Sunday, February 12, 2012

Respect not as important as amusement it seems...

I got up mid morning this morning to the news (smattered across FB and then confirmed through a few brief searches on that Whitney Houston had been found dead in her hotel room. It was actually the leading story on the TV News reports tonight even. Whilst not necessarily 'surprised' given the singers fairly difficult battle with addiction, it was still sad to read of the loss of such a beautiful voice (at one time) and immense talent. I am always saddened when the world loses someone with a gift that has brought so many pleasure and enjoyment. And then the jokes began circulating. They popped up on my friends feeds on FB and even in SMS messages to my phone, which frankly I find utterly disgusting and disrespectful.

Whitney Houston:

Whitney Houston...... Waiting to exhale.

"Crack is Whack"... coincidentally it's the same sound Whitney made when she hit the floor.

Whitney Houston won an impressive six Grammys in fourteen years. Slightly less impressive was her recent attempt at six grams in fourteen minutes.

There's going to be a huge line outside Whitney Houston's funeral next week. Which coincidentally is what killed her.

Michael Jackson inspired things like this:

Remember... when you hear that rumble in the sky today, its not thunder.
It's Elvis kicking the shit out of Michael for marrying his daughter!

Princess Di:

What does DIANA stand for? Died In A Nasty Accident.

What do Pink Floyd and Diana have in common? They both had a hit with a wall.

Amy Winehouse:

Can all those waiting to make a joke about Amy Winehouse please form a line…
It’s what she would’ve wanted.

Now, please do not mistake me for someone who cannot take a joke, or who doesn't find even the above somewhat amusing. I have a healthy sense of humor and will admit to having a quiet chuckle over similar sorts of jokes in the past. I am reminded about a text I received some time during the not that long ago Tsunami in Japan that went something like "Dear Japan, Sucked In. Love 'The Whales'."  At the time I received this text, I felt similarly to how I do right now - disgusted. Sure, a few weeks later when it circulated again and was sent to my phone I found myself having a bit of a chuckle at it, and I am sure that in a few weeks time if the Whitney jokes are still doing the rounds I might become amused by some of them, but hours after her death has been made public? Not in the slightest. Hours after hearing about her death I am filled with nothing but sadness for the loss of such a monumental talent, and especially the loss of love and affection for a teenage girl now left to grow up without her mother.

Celebrities, by the very virtue of being celebrities, leave themselves open to public ridicule and mockery. Their faux pas and public stuff ups become fodder for comedians across the world and it is, in a lot of ways, the price they pay for making their living from the public at large. But I firmly believe that like any other person, a celebrity is entitled to having their privacy respected, to not having the serious personal issues in their lives splashed across tabloids and websites for entertainment value, and that ultimately in their death we, as human beings, should have enough respect for them as a person/a parent/a partner etc to allow an appropriate amount of time before we start tearing strips off of their name, before we start tarnishing the memory of them in the minds of other people for our own selfish amusement.

I am not, in any way, suggesting that jokes about celebrities are completely and always unacceptable. I am just saying that I hope, as people, we could begin learn when it is and is not appropriate to air such amusements. When did our own personal amusement and entertainment become more important than respecting the dead, regardless of who they are and how they died?

Thank you for the wondrous experience that was your music Whitney

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