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Whitney Houston, RIP

[ 80 ] February 11, 2012 |

According to twitter, Whitney Houston has died.  Also according to AP, which means that it may actually be true.  Regarding the media circus which shall ensue within the next hours, I’ll simply link to this. I won’t watch any of the coverage of her passing; I didn’t care for her music, her acting, or her public persona, and so I have little interest in the media fest that will be her wake. However, given that our aesthetic commitments play out not simply in terms of preference for one musician over another, but indeed help determine what we find relevant and irrelevant, I’m reluctant to judge those that will form the audience for the wake.

UPDATE [SL]: Good obit with lots of embeds from Maura Johnston.

Comments (80)

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  1. DocAmazing says:

    Apparently Ms. Houston had two publicists: early reports had one saying that Whitney had died in Ottawa, while the other was announcing her alive and well and in New Jersey.

    • Anonymous says:

      The “alive and well in NJ” article I’ve seen going around is old – published in Sept. 2001.

      • Hob says:

        I remember briefly hearing a rumor of her death right after 9/11/01– I don’t know if it started out as a prank or just an extreme misreading of some real news item, but the idea (at least the version of it that made the rounds at my job, where most people didn’t have Internet access so all this stuff was going around by word of mouth and mutating rapidly) was that she had been so shocked by the terrorist attacks that she either had a heart attack or killed herself. I guess that’s what the publicist was responding to at the time, but until now I didn’t know that the rumor had been as widely circulated as that.

        • Hob says:

          Although, now that I’m looking things up on the Internet, I see that that was right after she’d made an unfortunate concert appearance that got people talking about her health. For some reason I remembered that as being later… anyway I wasn’t aware of it at the time, so I thought that was just another bizarre non-sequitur rumor like so many others that I heard that week.

  2. TBogg says:

    I thought it was impossible to be both “alive” and “well” in New Jersey.

  3. Why would you bother to announce her death here if you have no interest in her music, performances or fans? It’s not like we’re getting our news from LGM and wouldn’t know about it otherwise.

    Unless this is a backhanded way of doing exactly what you claim to not be doing. You’re certainly not raising any other interesting questions.

    Also, why does the linked post have spam links in it now?

    • Saurs says:

      How else can one score cool points, but by pointing out that somebody’s dead and that you don’t particularly care, neener neener neener?

    • Murc says:

      LGM often comments on matters of cultural import, of which this is one, and in fact there have been a lot of ‘RIP’ posts lately. That said I would have expected this to come from one of the Scotts rather than Robert.

    • Rarely Posts says:

      Having read Farley’s link to his own post, this post seems to have been a preemptive strike against commenters bemoaning the media’s focus on Houston’s passing as an example of the media’s shallowness, etc.

      Also, it’s Farley’s hobby, he’s allowed to spend it the way he wants.

      Finally, I personally like how blogs act as editors by sorting through bad/boring articles and finding good ones. His update links to a village voice article that is unusually good. As someone who liked (but did not love) Houston’s work, it was nice to see a good article with lots of embedded video.

  4. Aaron Baker says:

    Her music wasn’t my favorite either, but her voice was beautiful; that merits some respectful attention.

  5. Jon H says:

    Clearly, Kevin Costner dropped the ball.

  6. [...] Points Memo, Towleroad News #gay, L.A. NOW, The Democratic Daily, Joe. My. God., Gothamist and Lawyers, Guns & Money (via Memeorandum)Celebrity Blogger Roundup and related links via WeSmirch:Ken Lee / [...]

  7. Martin says:

    Hey, have you guys been hacked? There’s a very odd advertisement-like extra paragraph in that post you linked to.

  8. wengler says:

    Whitney Houston had so slipped out of the collective public consciousness that I doubt anyone here even had her on their 2012 death list.

  9. “However, given that our aesthetic commitments play out not simply in terms of preference for one musician over another, but indeed help determine what we find relevant and irrelevant, I’m reluctant to judge those that will form the audience for the wake.”

    I’m not sure I understand this.

    • Bill Murray says:

      people like different things and this shows up in what they find important enough to follow closely. As such those who, unlike me, liked Whitney enough to obsess about her death are not to be laughed at too much or indeed at all.

      • Yeah, I understood the sentence, but the sentiment either escapes me or seems strange.

        Including the sentence before the “however,” to paraphrase:

        “I don’t like her music, BUT I won’t disparage people who do since she just died.”

        If she hadn’t just died would it be OK to disparage people who like banal, commercial crap? Or just the music itself? Or not even that?*

        That’s what I didn’t understand.

        *Opinions expressed in this hypothetical may be the opinions of the author.

  10. MAJeff says:

    As a gay man of a certain age, she played a significant role in my life. That voice. Those sweaty nights on a cramped dance floor. Those pipes.

    I’m surprised at the nostalgic pain this is bringing forth.

    God, what a voice…and what a sad waste.

    • Ed says:

      I was also taken aback at the strength of my reaction. Sad waste, indeed. Truly a magnificent voice, a force of nature.

      However, given that our aesthetic commitments play out not simply in terms of preference for one musician over another, but indeed help determine what we find relevant and irrelevant, I’m reluctant to judge those that will form the audience for the wake.

      Big of you, old boy. I think far more charitably of those fans who mourn Houston sincerely than of this very….puzzling post.

      • MAJeff says:

        I think far more charitably of those fans who mourn Houston sincerely than of this very….puzzling post.

        Of course, mocking laughter at a plane crash carrying the Ducks football team will be appreciated.

    • Rarely Posts says:

      I agree with this sentiment exactly, though unfortunately, by the time I was old enough to sneak onto a truly fun dance floor, Houston had already begun her decline. Still, I remember listening to her music as part of home-made mix-tapes of good pop/House/dance music and really enjoying it.

    • Honorable Bob says:

      As a gay man of a certain age, she played a significant role in my life.

      Is this parody or not?

      You’re so good that I sometimes can’t tell the difference…

  11. 4jkb4ia says:

    I cannot help remembering her first album, when she was so young and had the entire world ahead of her. For Whitney Houston being a diva was a trap, because she had the voice for it but she couldn’t always breathe the muhd for what she was singing.

  12. Erik Loomis says:

    I can honestly say that the extent to which I give a shit about Whitney Houston’s death was seeing she died on my phone while out to dinner with Lemieux and our various wives and asking the question, “Which 80s pop star just died?” To his credit, Lemieux was the winner, even though I doubt he is an owner of the Bodyguard soundtrack.

  13. Tom Hilton says:

    I didn’t care for her music, her acting, or her public persona, and so I have little interest in the media fest that will be her wake.

    There was one song on the Material album One Down (the first thing she ever did as lead, I think) that was very good. Nothing she did subsequently was particularly interesting.

  14. Anderson says:

    Well we know it wasn’t crack, because Whitney Houston was too classy for crack.

  15. joejoejoe says:

    Is that an ad for a hip replacement lawsuit? This joint is jumpin’!

  16. LKS says:

    I don’t care for freestyle singing, especially when starts out loud and gets louder, but much to my eternal astonishment, I thought The Bodyguard was a damned good film, and she was damned good in it.

  17. Icarus Wright says:

    For purely sentimental reasons, I’m sad.

  18. Cool Bev says:

    A thought for her mother, Cissy Houston, the Sweet Inspiration, still alive at 79.

  19. Manju says:

    This is like the oddest obit evah. What music do you guys like? The Byrds?

  20. [...] == "undefined"){ addthis_share = [];}(Since everyone’s complaining about Rob’s Whitney Houston post, I thought I’d write a proper [...]

  21. thebewilderness says:

    On the off chance that you have a wife and she has not told you lately that you are an asshat. You are an asshat.

  22. [...] “Lawyers, Guns, and Money,” a fairly popular academic blog, Robert Farley posted this sour little non-obituary, which attracted a fair amount of negative attention. My friend SEK responded by posting this, [...]

  23. Halloween Jack says:

    At the risk of, indeed, making an ass out of U and me by assuming that any blog post is necessary, this one certainly wasn’t. (And I say that as someone who thought that Whitney’s vocal skills were nowhere near the equal of her natural gifts, as opposed to–and fuck all y’all haters in advance, because I know that some of you will snark on this–Mariah Carey.)

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