By Corinne Wnek
I’ve been angry all week. I’ve been angry ever since Feb. 11, when the lights went out for Whitney Houston. Although the cause of death is still unknown, the specter of drugs and alcohol as a contributing factor looms in the forefront. But the real reason I’m so angry has to do with the message that is sent to talented wannabes: Alcohol and drugs will take away your pain, make it all better and still allow the creative process to unfold because you are just that special.
This message, in whatever way it is delivered to singers and musicians, is every bit the blame for this performer’s death as is snorting cocaine or mainlining heroin. That’s my take on what really killed Whitney Houston. She was given the ‘kool aid’ of the entertainment industry’s culture and she drank it. The crime? Glorifying drugs by looking the other way.
Like any of us with the usual platter of neuroses, one can understand how insecurity, fear, aging and broken relationships can push you to make bad choices, especially when you are the meal ticket for so many people connected to you.
So once again the world has lost an individual whose talent and beauty was extraordinary. A little girl from our neck of the woods, whose first concerts were played before church audiences, made it big. She soared to stardom, married a volatile man with a history of drug abuse and began her decent into oblivion.
Whitney Houston may not have been forced to do something she didn’t want to do, but because she was engulfed in a culture of drug use and abuse, both at home and at work, it was her normal. Maybe no one person was responsible for her death, but lots of people along the way helped her die.
Now I’m no Whitney Houston. But the kind of issues that plagued her, ones that we are certain to read about in tabloids over the next several weeks, are not unique to performing artists. We all have stressors in our life and we all make bad choices from time to time. But most of us have a support system of some kind to rely upon when we are torn apart with worry and disappointment.
And we do not have doctors who will overprescribe meds for us just so we can avoid emotional pain, unlike the personal physicians of some superstars today. These people forgot a major concept from the Hippocratic Oath they took which was to “First, do no harm”.
Would any of us trade places with the likes of Whitney Houston knowing that, for all her fame, money and privilege, it would come down to one day being found dead in a bathtub?
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