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A Johnny Cash Eulogy for Whitney Houston

Email about 4pm PST yesterday, from Beatrice, on a girl’s weekend…in Pismo Beach, subject implied.

Dead at 48.

It was Saturday afternoon, I’d been doing some work earlier, cracked open the whiskey…only minutes before. I read that email, went out to the patio, and I wept for her.

I always rooted for Whitney.

It was about early 1990s—mid-30s—when I finally acquired my maternal grandfather’s ease of weeping when emotion takes hold. I can recall, as a kid, anytime he’d get some long, silly, heartfelt birthday or holiday card, how he’d get about halfway down reading it and the tears would start rolling.

He didn’t care if anyone saw it. He was a man, a man respected far & wide. An artist, a hunter, a fisherman who tied his own flies.

…Not even sure why I’m blogging about this except that, it’s sad to me.

I always rooted for Whitney.

On one level I find it amazing that with her resources, she could not have fixed or at least managed this. On another level, I get it. Virtually unlimited resources is something none of us are really evolutionarily adapted to.

Her’s my Eulogy for Whitney: Johnny Cash, Spiritual. For those non-religious, or atheist, like me, just remember: Jesus is, on many levels, a wonderful metaphor. The biggest problem is that so many have, over two thousand years, weakened that metaphor by taking it literally.

Richard Nikoley

I'm Richard Nikoley. Free The Animal began in 2003 and as of 2021, contains 5,000 posts. I blog what I wish...from health, diet, and food to travel and lifestyle; to politics, social antagonism, expat-living location and time independent—while you sleep—income. I celebrate the audacity and hubris to live by your own exclusive authority and take your own chances. Read More

81 Comments

  1. rob on February 13, 2012 at 05:08

    Made me think of Johnny Cash’s cover of Trent Reznor’s “Hurt”

    • Richard Nikoley on February 13, 2012 at 07:54

      Yea, that same genre. He has a couple of covers like that – a Depeche Mode song comes to mind.



  2. Chris Sturdy on February 12, 2012 at 20:21

    A fitting eulogy, indeed. A sad story.

  3. BabyGirl on February 12, 2012 at 20:41

    Jesus, the man had to exist to create the metaphor.

    I cried for Whitney to. She was America’s sweeteheart after she sand the Star Bangled Banner at the Super Bowl. She was the soundtrack to part of my life. Some parts I’m not all that proud of, like when I had an affair with the married guy in the band.

    Then when we broke up, it was “I Wanna Dance With Somebody,” Because I was free.

    Then it was “Where do Broken Hearts Go?” when I found out that he left his wife and was dating the girl he called a whore, the shampoo model.

    And you know everybody has somebody in their past that “I Will Always Love You” applies to.

    And I liked her. She was on the cover of 17 magazine when I was still reading it. My foster sister was black and I was so happy that a black girl was on the cover of 17. I even liked her after she married Bobby Brown. I even liked Bobby Brown.

    And I was 19 when my own mother died. She didn’t die in the bathtub, but she died in the bathroom and she was only 39. All the years of drinking pushed my mom down, and I always wondered why she didn’t love us enough to quite before it was too late.

    So tonight, I’m rooting for Bobbi Kristina. That kid has a monkey on her back.

    Jesus is the only one who can help her now.

    I pray He will.

    That was an awesome song you picked out. You know, sometimes I think about you and I think the Lord laid you on my heart, for me to pray for. And when that happens, I try to remember to pray for you.

    I was thinking just the other day how you have such a way of reaching people, and how great it would be if your were reaching them with a story of the grace of God.

    I hope that wasn’t too personal. You don’t know me, we’ve never met. I guess you can tell that by looking at the site meter. And I’m not trying to preach at you. It just seemed like the time was right to tell you that.

    God bless you.

    Isaiah 25:8  He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from off all the earth: for the LORD hath spoken it.

    1 Corinthians 15:53  For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.

    54  So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.

    55  O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?

    56  The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.

    57  But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

    • Richard Nikoley on February 13, 2012 at 08:22

      “Jesus, the man had to exist to create the metaphor.”

      Not necessarily true, and even if he did (more likely, he’s an amalgamation of many Messiah claims around the time), that implies nothing of sooper pow3rz.

      Ever heard of Santa Claus?

      “I was thinking just the other day how you have such a way of reaching people, and how great it would be if your were reaching them with a story of the grace of God.”

      But that would make me deceptive because I believe in no such thing. But worse, I think such beliefs that take on a literal tinge are self destructive, so I could never go there. Just like I’d advise people against using recreational drugs on a regular basis. They can sure make you feel good, but you don’t want to go there for real and serious.

      Anyway, thanks for the well wishes. Shouldn’t it be enough that people’s hearts are in the right place?

      BTW, whenever I quote Bible verses, here’s my go-to source:

      http://www.evilbible.com/



    • BabyGirl on February 13, 2012 at 10:20

      Well, I wouldn’t want you to be deceptive, I’d more want you to believe & convert. 🙂

      Luke 22:31  And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat:

      32  But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.

      And it was enough for me, for that post, that your heart was in the right place, and it so obviously was.

      Best to you, BG



    • Will on February 13, 2012 at 10:58

      Ah, but St. Nicholas had to exist (and show up to vote at the first Council of Nicea) for there to have been a Santa Claus. Behind the metaphor stands the Man. And the cool thing about that MAN is He’s bigger than any metaphor you try to squeeze Him into.



    • Richard Nikoley on February 13, 2012 at 11:57

      If you’re referring to Christ, I absolutely disagree.

      The metaphor is where ALL of the power is. Every ounce of it.



    • Will on February 13, 2012 at 13:18

      Well, we’ll have to agree to disagree. But think of it paleo wise. Man only can have life in himself if something dies and gives its life into him. Man only can have UNENDING life in himself if God dies and gives HIS life into him. But God can’t die unless God becomes a man. And a man He did become. “I have no God but the hairy one” (Luther) and He did this, as we believe, in order that we might literally come to LIVE through His death.



    • Will on February 13, 2012 at 13:23

      P.S. And as a Lutheran, of course, I do literally believe that the Son of God gives me His flesh and blood to eat and to drink, and with them eternal salvation. But we’re weird that way! 🙂



  4. Ray on February 12, 2012 at 21:24

    Jesus, as a metaphor, is stupid for a non-religious, atheist, or Christian. If you are non-religious, you don’t need a “wonderful” metaphor. If you are atheist, all metaphors are just chemical reactions in your brain that have no real meaning. If you are Christian, then Jesus as a metaphor makes you the biggest moron you know.

    • Richard Nikoley on February 12, 2012 at 21:32

      Ray, you clearly have not a clue what metaphor means.

      And I pity you for it.

      You imagine yourself free, but no. You’re not. You’re the one ideologically locked and by no means free to wonder or wander.

      Plus, you’re a fuckhead.



    • Ray on February 12, 2012 at 21:53

      No need for pity. I’m quite certain I know what metaphor is. Shall we each define what we believe the other means by “metaphor” to get a better understanding? I’m not trying to drag you into a conversation. I believe my point still stands up against the logical fallacies you attacked it with.



    • Richard Nikoley on February 12, 2012 at 22:06

      Ray:

      Don’t bother, please, because I have little time to waste.

      Let me be clear. I think you’re a fucking moron.

      Not because of what you posted, actually, but because i have an 8 year history of blogging as an atheist/anarchist.

      You just exposed yourself as stupid. Fucking stupid.



    • Dan on February 13, 2012 at 01:18

      As an atheist myself I find beauty in science and the natural world. You don’t need to look far to be astounded and impressed by how life is complicated yet simple at the same time. If you think atheists should think that all things are based on chemicals in the brain then you have only got down the simple part – funny that.

      I like your way of thinking Richard.



    • Richard Nikoley on February 13, 2012 at 20:00

      Ray:

      Ever looked at a map? It’s not the real thing.

      Metaphor.

      Ever “hit the nail on the head,” but didn’t, really?

      Metaphor.

      In essence, it’s metaphor that differentiates us from all other animals.

      And I realize I probably wasted that most basic of explanations. Peals before swine, as they say.



  5. Ray on February 12, 2012 at 22:21

    I’m glad we are clear that your disagreement of my statement that “Jesus is a wonderful metaphor” is stupid because:
    I’m a fucking moron, you are a higher authority, and I’m fucking stupid.

    • Richard Nikoley on February 13, 2012 at 00:14

      Ray, we’re not clear on anything. You blew in like a cheap whore, confident in your atheist/rational trappings. You left context at the door, and tha’s why you’re a bit stupid, from my perspective.



    • Dan on February 13, 2012 at 01:21

      “Jesus, as a metaphor, is stupid for a non-religious, atheist, or Christian”

      With this statement it sounds like you are the one been the higher authority. Who are you to tell Richard, or anyone else, how they should think as an atheist. Do you think everyone should share you beliefs…because the chemicals in my brain are telling me to disagree with you.



    • Dan on February 13, 2012 at 01:21

      Oh and ps – this was supposed to be a tribute to Whitney Houston so nice way to fuck that up big guy!



    • Joseph on February 13, 2012 at 19:45

      Ray, you are f***ing stupid because you assumed that atheists cannot experience awe or lead meaningful lives. Being a materialist does not automatically make one a nihilist or a philistine, any more than believing in God makes one charitable or empathetic. If your only contribution to the conversation is to piss in the face of your audience (building a straw effigy of him and lighting it on fire), then don’t be surprised when he responds in kind.



    • Richard Nikoley on February 13, 2012 at 20:20

      Joseph:

      What I have said for 10 years or so is that I’m a materialist, but I believe in free will, and if we don’t really have it, believing we have it is tantamount to having it (until we get knowledgeable enough that it can be deconstructed). What’s the difference between software too complex to understand that’s a free will simulation, and free will amongst the subjects of the evolutionary game? Interesting ponderance: does the potentially eventual scientific, biochemical discovery that we don’t really have free will usher in the next level of free will?



    • Joseph on February 14, 2012 at 08:35

      I like your approach, Richard. Personally, I believe in what I call “soft determinism.” The environment determines certain things for us (including internal factors that allow us to make decisions), and then we play the hand we are given. Skill in the game of life is learning to play your hand out without going bust (until you have to: eventually the grim reaper comes for all of us).

      Sometimes I say that I believe in will rather than free will. I can make certain choices (but not any choice at all: I cannot choose what my environment does not allow).



  6. Rhonda on February 13, 2012 at 00:00

    This was beautiful. You touched my heart.

    • Rhonda on February 13, 2012 at 00:01

      No, correction: This is beautiful. You touched my heart.



  7. marie courious on February 13, 2012 at 02:10

    Thank you, this helped (and I guess that is maybe one reason why that particular metaphor has been so successful over time).

  8. Trish on February 13, 2012 at 04:29

    On one of the many boards I frequent someone mentioned something I thought was quite true–that much like Michael Jackson and Amy Winehouse, Whitney Houston was denigrated as a crazy crackhead. But then she dies, and all of a sudden OMG WE LOST HER TOO SOON WHAT A GREAT TALENT I AM CRYING XOXOXO, and usually from the same people that called her a crazy crackhead Friday. Having lost my mother young myself I feel for Ms. Houston’s daughter, and I won’t deny she was a supremely talented singer even if her songs weren’t to my taste, but stay consistent, people. As the coroner allegedly said after John Belushi’s death, you see a great talent died too young, I see another junkie gone tits up. Johnny Cash knew, he was a junkie himself at one point but saved himself because in the end that’s the only one that can save you.

    • Richard Nikoley on February 13, 2012 at 07:49

      Good point, Trish. Fortunately, I always rooted for Whitney, never once ever engaged n denigration. Pretty much the same for Jackson, except for the bizarre behavior with kids. Whitehouse was off my radar until only recently. I have both her albums, now.



    • BabyGirl on February 13, 2012 at 10:27

      Trish, to say she was a crackhead at one time isn’t denigrating, it was just the truth. But I don’t think anyone here said that. But if they did, I’d be ok with it, because it was truth.

      Secondly, I see the value of the human being created in the image of God whether or not they are a crackhead or a Christian. It’s a shame any junkie dies, (to me,) before they get clean.

      You say Johnny Cash saved himself, but he’d be the first to tell you that it was his wife and his faith in Jesus Christ that drew him out of the clutches of the hell of drug abuse.

      Aside from that, her death is an epic human tragedy. She had all the best that most people think this life has to offer and yet her life turned into a train wreck.

      And that’s sad.



    • Sean on February 13, 2012 at 11:33

      I actually agree with you on this. Having spent some time in Hollywood as an aspiring musician, self-destructive behavior certainly isn’t an outlier. And seeing people with tons of talent never fulfill it because of these problems is really more of the norm than the exception.

      My problem with what I see as a double standard is that most people see junkies as icky, but swoop and moan when someone like Whitney or MJ or Heath Ledger bites the dust from drugs. It’s also often seen as an excuse to ramp up the War on Drugs. Why should I feel sadder for a self-destructive celebrity well past their prime who ODs or whatever than for a normal person who does the same? This is more about the cult of celebrity.

      I feel sadder about Jimmy Hendrix ODing in his prime than about Whitney. And the fact that she left a daughter, well, that just leaves me more contemptuous. Having kids is a very stabilizing influence, or at least it should be. You can’t get your shit together at 48, despite being rich and famous? Well I’m sorry about that but you fucked up, and you fucked up your kid also, nice going.



  9. John on February 13, 2012 at 06:24

    Richard, your blog is really beginning to suck and I am not sure why I even still have your RSS feed – this will be the last time I read your blog. You are an angry person and your use of crude language only exemplifies your lack of education and class. YOU have a problem with Jesus and you go out of your way to express your disdain for Christians. Do you honestly think that there are not many people smarter than you who are actually Christians? Do you think there are no scientist, biologists, or PHD’s who believe and practice Christianity? You have become annoyingly arrogant and narcissistic. You are acting like a typical angry atheist using a “nutrition and diet” blog to vent your frustration and anger. I am sure nobody cares that you are an atheist so maybe you should just turn this into an atheist blog where you rag Christians, Christianity and profane the name of Jesus.

    • Matt on February 13, 2012 at 06:44

      What’s truly fantastic is that you, as a Christian (apparently, unless you’re somehow just a pitifully sympathetic something-else) completely missed the point of this particular blog post. Someone well known died, little John. I thought you Christians were big on taking notice of that. Save your hypocritical judgment for a different place. You know, like when you’re at home alone with your computer and your hand and you feel like indulging in some self-flagellation afterwards.

      On the flip side, considering the circumstances, this is very sad news. Thanks, Richard, for the beautiful song in memory.



    • Richard Nikoley on February 13, 2012 at 07:58

      Or, hey, John, maybe I could just turn it into an actuall blog, where, you know, I blog about stuff that hits me in moments of time, for better or worse, but always the real thng and not something contrived to appeal to some segment of some niche I have n mind.

      Oh, wait, already did that.



    • BabyGirl on February 13, 2012 at 10:28

      Actually John, while Richard does have his rants, as a Christian poster here on occasion, he’s been polite to me.



    • Chris G on February 13, 2012 at 16:43

      John, I gotta say that as a fellow Christian, I find your attitude toward non-believers rather disturbing. The example of Jesus Christ & the Apostles in scripture is always respectful and compassionate. To put it another way, you can attract more bees with honey than with vinegar.



    • Joseph on February 13, 2012 at 19:49

      The only ragging in this particular thread that I have seen has been directed at professed Christians who get mad when people understand their god differently than they do. You might be amazed how many Christians view God as a beautiful metaphor. Or are you one of those Christians who damns to hell anyone who doesn’t agree with your particular idea of Jesus?



  10. spacebear on February 13, 2012 at 06:38

    Hey John, Jesus was a rapacious cock sucking whore who took the devils cock in his ass every night, and once told me his most arousing secret, he fucking loved it!!!

    • Mike Gruber on February 13, 2012 at 10:39

      You made all of this up. There is no God, there is no Devil, and the only Jesus I know is looking for work down at the Home Depot.



    • Blitzkrieg on February 13, 2012 at 11:01

      Given your knowledge of this you would either have to be Jesus or the Devil. As I don’t think Jesus would belittle himself by posting intimate knowledge of his sex life on an atheist blog you have to be the Devil. And one of the butt-burglaring sort. As you admit to fucking Jesus up the ass every night with him loving it, there had to be a big amount of real love involved in this relationship, otherwise Jesus wouldn’t have approved of him beeing used by you as just a sexy piece of ass.
      So I suppose after all you aren’t really the hard ass you want everybody to believe you are. You are a tender and affectionate butt-burglar and no wonder you are so pissed at god, when he let your beloved object of true gay-love be murdered.



  11. Blitzkrieg on February 13, 2012 at 11:27

    Hey Richard, I have to say you are really a strange kind of dog lover. You end up crying when a drug addicted and alcoholic crack fiend got what she had coming for a long time. Why? Because you bought a CD? Because one woman you never knew, like aproximately 3.5 billion other women on this planet, died and now you are so sad, booohoooo? You are a real hypocrite even a little bit disgusting.
    What about her daughter, who had to live with this pathetic alcoholic and drug addict? Can you cry for her? Because other than her mother she never got a chance to make a choice. And her mother shurely had every chance on this whole fucking world to make a different choice of what to do with her life.
    But alas, what to expect of a dog lover who doesn’t have children himself, than to cry for a total stranger whom he didn’t even know.
    I even know the cure for your deep booohooohooo sadness. Help some poor kids who starve to death somewhere, get beaten half to death by their alcoholic, drug addicted parents or were sexually tortured by degenerates. This will put your pussy whinig and oh-so-sad teardropping in some healthy perspective.

    • Richard Nikoley on February 13, 2012 at 12:41

      “Why? Because you bought a CD?”

      Uh, no. I’ve never owned any of her music.

      The real difference between you and I, “Blitzkrieg,” is that I’m not anonymous and you are. Moreover, I publish stuff about my personal life to hundreds of thousands of people. You don’t.

      Now, of course, I could criticize you for that…call you a little anonymous pussy too afraid to put himself out there [Note, last Friday evening in the comment section of Reddit r/paleo, I dealt with another anonymous little twerp by publishing my home address and phone number. One of the other commenters actually rang me up.]

      But I won’t do that, because I don’t think that just because I know about some micro aspect of your behavior that’s in evidence to me, means that I somehow know just everything about you.

      You armchair psychologists crack me up.

      What’s really the most funny, though, is your presumption that because I care about something you don’t, that I don’t care about other things you do.



    • Sean on February 13, 2012 at 12:52

      Richard, I’m honestly surprised you don’t have more of this crap, but this seems like pretty obvious trolling to me. I wouldn’t have any qualms about deleting it. I think responding is a mistake.



    • Richard Nikoley on February 13, 2012 at 13:22

      Sean:

      I didn’t see it as a troll because there was enough in it where he’s clearly familiar with me and the blog. Just the way I roll, man.



    • Sean on February 13, 2012 at 13:28

      Roll along, my friend ;).



    • Blitzkrieg on February 13, 2012 at 18:12

      In general I like you and your blog. Sometimes I feel the urge to comment and as you provide this service to your readers, I just felt free to do it.

      And btw. thanks for writing as I enjoy your blog and visit it every day. This may seem strange now but nothing is just black and white. Everything considered I think you are a good and honest guy.



    • Richard Nikoley on February 13, 2012 at 18:35

      “Blitzkrieg”

      Don”t go making me take back anything I wrote earlier.

      Here’s the deal. If I do this, there has to be something in it for me, which is why I do posts like I do, and sometimes it’s about baiting for comments and then I have fun with them.

      I don’t know the commenters, they don’t know me, and so I like to think that it’s simply a show for the reading audience.

      So, there you have it.

      I always rooted for Whitney, but I root for the millions out there who need some sense far more. I’ve been effective, but to continue to do so, I just simply have to have fun with all of this, and so I do, as best I can.



    • Blitzkrieg on February 14, 2012 at 10:27

      Thats two things I like about you, that you are not easily miffed and have a healthy dose of narcissism.



    • Blitzkrieg on February 13, 2012 at 17:54

      First you tell me how much of your personal life you publish openly on the interwebs. Then you call me armchair psychologist when I don’t even need to be one, because you let everybody read nearly everything about you on the interwebs. Further you seem to be of the opinion that you can read me like an open book although I am an “anonymous coward” who wrote about 10 sentences in the comments of your blog. Does this logic seem a bit strange to you, too?
      I didn’t even state anything about you concerning your psyche just wondered what strange kind of dog lover you are. And dog lover you are, aren’t you, as everybody knows who reads your blog regularly.
      Fact is, I know a great deal of a whole lot of details about you and your personal life and you don’t know the faintest shit about me. But kudos to you as it seems that you nonetheless “somehow know just everything about” me.
      And thanks for the self defense tip. The next time a nigger wants to rob me, I will too deal with him by publishing my home adress and phone number to him. I am sure my wife and kids will gladly accomodate him and his friends and if I am lucky maybe even some of his “hoodies” might ring me up! ( You see how utterly stupid your self perceived “bravery” sounds?)

      Richard, maybe it’s time you grew up.



    • Richard Nikoley on February 13, 2012 at 18:27

      “Further you seem to be of the opinion that you can read me like an open book although I am an “anonymous coward” who wrote about 10 sentences in the comments of your blog. Does this logic seem a bit strange to you, too?”

      Nope. I dealt with you hear. That issue is owned by you. Obviously. See:

      “Fact is, I know a great deal of a whole lot of details about you and your personal life and you don’t know the faintest shit about me.”

      So how stupid are you? You can’t even keep your feces consolidated in a single comment, much less a thread.

      “The next time a nigger wants to rob me…”

      I actually give a lot of credence to that word usage, provided there’s some context. I read the rest of your comment, an unfortunately, there was the slightest hint of one.

      I told you I bait guys like you, now and then.



    • Paul d on February 13, 2012 at 12:54

      Blitzkrieg, why is Richard a hypocrite? The problem I have with what you just wrote is that you have robbed a person of any humanity by labelling her a certain way and condemning her for being weak and self-centred blah blah. Richard blogged about his emotional reaction, and his pain. IMHO, that takes big balls. Anyone can find self-righteous anger inside themselves, and rant about it. Just look around you, Self righteous rage, dehumanisation and contempt is a bigger contributor to
      human misery than drugs little buddy. Admit it, you can’t handle vulnerability in yourself and others. Kudos Richard.



    • Richard Nikoley on February 13, 2012 at 13:25

      Paul:

      Thanks. In retrospect, I probably ought o have included something in the post along the lines that just as I used a religious song as a symbol, in many ways my real sorrow of it is not so much Whitney the person, but various wholesome things she represented in the past, that got squandered, and that in spite of having all resources and help at her disposal—the best the world has to offer, it just didn’t help.

      In the end, it’s sorrow over awful waste.



    • marie courious on February 13, 2012 at 17:16

      Richard, you were dead-on with this post and emotionally honest. Don’t let anyone trouble you, they really can’t get it, because as one of Chris Hutchens’ favorite poets said (I thought you, especially, might like this) :
      “But (theirs) the cold heart, and the murderous tongue,
      The wintry soul that hates to hear a song,
      The close-shut fist, the mean and measuring eye,
      And all the little poisoned ways of wrong”.
      – a description of ‘fuckheads’ from the 11th century ! some notions (even the bad ones) are immortal I guess 🙂 …and so yes, the metaphor is the only thing that matters.



    • Richard Nikoley on February 13, 2012 at 17:21

      Thank you, marie.

      There is no doubt in my mind that the late & great Hitch would get everything about this post, were he to read it.

      Here’s what Christians loath about Christopher Hitchens: he believed in, and had more soul than they’ll ever have. Moreover, he actually got to enjoy it in the only space in time you ever can.



    • marie courious on February 13, 2012 at 17:21

      “Christopher Hitchens” -sorry, my autofill subbed a friends name.



    • Blitzkrieg on February 13, 2012 at 17:19

      A hypocrite in a general sense. Sitting there, well fed on the best food a human can afford, drinking whiskey and shedding oh so sad tears because of Whitney, whom he doesn’t even know just seems this way to me.
      And whats this crap about labeling? Labeling is a normal process every normal human does in order to be able to cope with the complexities of life.
      And what vulnerability for fucks sake, when a total stranger dies? Even if it was Jesus reborn, if one didn’t know him personally one wouldn’t give a stinkin’ wind. Thats how us humans are. Otherwise we as a species couldn’t exist because we wouldn’t be able to stop crying for the millions of people who die every day. We would all die of endless boohooohoooo…



    • Richard Nikoley on February 13, 2012 at 17:35

      “Blitzkrieg”

      Thanks for exposing your shallowness, i.e., inability to regard anything except in the concrete.

      As already commented, that post wasn’t really about Whitney, per se, nor are any of my infrequent eulogies (Steve Jobs too) save perhaps for Hitch, which did need a level of concretization.

      I have another problem with you. I’m much smarter.

      Do you imagine that after 3,000 posts on this blog I’m not aware of what might happen in comments, and that sometimes, a post is bait?



    • Blitzkrieg on February 13, 2012 at 17:59

      You have a problem with me because you are much smarter? You obviously must be, because the notion of having a problem with somebody because I think myself smarter (than what, btw?) seems utterly moronic to me. My small brain just can deal with such higher logic.



    • Blitzkrieg on February 13, 2012 at 18:00

      can NOT deal, sorry for the misspelling.



    • Richard Nikoley on February 13, 2012 at 18:31

      “You have a problem with me because you are much smarter?”

      No, let me spell it out. The problem with a dumb guy is that they’re often times too dumb to know it, or delusional to the point where they can’t be blamed.

      You got baited here, fell for it, and you have not one single person in comments standing up for you.

      But you’re dumb, and stupid. I forgive you.



    • Blitzkrieg on February 14, 2012 at 02:42

      I owned you with arguments and logic and your super-punchy reply is that I am dumb and stupid. Did you by chance have some rethorical training? :-))
      Do you realize that the notion of baiting dumb and stupid people to comment on your blog hints at some deep rooted issues?



    • marie on February 13, 2012 at 20:13

      Yes, what IS this crap about labeling? “Blitzkrieg”, ehrlich? Sie sind anmabend! Was wissen Sie uber Die Deutsche Kriegsstärke ? Do you even know whereof you speak? In English, it is just ‘the Blitz” and refers to the London event. Different connotation entirely. Why use the broader German term, it sounds powerful, does it? Is that how you “cope with the complexities of life”, by identifying with the image of lightning-strike war devastation? What part is appealing, the lightning-strike or the devastation? Ach! and I suppose you are not well fed, no, you have huddled in bomb shelters or scavenged for food, or on the flip side, shot another human being in anger, so as to be able to claim such a violent label, otherwise it is Heuchelei, nicht wahr?



    • Richard Nikoley on February 13, 2012 at 20:28

      “Heuchelei, nicht wahr?”

      Hypocrisy, is it not?



    • marie on February 13, 2012 at 21:06

      Yah! Exactly. His whole construct, from the foreign name/label to the oh-so-tough no crying for strangers.



    • Blitzkrieg on February 14, 2012 at 02:27

      Blitzkrieg refers to the duration of a war not the amount of devastation. It was first used by the Third Reich Leadership to describe the “lightning-fast” strike on Poland at the Beginning of the war. The aim of this Strategy in general was to minimize ecoomic and human casualties on both sides.

      Oh, and I am German and even served in the german military. Von daher weiß ich zumindest ein bisschen etwas über die “Deutsche Kriegsstärke”. But honestly, who do you want to impress with your shitty German?



    • Blitzkrieg on February 14, 2012 at 05:35

      I saw movies on youtube showing the huge number of homeless people living in Detroit in tents on the sidewalk. There were kilometres of tents with whole families living there. I found that very sad although I didn’t feel the urge to cry. This is your reality in the USA as far as one can tell from watching youtube videos.

      Now a drug addicted starlet dies and Richy the dog-lover sheds oh so sad tears while his fellow country men suffer real tradegies in the hundreds of thousands. Thats what I mean by hypocrisy.

      Richy-boy said, me using the word “Nigger” tells him al lot about me. Now, english is my third language and I learned it to a great deal by watching US movies and shows. I have never been to any english speaking country. As coincidence has it, the word Nigger is excessively used in said movies and couriously the blacker the actors are the more excessively it is used .

      I find it really funny, that a proud American like Richy the dog-lover and ex-soldier thinks my usage of “Nigger” tells him anything about me. Because its a huge part of one of his country’s main export articles (entertainment) besides fast food and war. This gangster shit is so popular nowadays here in Germany that we even have turks and other minorities calling themselves “my nigger” and imitating the niggers from US Movies with crime and funny clothing and all the disgusting rest included.

      And it’s even twice as funny coming from someone who is a proud American and thus proud of a country which abolished slavery as one of the last countrys in the world. Didn’t the term Nigger originate as a derogatory used for black people held as slaves by white Americans just about a little more than hundred years ago? Uh, there we have it again, the hypocrisy, haven’t we?



    • marie on February 14, 2012 at 07:41

      Blitzkrieg, that was a reasonable clarification of the original meaning of Blitzkrieg, I was encouraged, and then came the “shitty German” comment. My grandmother would be crushed! As if you do not recognize it as colloquial, or know our ‘texting generation’ often drop the umlauts and use the visually similar “b” for β. What to do without the relevant keyboard or software…But then, why would I use High German in a casual exchange, to impress you? I thought to use it at all to relate to you, make a connection. Of course, I am a naturalized American and I suppose I have been contaminated with this idea that we can relate to strangers, not to mention our artists!, and even cry for their loss. No that’s not it, because of course that isn’t a particularly American trait. Just a human one.



    • Blitzkrieg on February 14, 2012 at 09:43

      Yeah, torturing people to death is also a human trait. Now this trait admittedly is rather evil while crying for poor Whitney while not even knowing her is rather and utterly stupid. This also being a human trait.

      The real shock to me is that someone like Richard, whom I regarded as a foul-mouthed, somewhat opinionated but down to the earth, honest and likeable guy pulled this bohooohooo bullshit. I should have known better when I saw a picture of the little rats he calls dogs. 🙂



    • marie on February 14, 2012 at 12:38

      O.k., you have me on the dogs 🙂 Mine are a collie, a spaniel, a mutt and a, well, pomeranian – hey, I have an excuse for that one, it resembles like my persian cat.
      But look, I think what you are talking about with the boohoohoo bullshit is not hypocrisy, which has the connotation of pretending (“shedding crocodile tears”). Instead, I think you got incensed by what you perceived as moral or ethical inconsistency? In the extreme, that would be called “moral bankruptcy”, like torturing people to death but also crying for your sick dog and being moved to tears by opera (or by an an emotionally tortured, dead, singer). If that’s so, the only question is whether someone is expressing conflicting traits. I don’t see any conflict here – for example, you can empathize with both the mother and the child, though in ‘knowing’ the mother more (yes, from afar, it doesn’t have to be in person) her pain and the sheer waste of her death may touch you more.
      Nor do I see how we can Judge pain. Who are we to say to someone ‘you have no Right to feel pain’ whether because we think they brought it on themselves or we think their life should be perfect or because they are not behaving like responsible adults. One hopes you never fall into the trap of addiction or struggle with someone who has – it starts so innocently, you see, a little more alcohol, a little stronger pain-killers/sleeping pills…and soon they are not enough because of the habituation of the receptors in the brain…hey, kinda like obesity’s insulin receptors and leptin receptors problem – before you know it you are in a vicious cycle, only this one is mind- and personality-altering.
      In the end though, empathy is simply about relating to another’s pain, not about relating to the causes for it. You also don’t have to know someone personally to relate to them, you are relating to what you’ve learned about them over the years. Is that the stupid part, constructing an image? – reality being the mind-based perception thing that it is, we construct images about each other all the time…..This also being a human trait 🙂



    • paul d on February 13, 2012 at 22:18

      Blitzkrieg,

      What does eating good food have to do with emotional reactions to Whitney Houston’s death in this context? A hypocrite, even in simplistic terms does not apply in this context. If Richard had a hate blog dedicated to Whitney Houston, and then lamented her death in a blog post like this, that would be hypocritical to me. As he pointed out, and forgive me Richard if I get this wrong, Whitney Houston symbolised something to him “wholesomeness”, and her passing was significant because it reminded him more broadly of the loss of this in our world.

      Now onto your points about labelling. Labelling is a normal human function (yup), and it is an intellectual function that can be used to avoid and or justify certain emotional reactions. For example, if I see a minority group that is different from me, I can label them in certain ways, and by doing so strip them of their humanity. Lets take addiction as an example. A mother who is addicted to crack, can be labelled as a crack whore, a selfish addict, a pathetic junkie etc or someone with a disease. Those labels such as crack whore serve a single purpose, they cast the person in a light that then makes them inferior to me. It also serves to create emotional detachment and or elicit and justify emotional experiences of contempt, disgust, hatred, rage etc that I may feel towards someone with an addiction. Having worked in addiction as a counsellor and support worker, those types of labels serve no value, and do little to enable any change to occur, if it will ever occur. It is tough to recover from an addiction!!!!

      To me, vulnerability is to experience and express my emotions and sit with anothers emotional pain without having to change it. If someone cries, I see that as strength, not weakness. Simple really. Without this capacity, we as a species could not exist my friend, as is evidenced by the atrocities committed on each other every day when there is no experience of emotions beyond hatred and rage etc towards others. The legacy of serial killers etc (who are abnormal) serve to illustrate the importance of de-personalising and dehumanising their victims to commit the atrocities they commit. The same in war. Labelling is normal, but underneath the way we label people and treat others is how our true nature is revealed.

      Paul D



    • Blitzkrieg on February 14, 2012 at 07:20

      Paul, this sounds like a lot of crap to me. Strength means pulling through shit when you want to quit. When you are truly tested. When the people who you love and who are dependend on you truly are in need of you and the burden gets so heavy that under all different circumstances you would have quit but you go on for the sake of them. That is strength. No one gives a fucking shit if you can cry or not.

      Crying is for pussys and children because it accomplishes nothing besides making your feel-sorry-for-himself-ass feel a little bit better momentarily. Thats, btw. the biological function of crying, its an emotional stress reliever for the cryer.

      My great-aunt was deported at the age of 18 to a russian concentration camp in siberia after WW II where she was raped, beaten and tortured and had to “rebuild” russia by breaking up rocks to smaller stones with a hammer for four years. She returned weighing 28 kg but at least she lived. I never saw her crying for anything. I image you can cry for so long until you realize it doesn’t do shit for you.

      Let’s take a drug addicted and alcoholic mother for example. This seems fitting in this case. What good does it to anyone if she is able to cry? Her children shure couldn’t give more of a shit. What is needed here is real strength in the form of pulling through addiction for the sake of her loved ones who are dependend on her because the rest of the world couldn’t care less about them. Of course you would find some hypocrite here and there who would shed a tear for her oh so sad and burdened life as a famous, beautiful millionaire singing star.

      Concerning your labeling theory I think you are totally off there, too. The labeling per se is not this emo shit you want it to appear to be. Labeling is the act of referencing oneself in context with the rest of the world. Its as elementary as breathing.

      The problem, as always, is with stupid people who oversimplify everything because their dumbness inhibits them from forming complex thoughts. The secret to successful labeling is, you mustn’t use ONE label. On the other hand sometimes it is necessary to protect yourself. I would argue that the more fearful and the more stupid someone is, the simpler and negative the labeling gets. There we have it, hatred and rage are born of stupidity and bad experiences. So the best thing we humans could do is educate our children and let them have good experiences.

      Your refernce to serial killers is also somewhat flawed, at least incomplete. Because there is no one archetypical serial killer. The psychopathic variant e.g., has no feelings of empathy at all thus doesn’t need to dehumanise.

      Your very last sentence again is not so surprising as I think it is the other way round. Our true nature is defined by how we label the world. Our labeling system is our true nature as it defines how we react to outside input of any kind.

      I for an example have two kids whom I love very much. I have the labeling system of a loving father and as such I first and foremost see her child as a victim of her mother’s weakness and addiction.
      Now, how could I look myself in the mirror if I would think “poor Whitney, what a tragedy she died so young”, when I myself would set my balls on fire with a dynamite bar sticking out of my cute little asshole if I would ever let my children suffer for my weakness.

      Richard the dog-lover of course can’t in any way understand what I feel when I read about another fucked-up, rich and famous asshole who sacrified the well being of her child to “cope with the enormous burden of being successful” because he has no children but dogs instead.



  12. marie courious on February 13, 2012 at 17:18

    “Hitchens” …I HATE autofill!

    • marie courious on February 13, 2012 at 21:31

      Any chance you can drop the above useless exclamation? – it belonged way further up within a thread when I realized my mistake. Also, you’ll be happy to know (I’m so proud! -not) I figured out I can avoid autofill by composing straight in entry box, not first in Note. Who woulda thunk! Now if only my vanity would allow me to do that and bear the inevitable english spelling mistakes…
      In any case, it is past midnight EST here, so I’ll leave you with this, mon ami, because “there is nothing new under the sun” and so a 1000-year old poet waxed atheistic to his love (but of course I had to choose this bit, it being Valentine’s now 🙂 :

      “To all of us the thought of heaven is dear—
      Why not be sure of it and make it here?
      No doubt there is a heaven yonder too,
      But ’tis so far away—and you are near.

      Men talk of heaven,—there is no heaven but here;
      Men talk of hell,—there is no hell but here;
      Men of hereafters talk, and future lives,—
      O love, there is no other life—but here.” ___from Omar Kayyam’s “Rubaiyat”.

      Which just about sums it all, I think!



    • Richard Nikoley on February 13, 2012 at 22:33

      I love that, marie.

      22 years ago, laying on a couch in Toulon, France, at the age of 29, I decided that this was my one and only life, no rehearsal, nothing more, ever, and that I ought to start acting like it.

      I think heaven may have passed me by already, though. I lived in a co-ed dorm in college. 🙂



    • marie on February 14, 2012 at 11:25

      🙂 🙂 !



  13. james mooney on February 13, 2012 at 21:13

    I think the most interesting thing you mentioned was the fact that humans are not evolved to exist on virtually unlimited resources…. totally agree. It seems we somehow self destruct, whether it be food, alcohol, drugs etc. very interesting.

    • Richard Nikoley on February 13, 2012 at 21:23

      Thank you kindly, James. Yea I like to blog about other stuff now and then, but because I myself am so wrapped up in all of this, even when i do have a side interest it’s pretty easy to toss in a paleo/evolutionary angle, so i can hopefully get away with it.



  14. Stacy Nikoley on February 14, 2012 at 02:45

    I totally enjoyed your post, and the memories brought up of our Papa, things after so many years we let slip by.

    I opened FB when I got out of bed (+12 hrs from CA in Dubai) and saw your “I always routed for Whitney” post. Opened up yahoo and saw the news. Pulled up Youtube, and had a bit of a cry myself as I browsed through some music.

    As I said later on, A heavenly voice, with real world demons.

  15. Alex Markov on February 14, 2012 at 08:50

    I remember when she was booed at the Soul Train music awards in 1989. That was a different audience that didn’t get that she was a bigger selling star and she was on the pop charts a lot. That irritated me a lot weeks after that. I wished that they were more supportive of the fact that she was a huge selling artist even going beyond the R&B and black music markets and breaking boundaries for female artists in music.

  16. Razwell on February 16, 2012 at 06:37

    What a terrible tragedy about Whitney Houston.

    So many of these celebrities take serveral drugs which are in the SAME class such as Xanax, Lorazepam, Valium. How in the world are these doctors giving them this? They MUST be doctor shopping. 3 or 4 Benzos ???

    Any doctor who is credible knows you do not give a patient 4 different drugs all in the same class.

    The story is always the same. Xanax type drugs- and a whole bunch of them – which is bad in itself, then mixed with alcohol. Hell, Xanax itself and nothing else mixed with alcohol is a potentially DEADLY mixture.

    Benzos are a type of drug you have to be EXCRUCIANTINGLY careful with and monitored extremely carefully. They are approprioate for a small set of people, but probably over prescribed.

    I am genuinely sorry to hear about Whitney Houston. She might have been using it right but mixing it with alcohol is so, so dangerous.

    She had a lot of talent unlike SO many pop singers today. Sad story. Anna Nicole, Heath Ledger, Michael Jackson.

    Prescription drugs can be every bot as dangerous as street drugs.

  17. Razwell on February 16, 2012 at 09:56

    Although nobody knows what happened yet, I heard several drugs of the same class were found with alcohol.

    Hearing the news got me teary eyed, too. It is SO difficult to accept when stuff like this happens in general to anybody younger. Things like this do not need to happen. I am so sorry for her family.

    Very nice tribute , Richard. It is nice to know there are people in this world who still care about their fellow human being, even if they do not personally know them.

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