A Nightingale Stilled

12 02 2012

“I believe that children are our future. Teach them well and let them lead the way. Show them all the beauty they possess inside.” (Whitney Houston)

Fourty-eight years old.  The voice of an angel.  Now she’s gone.  Whitney Houston.

There have been so very many entertainment icons who’ve left us much too early in their lives.  Recently, Amy Winehouse.  Michael Jackson.  From my generation, Brian Jones.  Jimi Hendrix.  Janis Joplin.  John Bonham.

One has to wonder if the starmaker machinery we keep well-oiled doesn’t have a way chewing up and spitting out those we put inside it.  True, every man or woman is ultimately responsible for their choices.  Drugs and alcohol are often the sedatives of choice for the loneliness that accompanies gods and goddesses.

Maybe we need to remember that people like Whitney and Jimi are just human beings.  Someone’s boy or girl.  They have souls and a story.  We love their contributions to culture, but fame has a way of making life oddly difficult to manage for many of them.  But then again, who is really cut out to manage stardom?

From time to time, I’ve had the opportunity either to meet or work for famous people.  I think the one thing most of them appreciate is to be treated like a regular human being—with kindness, compassion and respect.  But most—at least not the one’s I’ve met—don’t like the kind of fawning adulation that says, in effect, “You’re not like me.  You don’t put your pants on the same way.”

Love them.  Appreciate them.  But when necessary, give them space and let them be the sons and daughters, the mothers and fathers, the wives and husbands they are.

We’ll all be better for it.

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