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Why So Mean?

Feb 15, 2012 -- 8:24am

by Bill Johnson (


What do the death of Whitney Houston and the death of an American soldier in Afghanistan have to do with each other?


Nothing, right?


That's what I thought, but now there seems to be a popular post going around Facebook lamenting the fact that Whitney Houston's death has gotten world wide attention and the death of the American soldier hasn't.


The intent, I guess, is to make people feel bad. The intent is to make people feel guilty for feeling something after the death of a celebrity.


What good does this do anyone?


Whitney Houston was an amazing talent who, by all accounts, shortened her on life with serious substance abuse.


That's sad.


So, why is it wrong for people to be sad?


It was maybe an hour after Houston's death was announced that I saw the first of many similar posts on social media.


No one should feel sorry for Whitney Houston. She did it to herself.


Well, it makes me feel much better to know that there are so many perfect people out there to keep the rest of us in line. People have different views of addiction, but by now all of us know someone who's been affected by it. It's not easy and it's no fun. It is a choice, but that still doesn't make it your job to rub it in the faces of the addicted or their families.


Why should they care about Whitney Houston? They didn't even know her.


True, but did all of you that sport those "3" stickers on your pick-ups know The Intimidator? I seem to see a lot of t-shirts depicting Biggy Smalls and Tupac Shakur? Are you all personal friends of theirs? Or were you touched by their work? No one says that celebrities are perfect, but their work touches millions of people, and it lives on after they've gone. People have always been touched by art in many forms. It's part of being human, a wonderful part of being human.


Whitney Houston killed herself with drugs. Millions mourned. An American soldier died in Afghanistan and was forgotten.


Yes, millions mourned Whitney Houston. Millions were touched by her work, and were saddened by her death, both because of the circumstances and because they'll never hear her voice sing live again. That's perfectly legitimate. I have no idea why people feel the need to dictate what others should feel.

The soldier's effort is a team effort. Their work is appreciated as a team. When they die, a member of the team is lost. That is tragic, but it touches very few people personally. Those are the people that grieve the soldiers, as they should. To say that they are "forgotten" is insulting. It's insulting to the fallen soldier, and insulting to their loved ones, and all for the sake of what?


Being mean.


Social media is wonderful, but it's created a new class of cyber bully. Armed with pomposity and a need to condescend, the new cyber bully let's you know in no uncertain terms: your not smart, your not edgy, your not cool.


Oh, and they also now let you know that it's silly to feel bad when an artist or celebrity that you like has died.


These people are best unfriended, blocked, and/or ignored.

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