As most people who have access to internet, TV, newspaper, or any source of information know, Singer Whitney Houston has passed this weekend. While it is usually sad whenever anyone dies, when a celebrity passes all their “die hard” fans seem to come out of hiding to show their sorrow. Before this weekend I wasn’t even aware Whitney Houston was still alive. In fact I only knew her as that lady that sang that song in that movie about that boat. After I realized that I was thinking about Celine Deon, and that I probably meant the song from The Bodyguard, I realized I knew nothing about this person, yet I am being forced to feel sad. She was declared dead February 11th 2012. On Valentine’s Day, the 24 hour news cycle was still reporting about her death, most likely as an excuse to overplay the song, “I Will Always Love You.”
The point of this is that celebrity deaths are over publicized. They are regarded as heroes no matter what else they have done with their lives. The “go to” example for this is Michael Jackson. After his success waned he became known as an eccentric celebrity whose sexual allegations outweighed his former “King of Pop” status. June 25 2009, he became the greatest artist in the world again. 15% of tweets from that day involved Jackson in some way. His albums began to sell again. He became the highest selling artist of 2009. His former allegations were forgotten. That day, and the following weeks, it would have been possible to get away with murder, assuming that the victims were not famous.
Prior to last Saturday, Whitney Houston had been mostly forgotten. She was known more for drug use rather than her music. I only remembered her because she was mentioned in the They Might Be Giants song “Marty Beller Mask.” Here is a link to the lyrics. http://tmbw.net/wiki/Lyrics:Marty_Beller_Mask. I would find a video link for it, but They Might Be Giants removed their official video for the song out of respect. Now she’s regarded as a musical hero, held in higher esteem then cops or firemen or members of the military.
Very few people will be able to tell you about how Brian Gent saved his neighbors when he saw that their house was on fire. However everyone will be able to tell you where they were when they found out when “national hero” Whitney Houston died.