Monday, February 20, 2012

Whitney Houston, a Disgusting Reminder of Society's Infatuation with other People's Lives

I haven't written much since deploying to Afghanistan, but the latest firestorm of around the clock media attention to the death of Whitney Houston has forced me to vent a bit. What better place to vent than my little blog that nobody reads anyway.

Let me first state that when I heard that Whitney Houston had been found dead in a hotel that my initial thought was that it was sad news. A woman with one of the most beautiful voices I have heard in my lifetime had passed on, like many other stars, way too prematurely. After a few minutes reflecting on some of her music that I grew up to, along with some thoughts about how unfortunate it was that she had chosen to get involved in drugs and lifestyle choices that ultimately played some part in her untimely death, I grabbed a cup of coffee and moved on to the tasks at hand in my day. Yes, that's right...I did not read every story I could find on the internet about her death. I did not cry. I did not scream out obscenities towards Bobby Brown or mourn for the next three days.

As crazy as those actions sound to some of you, know that a great many Americans did exactly those kinds of things over the last week. Every day for the last week there was constant media coverage on all of the news networks detailing Ms. Houston's life, the events leading up to her death, and every action by every celebrity who knew her and/or was planning on attending the funeral. Do I fault the news media for this insane amount of coverage for what amounts to just another human being? No, I do not. The news media only gives this amount of coverage to events such as this because there is a market for it. If millions of Americans weren't putting their lives on hold to watch every minute of this idiotic coverage the media wouldn't keep presenting it.

No, our society has become one in which people care more about the lives of people they've never met, and who wouldn't give them the time of day if they did, than they do of themselves, their loved ones, and their own goals and aspirations. Joe and Jane citizen would rather sit on their couch all day and watch reality television shows which consist of nothing more than watching celebrities live their everyday lives than they would trying to live their own. It's a sad state of affairs and a scary look at the future of our nation. I remember when I was turning 16. I couldn't wait to get my license, get a job, get out of my house, and start living my own life. At the rate we are going we are going to have an entire generation of citizens that will turn 40 one day, and wonder why they things haven't turned out the way they imagined. It will be because they spent countless hours watching other people live their lives instead of going out and accomplishing things in their own.

To be fair to Whitney Houston, it is not an isolated occurrence. The same thing happened when Michael Jackson died a couple of years ago, as well as any other celebrity in the news for one thing or another. The same thing is happening every day to Hollywood types that are still alive. A growing number of people are basically placing these stars at higher importance than their own flesh and blood, as well as themselves. How else can we explain Kim Kardashian?? Can anyone explain one major accomplishment that Ms. Kardashian has had in her life to make her famous (other than an amateur sex tape)?? Really?? Seriously?? People are seriously neglecting their spouses, children, and their own lives and careers to keep track of these naïve, immature, spoiled fools prancing around on our television sets every day. And then when they meet a shocking, untimely demise, they are mourning these pompous celebrities as though they are part of their own family. It's just disgusting and a sad sign of the decay of our nation.

It's time for people to look in the mirror, begin valuing themselves and their families, and start living their own lives. I'm not sure there is a more horrible feeling than getting old and not having anything to tell your children and grandchildren regarding your own adventures and accomplishments in life, because I doubt they are going to be interested to hear about how much you cried when Whitney Houston died.

In the movie “The Shawshank Redemption” the line was stated, “Get busy living, or get busy dying.” This past week is yet another sad reminder that a large number of Americans are very busy dying.