I got home from grocery shopping last night to the news that Whitney Houston is dead. This is one of those odd celebrity deaths that is a combination of “WTF?!” and “Well, given what I know of her recent life, I suppose this isn’t quite the galloping shock I thought it was at first.”

I wasn’t a huge Whitney Houston fan, but I never really disliked her, either. She did songs I liked a lot, and she did songs that I could live my life without ever hearing again (“Greatest Love of All” leads the way here). She had one of the amazing voices of all time, and she was, in her prime, able to use that voice of hers to do some pretty amazing things, and not all of them involved belting BALLADS OF ULTIMATE HUGENESS into the nosebleed seats at Super Big Arena or wherever it was that she was performing.

I find it a terrible shame and waste that her life ran off the rails and that she lost control to the extent that she did. Do I blame her? To a small extent, maybe, but then, I know enough about addiction and what it does to people to know that while Whitney Houston is the one who crossed that bridge, it’s a bridge that often one doesn’t even realize one is crossing until they’re too far past it. (It remains, as I write this, to be seen just to what degree drugs played a role in her death.) Addicts make choices that lead to addiction, to be sure, but I don’t for one second pretend that all choices are clear or obvious.

Anyway, it’s a loss. For what it’s worth, here’s my favorite Whitney Houston song.

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One Response to Whitney

  1. Kerry says:

    I can't believe you didn't choose her rendition of "The Star-Spangled Banner" at the opening of the 1991 Super Bowl XXV between the Bills and the Giants.

    She gave a truly soul-stirring performance. I remember crying. My husband (whom I'd not met yet) remembers crying as well.

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