Monday, February 13, 2012

Fallen to Earth, Again (UPDATED)

This morning it seems so perfect, so fitting. In Archonic America, where devolution is the ultimate virtue and everything that once made Americans proud and unique must first be defiled and then destroyed, it seems inevitable that Whitney Houston is taken off the boards.

I remember being completely hypnotized by Whitney's videos back in 1985. I had zero interest in that kind of music but I had immense interest in her. I was so smitten that I started telling my friends that she was some kind of signal, some kind of harbinger of some new, X-Men-like race that would emerge from the ashes of humanity. That she was singing these frothy pop songs to reach as many people as possible and trip this switch in their brains and kick off the New Age.

Whitney's decline was tragic but her rise was breathtaking, a moment that caught everyone's attention, whether they cared for her brand of slick R&B or not. That wasn't the point.

The point was that everyone stopped for a moment to bask in her lean, graceful beauty, her infectious, megawatt smile and her stunning vocal range that made you stop and listen, no matter what your musical taste.

In ancient times, emperors would build temples to her all across the world, and roses would be thrown at her feet wherever she walked. Even the humblest cobbler or beggar would think that surely this was a goddess come down to Earth; Hathor, Aphrodite, Inanna.

Whitney descends the spiral staircase in "Greatest Love of All" video

But this is the modern world, where even a goddess is reduced to a commodity. I'm not sure exactly what brought Whitney Houston back down to earth, but I'm sure the unrelenting pressure of superstardom had a lot to do with it, when your every move is scripted, recorded, and critiqued. And in America we put these people up on pedestals, shine the light of interrogation on them and then eat them alive when they flinch.

In that world, you are faced with an itinerary that creates a need for the stimulants that the sharks swimming around you are all too happy to provide. The rise of the superstar paralleled the rise of cocaine culture and the crushing schedules of in-demand stars like Houston made the lure of the leaf all that more inviting.

Whitney as Isis, in The Bodyguard

The flipside of stardom is how it all becomes a grinding monotony, how the business always takes the art away from you and how an artist ends up having to support a large and often parasitical corporation; people whose livelihoods rely on keeping the machine running, whether the muse has flown or not. It's an ugly, ugly business. "Evil" might not be too strong a word. And the drugs often become the artist's only escape from the devils.

And there's another narrative at work here, something spoken in whispers (or louder, later) for many years. I had heard from people on the New York music scene even before Whitney became a superstar that she was not straight, that she'd often be seen walking arm in arm in the Village with a woman who'd later work as her assistant. Whether she was gay or bisexual seemed to be a favorite subject of debate and she later married singer Bobby Brown, an act which seem to seriously dim her luster.

But given the toxic homophobia that's become nearly a religion in some quarters since the rise of Hip Hop, I think the pressures of staying in the closet could be yet another millstone that brought this goddess crashing down to the shitpile the rest of us slog through. In the 21st Century, a person's sexuality shouldn't even be an issue, but it is.* And it will continue to be as long as the harsh realities of the post-industrial economy leave a constant need to find untermenschen to feel superior to.

I wish I could leave you with some benediction here, some happy ending. But I don't see one. I see a woman who embodied the very best of us --in such a fashion as to perhaps be not of us-- dragged down below us and then destroyed. I see The Man Who Fell To Earth play out in real time before our eyes once again. Karen Carpenter redux.

I see yet another point put up on the Archons' scoreboard. I see an artist who people across the world could all agree was something special taken away from us. The only hope is that the work will live on, and that that signal continues to be broadcast until enough receivers get switched on.

PS: I should add that Whitney Houston came to my attention at the same point time I started obsessing on Max Ernst, who we discussed in the previous post (my tastes have always been pretty eclectic). A strange and kind of disturbing sync for me.

UPDATE: The Jackals feast on the Lioness' bones.
It was business as usual less than three hours after the sudden death of pop icon Whitney Houston at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Saturday, as hundreds of high-profile celebrities worked the room at the annual Clive Davis Grammy party.

But in a suite just four floors above, police were conducting an investigation into the death of the Grammy-winning singer. While Houston’s body remained in the room, her teen daughter stood outside fighting with authorities to see the body. This while a "crime lab" van stood out among the black limousines and SUVs escorting celebrities to and from the event.

In light of the stark contrast between the tragedy of her death and the celebration at the star-studded soiree, for those in attendance at the party, the backlash is burgeoning.

Kim Kardashian (whose ex-boyfriend Ray J was Houston's on and off again beau, and reportedly in the hotel trying to gain access to the room) was photographed smiling alongside the likes of Jane Fonda and Britney Spears, while Diana Ross and Barry Gordy hammed it up for the cameras. Stars like Ne-Yo, Kelly Rowland, Sir Richard Branson, Mary J. Blige and Jon Voight also attended.
I mean, it's perfect. The System destroyed a goddess and then partied atop her corpse. Take a good, long look at American culture, people. The cancer has subsumed the host. Research credit to SSFB member Chris Parker.

Paul Weston wrote: "Can't help feeling that this event is so near in time to the Madonna Superbowl "ceremony" that we are being invited to intuit a greater unity. FFS, if you had a dream that began with Isis Cleopatra Madonna on her throne and ended with Whitney dead underwater you'd know it was screaming meaning that needed to be understood but this actually happened. Come on Chris! Go for it!"

To which I responded: "Being invited is precisely the reason not to go for it." Where does it end up, after all? With Nikki Minaj's ridiculous performance and brainwashed dimwits tweeting that they'd "let Chris Brown beat them any day." And the meaning that I feel needs to be understood has already been spelled out in this piece.

*Yet another interesting lesson from the ancient world, ancient priestesses- who became the divas of their time in their roles as temple singers- were often forbidden to marry or to "know men." The Vestals were the most well-known of these, the direct parallel to modern nuns, but there are also the priestesses of Bast, well-known for their musical performances.

The priestesses of Inanna- goddess of music and dance- are another. Given the highly charged eroticism of their rites it's safe to assume these women were not celibate, even if forbidden to "know men." None of this impacted the role these women played in society or the adulation they received. Hard to imagine in these times when, as with religion, sexuality has become politics by proxy.

In the ancient world, gifts such as Whitney's would act as a signal that she was not meant for the kitchen and the nursery but to serve the people by using her talent to bring them closer to the gods. It wouldn't surprise me at all if the divas of the ancient world were predominantly lesbian.


  1. "...and it seemed to me that you lived your life like a candle in the wind.."- Much like Marilyn Monroe and many others Whitney became an icon and embodied so much for so many people. Though not a true fan, these past few years, through a mutual friend, I have come to appreciate Whitney (I even use her first name as if I was an intimate friend) and realize what her career has meant to many. I can only imagine Chris, what the pressure for her must have been, having already come from a mother of success (Cissy Houston, respected Gospel singer)and being the God daughter of Dione Warwark. I also had forgotten the rumors what Whitney might have been gay or at least bi-sexual. This particular blog makes me think of Syn Barret and the song "Welcome to the Machine" by Pink Floyd and of what the "STAR MAKERS" of Hollywood and the music industry can do to artists. I also think of Kurt Cobain and the pressures of the industry that also may have contributed to his sensing the need to end his life. I think of Amy Whinehouse. We can name so many. The early demise of such sparks of creativity and life, as gives me the theory as to why we mythologize certain stars like Jim Morrison or Tupac Shakur: we want to believe they escaped the machine and are living somewhere in the world in peace just creating.

  2. i wouldn't wish fame on anyone. kinda odd, i was watching this long video of Ian Mackaye talking to a class of music/business students at loyola university, when ms. houstons untimely demise became a hot story. now unfortunately, we don't all have his strength of charachter, but it was a nice contrast, and is definitely worth a watch whether a fan or not. vale whitney,caveat emptor.

  3. Fascinating analysis, as usual. I have also heard that she was gay, closeted her entire career.

    I can't help but see a similarity with her and Judy Garland, who died in the bathroom of a hotel at age 47.

  4. This brings me back to junior high, when I would scoff at any pop music, or anything unrelated to underground death metal. and then secretly go home and crank the Whitney in my bedroom. It was surprisingly upsetting to hear the news yesterday. She was a truly beautiful person, inside and out. RIP Whitney.

  5. Whitney Houston was not closeted. You heard her sing. Power, clarity and Tonal balance. Women don't sing like that without being beyond androgyne. It takes a strong body to be such an instrument. Notice how the vibrations often caused her lower jaw to waver? She sang larger than she was physically built to. But she did it. Given the power of the vibrations that moved through her body she would have broken down by 42-45 anyway. The physical and psychological cost as she sang stratospherically could not be avoided. What a brave soul. Dear sweet sister.

    All singers know their limit. She knew too.

  6. I was over at "Peace of the Pi" blog about a week ago,reading about Dragons,The Crow and 2012.

    And decided to get 2012 out on DVD,because I hadn't seen it before.
    I thought it was garbage,but I had some syncs that might be worth pursuing?
    I was,and still am,re-reading Whitley Strieber's "Communion" and I was listening to Roland Emmerich's commentary on the 2012 DVD.He mentioned that Wisconsin is mentioned 3 times in the film and has been asked what significance has Wisconsin got to do with anything.He fobbed it off by saying that Wisconsin just sounded exotic.I puzzled over it for a while then gave up and went back to reading "Communion" where Whitley tells of his first abduction memory on a train ride home coming from Madison, Wisconsin !?
    Emmerich wrote "The Day After Tomorrow" with Whitley,so he is no stranger to Strieber.
    Anyway there was a trailer on the 2012 DVD to "This Is It". Micheal Jackson's last concert rehearsal footage.I hadn't seen that before either,so I watched that on Saturday.All the time thinking much along the same lines as you have written here about Whitney,only Micheal's decline was through "legal" drugs,administered by "the show must go on" gang.
    My thoughts started going through the tragic lives of stars like Winehouse and Houston,and when I thought of Houston all I could hear in my head was the famous NASA catch-phrase,"Houston we have a problem!". Little did I know she would die the next day (Sunday...Aussie time).
    I started reading "Communion" because I had just read Whitley's "The Key". Where he meets a stranger/visitor in his hotel room on June 6th,1998.
    Funnily enough,Emmerich produced a TV show in 1997-98 called
    "The Visitor"

    "Adam MacArthur disappeared in the Bermuda Triangle 50 years ago. Now he has escaped and has come back to help steer Earth away from a path of destruction. He travels the U.S. helping the right people put their lives on track, all the while being pursued by government agents and the aliens that abducted him".

    Not to mention the parallels to "the Key" and "Dark City",where the 'key' player wake's up in a hotel room wandering what just happened the night before.
    "Dark City" came out in 1998 also.

    Emmerich's next film is called "Anti-Christ" and Proyas is currently filming "Paradise Lost" in Oz with "Limitless" star Bradley Cooper playing the role of Lucifer.He was going the play "The Crow" in the re-make,but this came up instead.

  7. My above comment came about from a screenshot I discovered in
    "Dragon:The Bruce Lee Story" where there is a doll lying behind the Brandon Lee character,that looks very much like a Joker/Crow doll lying dead against a mirrored glass sliding window/door (with the dark night outside).
    Plus if you look at the cushion behind Brandon's head.there appears to be a demonic looking "The Crow" type face staring at the back of hie head.
    But you be the judge -

    Remember;Brandon was still alive when this movie was competed and was probably working on "The Crow".

    "Dragon" was directed by Rob Cohen who also produced "The Wiz" starring Micheal Jackson as the ScareCROW and Diana Ross as Dorothy. He also produced Diana Ross's first movie "Mahogany"
    (you might want to take a look at that one,too)

    And speaking of Superbowl halftime shows,Diana Ross did the halftime show for Super Bowl XXX,in 1996.

    "Some weeks before Super Bowl XXX, it was found that some proxy servers were blocking the web site for the event. The reason: The game's Roman numeral (XXX) is usually associated with pornography."

    "A portion of this Super Bowl was "predicted" in the January 17, 1990 episode of another NBC series, Quantum Leap. At one point, in the episode titled, "All Americans," Al (Dean Stockwell) states that the Steelers were down by 3 points."

    Halftime show-
    Diana Ross performed during the halftime show, titled
    "Take Me Higher: A Celebration of 30 years of the Super Bowl".
    The show featured a number of her songs along with pyrotechnics, special effects and stadium card stunts. The show ended with Ross singing "Take Me Higher" from her 1995 album of the same name, and then she was taken from the field in a helicopter.

    Interestingly on the "This Is It" DVD on the special features you find out Micheal died before he could rehearse the "Dirty Diana" number which would have had a giant flaming bed with a pole dancer gyrating around the frame of the bed.

  8. I had the thought of her being "otherworldy" today too, Chris. Particularly while watching a clip of her Super Bowl performance from the early nineties:

    She seems so incredibly comfortable. Like she's a little kid, just doing what she loves and is good (understatement) at.

  9. Chris,
    I'd like to hear you take on this Superbowl halftime show.

    Complete with Isis banner being unfurled and hands spread crucifix style,while taking off in helicopter at the end.

    Diana Ross 1996 Super Bowl XXX

  10. Saw this and thought I'd share:

    Houston's memorable (vocal performance. gulf war. super patriotism going on) Super Bowl 25 performance happened on Jan. 27, 1991.

    On the same day (in 1984) Michael Jackson had his 'hair on fire' incident shooting the Pepsi commercial at the Shrine auditorium.

    And, on the same day in 1967, the Apollo 1 fire happened.

  11. Hello sir. I was touched by your piece. I'll admit something . Somehow after reading your update, I find myself agreeing with both you and Paul.

  12. So I guess Whitney's Super Bowl performance was lip-synced:

    Turns out they often are. The ritual must be perfect I guess. Goddammit, I've been duped again. No wonder she seemed so loosey goosey.

  13. Lip singing you say.... You just reminded me of the irony when people burned Milli Vanilli ALBUMS! The only thing that changed was the image, not the music.... Hmmm...

    'Buggles - Video killed the radio star 1979'

    BONUS - 'Try The McGurk Effect! - Is Seeing Believing? ("Bah" "Vah")'

  14. Sad irony, synchronicity, or a Elite ritual conspiracy....Last night's Glee an episode about Valintine's Day (EROS) had a performance tribute to Whitney Houston.

    Considering these shows are filmed 5-6 weeks prior to the air date this is very interesting indeed.

    Too me there are no coincidences.

  15. 'Jason And The Argonauts Hermes'

    PS My newest blog...

  16. I did not realized how much I looked up to Whitney Houston until I heard that she had died. I loved everything about her when I was a teenager. As I black women I was particularly struck by her. I am unbelievably sad about her death. Rest in Power Goddess.

  17. 2 that last comment, there is a lesson in what 2-Pac was saying in this poem, maybe you will understand.

    “The Rose That Grew From Concrete”
    It’s a dedication from Tupac to Vincent van Gogh.

    Starry Night Dedicated in Memory of Vincent van Gogh

    “A creative heart, obsessed with satisfying
    This dormant and uncaring society
    u have given them the stars at night
    and u have given them Bountiful Bouquets of Sunflowers
    But 4 u there is only contempt
    and though u pour yourself into that fame
    and present it so proudly
    this world could not accept your masterpieces
    from the heart

    So on that starry night
    u gave 2 us and
    u took away from us
    the one thing we never acknowledged
    your life “

    ~ Tupac Shakur