Sunday, February 12, 2012

Whitney Houston and the Celebrity Afterlife

Has anyone noticed that once a celebrity has died, he becomes more famous and more marketable? Michael Jackson is the prime example of this. Before his death, the children in my behavioural class used to joke about him. "Michael Jackson called, he wants you to call him back," was a familiar putdown. Then he died and he became Michael Jackson. All the hype pushed away the uncomfortable questions that revolved around that court case.
I didn't care for her. Her music was okay but never anything I listened to. Now, I expect, the radio will be playing all her songs regularly for the next week or two. And there will be a big tribute to her Sunday night at the Grammys. She has won quite a few so that makes sense.
Whitney Houston didn't have Michael Jackson's notoriety. She was a has-been. She hasn't put out anything in about a decade that anyone has cared about. I suspect some people will have heard of her but need to be reminded who she is as news of her death becomes known. And then others will have huge shrines to someone who was famous and has died. Here we go again.

Yup, I was right. Today the radio shows were asking listeners to call in with their "Whitney Houston story". As if they knew her.

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