February 12th, 2012
04:06 PM ET

Letters to the President #1119: 'The death of a star'

Reporter's Note: I write to President Obama every day. I'm sure he must be tired of it.

Dear Mr. President,

I imagine you were just as shocked and surprised as the rest of us over the death of Whitney Houston. To see such a young person with so much talent lost like that, it really does seem the essence of tragedy.

Can't say that I was a huge fan. I liked her singing and her overall star quality was simply unmistakeable, it's just that I never bought her music or explored it beyond the hits. To be frank, I really didn't know much about her beyond the magazine covers, and yet I am aware of her loss.

That's one of the strange things about celebrities. We all have sense of them, even if we don't follow them closely; we imagine that we understand their personalities, their challenges, their successes and failures. And I suspect we're wrong about almost all of it, because beyond the myths, they end up being people with sometimes extraorindary lives, but perfectly ordinary...and sad times...just as we all come to know.


soundoff (3 Responses)
  1. Allison

    That is very true. A lot of (in)famous people have died over the past decade, a lot of them icons I grew up hearing about even if I didn't discover them until adulthood. I'm not a celebrity-a-holic. I have had a select few celebrities throughout my life, who helped me through the roughest parts of my life. I can only go by what is stated in credible sources, and for that, one needs personal discretion. How can one personally know one they have never met? They can't. Sometimes we wind up not knowing the people we do know.

    February 14, 2012 at 3:41 am |
  2. victoria davis

    Shocked and Surprised, really? What kind of messages are young people taking away from CNN's news coverage. She was an addict who had self-destructed years ago. It is sad that her life was short, so was my sisters and many others. Take time to educate your viewers about having short lives from self-destrucive life styles. May-be you could save a life.

    February 12, 2012 at 6:57 pm |
    • Allison

      Yes. Why in a tragic circumstance is it always about the teddy bears and the eulogizing? The media would be doing a great community service by pointing out what people can learn from a particular tragedy so as to save as many others from not following.

      February 14, 2012 at 3:44 am |