Monday, February 13, 2012

Whitney Houston and Madonna
and the answers are all up to me

I remember the 1980s. The morning after Whitney Houston's death, I spent our entire breakfast remembering the 80s to Brian, who sometimes remembers a bit less about the 80s than I do. Here's one thing I remember about the 80s: "Whitney/Madonna." Notice how I put them together, there. Obviously they are such different people with such different styles of music and life and all that. HOWever, those of us who remember the 80s remember the slash, the Whitney/Madonna talk, the incessant marveling at how there could be not one but two chart-topping ladies with a bazillion hits. In some ways, Whitney and Madonna together were the entirety of valuable pop radio in the 80s, if you keep all the new wave and alterna-pop that people so often think of when thinking of 80s music in the alternative category, and if you don't place a lot of value on Michael Jackson, who was the other big thing in 80s pop radio, as dictated by Billboard. (Oh, wait, that's just me who doesn't care about the MJ.) Anyway, so, Madonna and Whitney. Yeah.

As Brian and I breakfasted, I prattled on about my early cassette buying: Madonna's Like a Virgin was my first - no, really - but I also bought Whitney, probably from Columbia House Record & Tape club. Over egg and roti pancake I happily recalled Whitney's sassy one-raised-shoulder pose in the white tank top on that cassette's cover, and the Olympic single "One Moment in Time" (which, I might add, I belted screeched out at a noraebang in Korea last summer). And then it hit me: could it be that Whitney, too, had the 1980s Madonna/Whitney hype-pressure on the brain this week?  Madonna just performed at the Super Bowl and ignited the blogosphere with her 53-year-old-and-still-performing-ness. Many people loved her show. The whole world was watching, as it were. That world could have included Whitney. It's kind of like a high school reunion or something, no?  I am not being snarky or trying to make light of that -- I know that the pressure of an upcoming high school reunion can be too much for someone to handle.

Such an in-your-face reminder of all that you were can make you question where you are now, and when such a mighty incessant comparison is thrown back in your face in a new way, maybe it can wreak havoc on a person's psyche?  I actually don't know the details of the death, but whether it was suicide, drugs, or both, it was probably her self-destruction, right? As we walked back from breakfast this morning, I said, "It's as if Madonna killed Whitney -- but I don't mean that -- but maybe the Tweets about Madonna killed Whitney?"

I'm so sad to think of someone being so distraught about not measuring up, by real or imagined standards, that she would be driven to take her own life, but I know it has happened. And I find this a bizarre ending to  the life of Whitney "Didn't we almost have it all?" Houston.

I think the "One Moment in Time" lyrics are the most appropriate, actually, for all of us to remember...seriously, go listen to it.

Rest in peace, obviously, of course. Would that the peace could also be found during our lifetimes.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It is sad that people who have made a "success" have such difficulty. Judy Garland got in that trap, she was taking uppers to get thru the day and sleeping pills for the evening and prematurely died. We could on and on with the famous people who succumbed to the same trap. It would be nice if their staffs were looking out for their best interests and quality of life.