So, as anyone with a head on their shoulders is now aware; Whitney Houston has died. After the news broke, the inevitable happened. The significance of her death was overshadowed by the onslaught of the bad-taste death jokes that followed on Twitter. However this time, the small group of people protesting against the jokes made over a celebrity’s death, seem to have actually amassed greater numbers than those of the joke tellers themselves. Whitney Houston seems to have been the breaking point. Whereas Amy Winehouse and Steve Jobs were met with a plethora of bad-tasters upon their respective passings, the outrage that these one innocent jokes generated has become more powerful than ever before.
When we all first settled into Twitter, these jokes were that rare shock that lay amidst a sea of R.I.P.’s. However, with the speed and kinetic nature of the modern internet community, the entire practice quickly got out of hand, and before long, these jokes became a tedious competition of who could think of the most offensive and disrespectful comment one could make about the death of a someone has been ill, troubled, struggling with drugs or suddenly killed.
The outrage seems to have won out this time, and I think Whitney Houston may have, in her passing, paved the way for the end of celebrity death jokes. Not that the day will come anytime soon of course, but perhaps the end has at least begun.