Officially, singer Whitney Houston’s chronic abuse of cocaine contributed to her drowning in a bathtub on Feb. 11 in the Beverly Hilton Hotel. Unofficially, she died not so much because she was addicted to cocaine, but because she was addicted to shameless flattery.
The painful truth is that Houston died because she transformed her relatives and close friends into employees, thereby short-circuiting the safetynet they normally provide. Two very negative things result from such narcissistic behavior.
First, paid entourage members start telling their employer whatever pleases the star. Second, employers with a weakness for flattery become addicted to this self-indulgent behavior and distance themselves from those who fail to engage in it.
Think Elvis, Howard Hughes, and Michael Jackson. Think Michael Bloomberg, the ruthless billionaire mayor of New York City who seems to hate anyone who is not for sale – especially, those members of the 99% in the Occupy Wall Street movement.
To find out how the son of a decent working-class family could become such an elitist ass you need look no further than Bloomberg’s inner circle. Everyone is on the payroll. His sister. His kids. Even his girlfriend is in a position where her relationship with him could be tremendously beneficial to her career.
Bloomberg has no normal social relationships. They’re all transactional relationships. Everyone around the wealthiest elected official in U.S. history receives money from him or generates money for him.
Houston created a similar echo chamber for herself by transforming close social relationships into transactional relationships. She employed her own father at an annual salary of $52,000 to $90,000 from 1991 to 1997 and loaned him $723,800.
What kind of multimillionaire loans money to their own daddy?
The kind who doesn’t like to be questioned or scrutinized. Ever. About anything.
If you want to make sure someone never tells you anything unpleasant just loan them some money or put them on the payroll. These arrangements work better than giving money away because they make the recipients dependent on your continued good will.
Even Houston’s stepmom got in on the act, suing Whitney when the gravy-train came to a halt after the death of the singer’s father. The wealthy star counter-sued, saying effectively “I own you – you don’t sue me.”
Houston’s boyfriend, Reality TV actor William Ray Norwood Jr., is rumored to be sitting on a trove of sex tapes of himself and Houston. Norwood, 31, who also goes by the “Ray J” stage name, gained infamy in 2003 for making a sex tape with fellow Reality TV actress Kim Kardashian. Houston’s ex-husband, singer Bobbi Brown, also is sitting on some sex tapes, according to The National Enquirer.
Amazingly, there are millions of short-sighted Americans who regularly drink the Hollywood Kool-aid and wish they lived like the Houston, Bloomberg and Kardashian train wrecks of the world. That’s how messed up our society is.
Fame has isolated Bloomberg just as effectively as it isolated Houston, who was blessed with incredible singing ability. She squandered much of it by persistently dosing herself with a variety of drugs, both legal and illegal.
Houston simply could not accept the world as it was. That mindset helped her break out of her childhood in Newark, New Jersey – one of the poorest cities in one of this nation’s richest states – and achieve great things. It also enabled a long period in which she used lackeys to insulate heself from painful truths about her professional and personal decline.
The Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office didn’t do the rest of us any favors when they held off on the release of Houston’s toxicology results until this week, thereby enabling millions of impressionable Americans to be influenced by the entertainment industry’s attempts to deify Houston.
The industry loves no one so much as a dead star, because it’s so much easier to craft a fictional and self-serving storyline when there’s no drugged-addled star around to drive over a baby carriage. It also make it a lot easier to misconstrue a truthful story like this article as disrepectful to the dead.
The autopsy results released Thursday were predictable. They showed that the 48-year-old Houston drowned in a bathtub due to physical impairment resulting from chronic cocaine usage, a heart condition and a mix of other drugs.
The coroner found traces of marijuana, the anti-anxiety medication Xanax, the muscle relaxant Flexeril, and the cold medication Benadry in her system.
This is worth saying again: Houston didn’t die of a heart attack. She drowned. In a few inches of water.
If she’d been able to stand up or pull herself out of the tub, she’s still be doing drugs today.
The lesson to take away from Houston’s needless and premature death isn’t “I want to be like Whitney.” The lesson should be that lackeys make you stupid and fame can kill you if you’re weak enough to give in to the temptation to surround yourself with people who kiss your ass for a living.
Money hasn’t got anything to with it, except for the fact that you have to be rich in the first place to be this stupid.
It was an expensive hotel room and Houston died there alone. She was surounded by the trappings of wealth and celebrity power, but missing the one thing she couldn’t buy – a friend to tell her she was out of line.
The fact that Houston’s sheltered daughter – Bobbi Kristina Brown – now faces the world alone, with a pile of money she didn’t earn, is even sadder. Houston left her $20 million estate to the 19-year-old and lackeys are already circling the hapless silver spoon like sharks around a free meal.
Supermarket tabloids are already suggesting that Bobbie Kristina is involved in a sexual relationship with her adoptive brother Nick Gordon and is pregnant by him.
Doesn’t everybody sleep with their brother?
No doubt, Bobbi Kristina now thinks she’s running things. At least that’s what her people tell her in these cynical times.
You don’t have to be genius to figure out that this story is not going to have a happy ending for anyone but the lackeys. The sooner they burn through the poor little rich-girl’s inheritance and head off in search of new prey, the better for Bobbi Kristina.
That’s the world we live in.
Pretty, it ain’t.