Whitney Houston, Judy Garland and our Broken Culture

Whitney Houston -  Concert in Central Park   /...

Whitney Houston

I had the pleasure of attending the traveling play “End of the Rainbow“. It’s the story of the last days of Judy Garland‘s life (star of The Wizard of Oz).  She was on and off drugs. Her voice was failing. People took advantage of her.  Her shows were often wrecks but she was still a delightful person.

I left sad that this incredible talent lived trapped in a culture of people who didn’t know how to manage her nor did she know how to manage herself. She died at the age of 47.

Whitney Houston Mirrors Judy Garland

Two days later I learned of Whitney Houston‘s death. It was like déjà vu.  Having just learned of Garland’s end Houston’s death made sense. There were so many similarities.

There is a lot of finger-pointing now. Who is to blame? Is it Whitney Houston? Is it her friends? Her doctors? Even God?

The finger-pointing itself is a sign of our broken culture. We don’t get it. We are so desperate for a hero… a savior… that when a talent comes along we enshrine them and give them whatever they want as long as they keep us happy. We push them away from us to preserve them for our own benefit leaving them bereft of a healthy context to live.

We want more and more from them and so they comply to get the affirmations they so desperately crave.  If it takes a pill here or there, so be it. It’s all for the “greater good”. It turns into a very sick symbiotic relationship; each party dependent on the other to survive.

But when our heroes crash and burn what do  we do? We either denounce them or we worship them one last time.. .sadly, with a funeral. Ultimately the end result is the same… we move on and look for the next savior to enthrone.

Who is to Blame for the Death of Whitney Houston?

Who is to blame? To the extent that we embrace this craziness, we all are.  When we remove God from the equation we naturally go looking for a savior, in a person or a bottle or on a stage. Put God back into the equation and we regain perspective and balance.

We should be thankful for a talent like Whitney Houston. She was a gift to us all.  We should nurture people with these gifts not milk them dry and then discard them.

The culture is broken. But we can breathe life and dignity back into it by reversing the disease in small ways. I’m all for that.

Question: In what ways have you seen the impact of our broken culture?  Leave your comment below.


5 thoughts on “Whitney Houston, Judy Garland and our Broken Culture

  1. Teresa

    Thanks Remy for sharing this message. It is so true. I know people might not want to here this one…… but we in Wisconsin can do this with the Packer Team. I saw this growing up in Green Bay with a family that was connected to the team. After becoming a chrstian my perspective changed. Without God the Packer’s can become bigger than life. When they did well everyone was happy. When they did not do well……especially years with Dan Devine is got ugly. I think that has always been etched in my mind. I can see that the Packer Team without a strong focus on God can become idol worship.

    1. F. Remy Diederich Post author

      Football brings up a whole new area of concern. Recent studies have shown how repeated concussions are causing dementia and leading to suicide in some players. Yet we complain when our heroes refuse to play hurt. Like I said…our culture is broken. I love sports but I love people more. We need to find a way to look out for people and not just use them and lose them for our benefit.

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  4. Alicia

    Ray J neng mic kor touk teab mes? Mic kor jong tver bab ke jeng? Vea threaten ke in pluibc ke pun neng hery, mic kor Whitney men sue vea tov?

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