Half-Staff Order for Whitney Houston’s Funeral Shouldn’t Spark Outrage

Whitney Houston’s funeral is scheduled for this Saturday in Newark, New Jersey. And to commemorate the singer’s legacy, Governor Chris Christie has ordered all of New Jersey’s state buildings to fly their flags at half-staff, sparking a minor uproar with some locals.

Though Houston was born in New Jersey, many residents are criticizing Christie’s decision to honor a celebrity known for her (alleged) drug use instead of, say, dead soldiers or other public servants who selflessly serve New Jersey.

In defending his order, Chris Christie told the media, “Her accomplishments were a great source of pride for the people of the state. On that basis, I think she’s entitled to have that recognition made for her.”

It seems like every time someone famous dies from a drug overdose, the media invariably starts questioning America’s massive obsession with celebrities, the same obsession they (we) perpetuate. Then there’s the requisite dialogue on the morality of publicly honoring addicts with talent.

It happened with Michael Jackson. It happened with Amy Winehouse. It happened with Chris Farley. And it’s going to keep happening as long as celebrities do drugs (i.e. forever).

But celebrity deaths are really no different than that of non-celebrities, except for the fact that they’re usually broadcasted to the entire world, like Houston’s will be.

Think of all the funerals you’ve been to; it’s not like the priest or whomever lists all the person’s transgressions and starts reminding the audience of their lengthy criminal record. No, each time a person dies, their faults and misdeeds get glossed over, only to live on in minds of their family and friends.

I know it’s never wise to be practical around mourners, but I’d imagine those “real” heroes- the public servants, soldiers, policemen and firemen– die every day in New Jersey. So while those figures definitely deserve the honor more than Houston (much more), Jersey, and any other state for that matter, probably doesn’t want to fly their flags at half-staff every day of the year.

And besides, do you really think Jersey is going to pass on the chance to remind the world of its many homegrown stars?

Just wait until Bruce dies.

Source: NBC 10

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