The untimely death of the great Whitney Houston cannot but provoke intense sadness. Fame can be like sunlight through a magnifying glass whose burning pain sometimes only drugs and then death seem to relieve. It's a false relief but money can protect you from reality. I don't know what to say except that I came out to her in her heyday. "I Wanna Dance With Somebody" was my disco favorite back when I went out every weekend in my 20s, and it felt weirdly liberational – although "I Will Always Love You" seemed like total schlock to me.
And then you read one segment of Fox News viewers' comments and you feel, like Charles Johnson, physically ill.
Still: crack is wack. She told the truth. And may she find the peace now she rarely found on earth, and sing the national anthem like few others ever could. Somehow, that last gesture above, when she pays tribute to the troops back from war, as she sings the "home of the brave," always makes me shudder and tear up.