Whitney Houston’s illness overlooked in mass media



More than a few of us were afraid it would turn out to be something like this: Cocaine, according to the L.A. County Coroner official finding, contributed to a heart failure that killed Whitney Houston, who, as by now the whole world knows, drowned in the bathtub of her Beverly Hilton hotel room.

A source connected to the investigation states it is ”very possible” Whitney had a heart attack that caused her to lose consciousness and drown. The heart attack may have been triggered by hardening of the arteries as a result of cocaine use.

So, the word is out. Undeniably. Now the hordes of print and television scandal mongers already picking at Houston’s bones can have a field day titillating media consumers who have been drooling at the chance to delight in “justifiably” dragging her name through the mud as thoroughly as they possibly can.

And the news comes as not much of a surprise. Houston’s ongoing struggles with drink and drugs had long been common knowledge. The rabid glee with which the public received and practically reveled in the superstar’s personal pitfall being splashed all over every media outlet there is, most notably, of course, the Internet. Especially once photographs of her looking haggard, grungy and just plain like a mess surfaced. Tragically, those images popped back up and were even more prevalent the very day her death was reported.


The fact that Whitney Houston suffered a chronically debilitating disease — chemical dependency — is completely lost on the mass mentality.



The fact that Whitney Houston suffered a chronically debilitating disease — chemical dependency — is completely lost on the mass mentality; along with it her very humanity is objectified. She wasn’t a person who tragically perished due to an American Medical Association-recognized illness that is identified as incurable. Instead, she is portrayed as a figure of spiteful derision, some spoiled, irresponsible jerk who threw her life away.

Not everyone sees her that way, of course. Her fans who were heartbroken at her death are now all the more tortured that drugs finally dogged this enormously gifted artist down — someone’s mother, someone’s daughter, beloved to family and friends — and did her in.

To be sure, Whitney Houston was no saint and, as anyone who saw the reality series Being Bobby Brown, she could be a rather unpleasant individual. No one, though, deserves the disgraceful, circus sideshow treatment that has debased her death and dishonored her life’s amazing legacy as one of those most phenomenal performers in the history of popular music.


Dwight Hobbes welcomes reader responses to P.O. Box 50357, Mpls., 55403. 





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