Friday, February 17, 2012

Mortal equivalence: Whitney Houston versus Gary Carter versus...?



How does society, as prompted by the media, measure the mortal equivalence between the deaths of two people?

In the first place don't try and find a definition for mortal equivalence because as far as I can tell I may actually be the coiner of the phrase until that fact is proven false.

Secondly, what I mean by this question of mortal equivalence starts with the premise that the death of Whitney Houston, while self-inflicted, is most certainly a tragedy.

It ends with the fact that this troubled singer was lionized in the same way that a head of state would be, and in a much greater way than that which is typically provided for a soldier who has made the ultimate sacrifice for the country..

The bottom-line as best as I can tell is that she was a great singer who made some wrong choices and ultimately met an untimely death.

But was she, as is being portrayed by the media, one of the greatest singers of all time and an icon for the ages? I'm not qualified to say and moreover that it is really not the point.

My actual point is this. Had the people not been queued by the media, would those interviewed on T.V. who have declared themselves mentally broken over this occurrence still have been so?

Did Whitney Houston represent an important public figure who had done great things for the global community in general, and her community where she grew up in Newark specifically, up until the time of her demise?

I can't say for sure but I would venture a guess that the answer to that question is no.

Yet Governor Christie of New Jersey apparently and incredibly disagrees as flags in the state will be flown at half-staff on Saturday (H/T Capitol Commentary). Is this action being taken by the Governor as a matter of true conviction, political pandering or a very poor political choice?

And finally how does this 24/7 coverage of Whitney Houston's death compare to that of another other historical figure such as Gary Carter who too has just died?

In other words, is there any mortal equivalence between the treatment of the two?

The untimely death of Gary Carter

He helped bring a World Series title to the once (and now presently) hapless New York Met's in 1986 through hard work and grit that ultimately landed him in the Hall of Fame.

In the process he helped bring joy to an entire city and the nickname "Kid" to himself!

He was diagnosed with a brain tumor last mMay and died yesterday at the age of 57.

There will be no internet presentation of his funeral and his death will not be major news in many other parts of the United States let alone around the world.

But he was a good guy who did good things and through no fault of his own died at 57.

Conclusion

At the end of the day there really is no such thing as mortal equivalence because no matter who dies that death is devastating to the people who loved them.

It may be 1 person or it may be 10,000,000 who care and are affected by the event but to those people that death is the most devastating and untimely one in the world.

The only place that choosing among deaths becomes relevant would of course be in the media. It's in the media you see where they pick and choose among events and select those spots where they believe they can generate maximum interest and that will become the optimum place to drive revenue. It's when money is on the line that deaths can be ranked!


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