe I’d feel sadder if I actually knew the person in question

I feel bad.

Not grief-stricken, you understand, but bad nevertheless. I feel bad because I haven’t rallied to the cause of a well-manufactured media circus of international grief that is revolving around the untimely but absolutely predictable death of Whitney Houston.

Where would ET be without this sort of thing to butter their corporate bread?

The Houston case is a similar thing to the death of also hugely talented Amy Winehouse. It wasn’t a matter of ‘if’ the demise would transpire, but ‘when’. You could also throw Michael Jackson and Elvis into the mix, if you choose.

So, I’m sorry for members of her family and those who knew her well at a personal level, but for all the fans that bewail her death, yeah, you’ll miss a talent, but get over it. You didn’t actually know her and she didn’t actually know you.

I mean, if you like her music then I understand how you value what she did. But there’s lots of it available and, let us be painfully honest, she didn’t do anything of much worth for the past decade when her excesses had taken their toll. And no, I wasn’t a particular fan of her stylings, but I know how much we can regret the loss of an entertainer we value. There are lots, like Joplin, Jim Croce, Jimi Hendrix and even Buddy Holly that I miss, so I get it.

Again though, let’s not make this into a death of Princess Diana revisited. And to all those grief stricken folks who left those quintillion bouquets in front of Buck House, the dear lady didn’t know you.

My particular bias in this offering is to suggest that exaggerated grief for a so-called ‘legend’ (the papers have been full of this overworked adjective used to describe something Miss Houston was not; she was a good singer in her day but that’s about all, so let’s not cheapen the word legend, either) takes from genuine grief of the sort that we all must face sometime or other in our lives.

We have lost or will lose people we genuinely love in our lives and we will have to bear with the agonies of going through true visceral grief. It’s a process and it’s a process that can make even the strongest of us waver at different moments in that process. Some never truly get past the heartbreak of a genuine loss, and that compounds the overall sadness.

For me, I’d rather look in the direction of some of the genuine pain in the world, not the pain evoked from when highly privileged people with all the opportunities in the world make really dumb choices.

 

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12 responses to “Maybe I’d feel sadder if I actually knew the person in question

  1. Right on again mrwriteon. Thanks Ian you so often say what I would say if I had the words.

  2. I’m so with you on this. As a human being, I feel for her mother and daughter and that’s it. As a capitalistic American and fan of Dolly Parton, I’m quite tickled at the dough she is raking in right now as the songwriter of “I will always love you.” And as a fan of you Ian, I’m happy with this post because I expected a commercialism/bullshit/made-up-holiday rant about Valentine’s Day. I’ve already read one of those, so thanks!

    • Actually I think it’s a disgrace, amidst all the foofrah about Whitney that Dolly’s creativity has been ignored. To me it has always been Dolly’s song. But, as you say, Dolly gets the ‘rights’ bucks, at least. And no, I wasn’t going to rant on Valentine’s because as a closet romantic I actually kind of like it.

  3. No, I can’t get worked up either and i take your point about artificially whipped up grief for a person that very few of those wailing and hooting would have known.
    The public pressure to display signs of grief after the death of Diana Princess of Wales was a distinctly sick phenomenon…..better to spend your emotions not on the pomp of the royal funeral but on wondering how it comes that a coffin arrives at the crem without mourners.

    • You ask a rather intriguing question at the end of this. Hmm. As for Diana, I thought she was a beautiful woman, but she was also a bit of a nutbar, as has been latterly revealed. And, as I said, I did not know her and sometimes bad things do happen, even to pretty and privileged people.

  4. A voice of sanity in an insane world.
    (and, secretly, I agree with Geewits on the Dolly windfall!)

  5. What can I say, you took the words right out of my keyboard.

  6. I feel very similarly to you and often find myself disquieted at the thought that people invest so much of their emotions on people they do not know. Presumably some of these guys at least are experiencing genuine distress at the news and I wonder where it comes from and what kind of brokenness would lead people to live their life by proxy as it were. Sure, some of it is fabricated, but that’s still a lot of mourners, isn’t it? I’m sad because it’s a tragedy when people die especially if they are still young, but it wouldn’t occur to me to travel to their funeral or buy some flowers for them or whatever. I was similarly disturbed after Michael Jackson died. To feel that much emotion for someone you don’t know is not normal.

    • Living their lives by proxy! Well stated, and it’s true, isn’t it? How sadly shallow their ‘real’ lives must be. I’m very much on the same page as you about this. I thought it was very sad when Amy Winehouse died, but entirely predictable. As a part-time addictions counsellor I know how these things too often play out. Whitney should have heeded Amy’s fate. Unfortunately she didn’t.

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