The internets have been full of reactions to the passing of Whitney Houston, and we’ve read them all...
- The power and surprise when each stage of mourning hits.
- The staggering expense both financially and emotionally.
- The ability of peripherally associated people to make the tragedy uncomfortably about themselves (especially on Facebook).
Just in 2012, we've already lost a few music pioneers (Etta James, Don Cornelius, Johnny Otis), but why is Whitney so huge, and what's the right way to react to a celebrity's death? Megan Garber has done a great job of analyzing the collective nostalgia for Whitney through social media, noting:
[Whitney Houston, w]ho is not our mother or our sister or even our friend, but who nonetheless -- particularly for the generation whose coming of age coincided with the height of her fame -- carried with her the strange intimacy of celebrity.
Some artists' work has touched you emotionally, and you feel like you know them. Some celebrities peel back their polished Hollywood veneer to allow access into their homes, thoughts, and unguarded personalities.
Some become boldfaced names whose every detail of their life becomes salacious social currency for weekly tabloids. Whitney did it all.
She became one of the first memes on The Soup:
[Out of context, it was my ringtone; within context, I'd react the same way with Bobby around.]
She endured the changing and fickle culture of celebrity... with and without the counsel of a PR team.
She reigned as royalty, inspired thousands, persevered through rehab, ridicule, and even reality — yet it was her humanity throughout that made us love her... and care about her:
Robbed of her possible future, we'll always have her as an archetype of musical talent; she'll always be our Queen of The Night: