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I don't suppose I should feel surprised that Whitney Houston's death has stirred all of this up for me again. I did feel a bit surprised when I cheered for New Jersey Governor Chris Christie when I watched the news earlier today. Politics make strange bedfellows, I suppose.

Chris Christie's been getting a lot of flak this week. And not the usual fat-bashing that we've come to know and loathe. This week he's been getting shit because he's ordered New Jersey flags flown at half-staff on Saturday in honor of Whitney Houston's funeral.

There's the "Whitney Who?" meme floating around facebook. Nevermind that Chris Christie has *also* flown flags at half-staff for every New Jersey soldier and police officer who died during his time in office. He also flew the flag at half staff when New Jerseyian Clarence Clemmons died last summer. Where was the outrage then?

No, the outrage is all about drugs. Like Amy Winehouse, Whitney Houston was widely known to have addiction issues, so she's a disgrace. A quick search of "whitney flag" on public facebook posts turns up gems like "Fuck new jersey and fuck Whitney houston what a disgrace to the american flag flying it at half staff for a druggie bitch one more reason to get jersey out" and "So idk if you all know about this bullshit half ass idea our lovely governor came up with for tomorrow, put your flags at half mass in remembering of Whitney Houston...the sell out crack head who hasn't 'entertained in like 20 years... ".

I'm a former drug addict. I've never tried to hide this fact. In fact, I am more than willing to discuss it, openly. This RIGHT HERE is yet another example of why recovered drug addicts need to COME OUT OF THE CLOSET, because much like queer folk, we, too, are everywhere. I have no intention of outing anybody specifically, but I will tell you that among my facebook friends there are former drug addicts who have gone on to marry and raise families, former drug addicts who have gotten advanced degrees, addicts who hold down jobs and own property, pay their taxes and contribute to society. To claim that Houston's addictions negate her success and her contributions is to tell each and every one of us that the things that we've achieved mean nothing and will never mean anything because of A MENTAL HEALTH ISSUE.

Chris Christie nailed it. He said "I am disturbed by people who believe that because her ultimate demise — and we don't know what is the cause of her death yet — but because of her history of substance abuse that somehow she's forfeited the good things that she did in her life..." Thank you, Governor Christie, for refusing to let the illness define the woman. Thank you for remembering that that "druggie bitch" was somebody's daughter, and somebody's mother. Thank you for standing up and refusing to be one of the many who loved "the sell out crack head" when she was on top, but hate her now that she's shown herself to be less than perfect. I have never been prouder of you.

(Now if you could just sign that gay marriage bill into law, I'd really be in your corner. The fact that you've moved your position from "no" to "maybe" is a step in the right direction at least.)


Feb. 16th, 2012 08:38 pm (UTC)
Thanks so much for saying this.

I'm seeing similar things from musician-types I thought would know better, but yeah...fucking hipsters. You can see a shining example on my Facebook in the comment thread after I posted Diamanda Galas's statement on WH yesterday. I think I should have gone off on the guy, but I was feeling diplomatic, I guess. Thankfully, Alan B. wasn't. :D

Not only is everything you say true about the way addicts and former addicts are often perceived, but Whitney Houston had the sheer gall to be an addict while also being a black woman. I think women addicts are judged more harshly in general--'cause male addicts can still be cool like Keef, boys will be boys, etc., but women fall hard when we fall off the pedestal. For women of color, that goes double, and there is a metric fucktonne of racism in the anti-Whitney backlash.

I've never liked her music much, it's not about that at all for me. It's about the really ugly side of a lot of people that this is bringing out.
Feb. 16th, 2012 09:00 pm (UTC)
I saw your link (and I agree with her sentiment that Clive Davis sold her out, not just without helping her, but while actively harming her) but I missed the commentary. Clicking over to fb to check it out now.

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