When it comes to celebrity news, I tend to wait until the initial impact has faded a bit. I like to wait until cable news anchors stop trying to surprise people on the street, because even though I’d like to say that I can’t imagine what sort of reaction they think they’ll get, unfortunately, there’s always a handful of inappropriately-prioritized people who have nervous breakdowns in front of the camera just because Whitney Houston died.
But I expect these people by now. I know that even though I do not share their sense of shock and upset at the death of a celebrity I did not know personally but expected to die for years, these people are out there and will do anything to get on TV. I’m still a little disturbed by their reactions, but I’m not surprised. While I have no emotional attachment to Whitney Houston, I do understand the feeling of sadness when someone to whom you have formed an emotional but impersonal emotional attachment dies. For instance, I was sad when George Carlin died. I was sad when Kurt Vonnegut died. I was sad when Jim Carroll died. So like I said, I find it strange that some people are willing to exercise their grief for TV, but I am not surprised.
I am sometimes surprised by the reactions of comics on Twitter. These comics will mock anyone – as they should because it’s their job – from conservative politicians to religious figures to wealthy DUI recipients to teenagers with YouTube videos. Everyone is fair game, and sometimes that game includes truly vicious commentary with a lot of swear words. Which I adore. So that’s not the problem.
The problem is the same comics pretending to have some sense of decorum when it comes to the death of a famous person by way of drug abuse. It’s okay to refer to a child as a cunt, but it’s somehow beneath them to make fun of someone who died after years of unrepentant drug use. Even when that someone had been to rehab multiple times, even when that someone had claimed to be too rich to smoke crack, even when that person had made a public mockery of their own life by letting Bobby Brown remove a “doody bubble” from their asshole on television. Even when that someone had all the resources in the world and still refused to help themselves. Apparently, making fun of that is crossing the line.
Hey, Self-Righteous Comics of Twitter, how about you shut the fuck up? Or, better yet, how about you remove all references to drug, alcohol, and other potentially harmful substances in your material, as well as any references to people poorer and less famous than Whitney Houston who, for all you know, don’t have access to the same kind of medical treatment, publicists, or Beverly Hills hotel rooms but might have the same kind of problems? The word “crackhead” should be stricken from your lexicon, because although it can be hilarious, according to you, it’s not funny to mock someone’s drug problem. Maybe you know someone who wasn’t famous but still died as a result of a chemical dependency. So do I. But I know other people who pulled themselves out of it, and I think that everyone assumes personal responsibility over their own lives. I’m not calling Whitney Houston a bad person for having a drug problem. That’s not the issue. I am, however, making fun of her for being a fucking weirdo who told me I was too poor for cocaine. Also, Kevin Costner. WAY TO GO, DICKHEAD. You had one job and you fucked it up.
But still, don’t you fucking tell me what I can and can’t laugh at, or, perhaps more appropriately, what kind of person I am for laughing at whatever the hell I want.