It’s a strange, strange world

Published 10:39 am Tuesday, February 21, 2012

It has been checked and double checked on, so it must be true….Whitney Houston is dead.

The much loved singer, the owner of six Grammy awards and a pair of Emmys, was found dead Feb. 11 in a bathtub inside her room at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, CA. It’s been rumored that a deadly mixture of drugs and alcohol led to her death.

About the only way one would have missed all the countless TV shows dedicated to Houston’s memory last week was you were totally blinded by either the courthouse issue in Hertford County or the high school merger over in Northampton.

Houston’s story of her rise to fame and fall from glory has been plastered all over the digital and print media for a week. According to my unofficial count while scanning the TV on Saturday, Feb. 18, her funeral was carried by at least five networks.

I’ve always been intrigued by the fascination Americans, and others worldwide, have for movie stars, singers and the like. And it seems that the more dirty laundry made public on these media darlings, the more people seem to gravitate towards them.

It’s no doubt that Whitney Houston was a gifted singer. That voice earned her the distinction of being the most awarded female recording artist of all time, according to Guinness World Records, with a total of 415 awards stretched out over her career. Included in that lot are 22 American Music Awards, the all-time record for a female solo artist. She captured a single-year record 11 Billboard Music Awards in 1993.

While Ms. Houston certainly left her mark on the music world, I wasn’t among her many loyal fans. My respect for her dwindled after learning that her stirring rendition of the “Star Spangled Banner” during the 1991 Super Bowl played in Tampa, Florida was a lip synch. Her version of our American anthem was indeed a beautifully crafted piece, only it was done in a studio and not performed live.

To me, as the son of a World War II veteran who bravely defended his country on the battlefields of France and Germany, if Whitney Houston wasn’t brave enough to stand on that field – without the presence of bullets flying around her – and belt out a live version of that song, then that’s a disgrace of our men and women in uniform who place their lives in harm’s way. The blood they shed wasn’t fake.

In that vein, Ms. Houston should have heeded the famous words of Major Frederick Blesse, USAF pilot during the Korean War – whose plane was inscribed with “No Guts, No Glory” or those of Sir Winston Churchill who was quoted as saying, “Fear is a reaction. Courage is a decision.”

Yep, Americans are star struck by individuals that can act or sing, but let a true hero die in battle on foreign soil while protecting our freedom and those deaths are just a fleeting thought. We don’t even bat an eye upon hearing that news and surely don’t see hours and hours of TV coverage dedicated to their deaths.

What a strange world we live in.


Cal Bryant is Editor of Roanoke-Chowan Publications. He can be contacted at or 252-332-7207.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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