• Sun, Feb 12 2012

Does Whitney Houston’s Death Mean I Have To Stop Making Fun Of Lindsay Lohan?

Whitney Houston’s death this weekend shocked the cynical writer in me. After years of joking that she was a hot mess and this was bound to happen, it actually did.

Making fun of drug-addicted celebrities comes easily for a celebrity blogger. The jokes seem to write themselves most days as we sit around laughing about barefoot feet in the middle of winter, publicized breakdowns, embarrassing falls and passed out photos. Until the celebrity dies and we remember all these posts, all these jokes, all these death countdown conversations. When we’re uncomfortably forced to remember that drug addiction wasn’t created for SNL skits and TMZ’s news cycle. A drug addiction is a disease and people often lose the battle and die.

Whitney Houston’s death last night reminded me of that. It reminded me that while we may quote her infamous crack cocaine is for poor people line, she wasn’t joking when she said it. She was giving us a glimpse into her world and our only reaction as bystanders was to turn it into a punch line. What else could we do? Acknowledging the truth and beginning an honest conversation about drug abuse is hard. Talking about Maya Rudolph’s impression, which I actually did this very week, is easy.

When Amy Winehouse died last year I went through this same thought process. Here was a woman who so desperately needed help, but at the end of the day was unable to get it. She too was another national punchline. An easy joke. Haha, drugs are so funny. Alcohol abuse is hilarious. Let’s all gawk at photos and forget that beneath that smudged eyeliner and messy beehive hairdo is someone with a life threatening disease.

Last night when I was out, Whitney’s death inevitably weaved in and out of conversation. Everyone acknowledged her talent and mourned her loss. We spoke quietly about drug addiction and how sad it is when someone so talented can’t overcome such a scary disease. But I know, after a few days pass, after everyone cries over what I’m sure will be a moving Grammy’s tribute, we’ll forget. We’ll forget we spoke about drug abuse openly,  as a serious topic — and it will go back to being the usual comedy fodder.

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  • Michael Prymula

    I’m glad you’re more reasonable about Lindsay then most gossip rags on the net, but she’s not nearly as sick as Winehouse and Houston were, Lindsay hasn’t done drugs since 2010, she’s stopped going to clubs and drinking all the time, she’s no longer in the spotlight nearly as much as she was last year and so far she’s been keeping up with her community service, so she’s definitely headed in the right direction. That said, I hope and pray that she dosen’t die anytime soon, I believe she can and will make a comeback one day.

  • Joyce

    So glad you’re opening dialog about substance abuse. Maybe if high profile celebs are spotlighted …maybe we’ll see 10k races against drug addiction.

    Maybe we acknowledge that this self distructive behavior touches everyone’s family. Maybe the addict/ alcoholic is the brunt of jokes at family gatherings.
    May the person is shunned. Big baller celebs are different in their addictions.
    Money buys an endless supply of the best drugs and support base.
    If you’ve had a close family member or friend addicted to D/A…The painful memory is always there. Addicts cause so much pain in those that live them. Celebrity flameouts and deaths bring back that hollow pain. I want to scream…you have enough money…go get help!!!

    • Christene

      Joyce and Jenni – very powerful??? Not having a drug or alcohol addiction myself I really can’t say what one goes through regarding the decision to or not to get treatment. I am in the divorce process from a seriously very high functioning alcoholic who has been in denial for at least 20 years and claims he knows more than any professional on substance abuse. Thus, he has never sought help. I do know from being married to this person and as the mother of three beautiful children who have endured years of abuse from that same alcoholic father what the disease does to a family. It wreaks hell on the lives of those that are affected by these very selfish addictions. This man caused indescribable pain and it felt so purposeful. His eldest sister’s family have/are suffered/suffering from the same dysfunction. She finally entered treatment as a last resort (after over 30 years of abuse (had lost her job as a physician and was on her death bed). She had two choices: seek treatment or die. She just finished a 30 day treatment program for alcohol abuse and was moved to the ward next door for eating disorders. The families of these addicts have been in interminable denial and to a degree still are.
      I do believe that we have swept these disorders under the rug and kicked up our heals far too long in denial as a society. I do not know the answer but I do know it is certainly NOT continued denial. Drug and alcohol abuse are dreadful evils with unbearably disparaging ramifications for the addict and primarily for everyone in their path of destruction. I hope Whitney did not leave this earth in vain. I suspect she would be honored if her death opened our eyes and hearts to work together to make long lasting positive changes in substance recovery with family intervention.

  • MarionA

    I think part of what motivates people to make fun of some celebrity addicts is the addicts are denying they are doing drugs when their behaviour clearly shows they’re lying. LL was denying her problems while photo after photo showed her falling down, eyes glazed, missing court appearances, etc. It seems now she’s determined to redeem her reputation on the backs of icons like MM and Elizabeth Taylor which is another source of irritation if not amusement.

    I don’t remember people making fun of Janis, Jimi, and Jim and it may be because they never made the big pretense of getting clean. Fakery always begs to be exposed.

  • tim conway

    did you hear that whitney houston died while leaning over the tub,she hit her head on a crackpipe

  • tim conway

    did you hear whitney houston will star in her last film its called “BodyBag”

    • Flohno

      You tried so hard, yet you’re still not funny.

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  • byazrov.com

    Whitney was a legend. Her loss is a world’s tragedy.
    Lindsay Lohan is just another junky slut.
    Who cares what happens to that garbage?

  • randomcollection ofletters

    Re: “So WHEN (sic) can I, an entertainment writer, do?” – Don’t worry, no one will mistake you for a writer.

  • Louis

    I think I have stopped making fun of Lindsay but I think that it is horrible that Lindsay Lohan is made fun of when I enjoy her film the Parent Trap so much I love her its not right to make fun of someone cause of substance abuse its cruel and wrong, Lindsay Lohan’s team should really take care of of her.