Had the terrible, terrible, terrible, terrible misfortune of being on an exercise machine at the nearby gym as part one of Oprah‘s interview with Whitney Houston (Oprah: “The most powerful interview I’ve ever done!”) was shown on the TV.
Once upon a time, I didn’t mind Oprah. Once upon a time, I loved Whitney Houston.
A long …
… long …
… long …
… long …
Where to begin? From my vantage point, Oprah Winfrey and Whitney Houston represent the absolute worst of fame’s warping influence. I watched these two millionaire women fawn over one another and thought, “Where is the self-awareness here?” Whitney was Whitneyâ€”sad, pathetic diva pretending to ooze depth and thought with each answer. She paused. She flipped her hair. She pursed her lips and rubbed her chin. Oprah was Oprahâ€”an all-time terrible interviewer whose every question comes back to, well, Oprah and her take on the world of Oprah, via Oprah’s inner-Oprah.
For example …
Oprah: The very first time I had you on my show, however many years ago, I thought, “You are ‘the voice.'” … There was a time, I read, where you were actually thinking in this past seven yearsâ€”because you haven’t done an album since 2002â€”that you were thinking of, I read, going to an island and having a fruit stand?
Whitney: Yeah. … Growing organic fruit with my daughter on a little island on the beach and everything, living the simple life. You have to understand, I have been all around the world … and I’d done it all at that point in time, or I thought. However, I wasn’t remembering the gift that God had given me. I had totally put all that aside. And my daughter was growing up before my eyes, and I just wanted to grab hold of that. …
At that time in my life, I was going through such trauma. … I thought that was enough for me. I had the money. I had the cars. I had the house. Had the husband. Had the kid. And none of it was really that fulfilling. For a time, I was happy. I was happy, but I needed that joy. I needed my joy back. I needed that peace that passes all understanding.
And this beauty:
Oprah: It’s so interesting that you would say that because for years I have thought that, in many ways, the Whitney Houston that we have seen has been a creation of the media. That obviously your voice and your talent is what it is. But the gowns, the hair, that first video, all of that stuff was a creation.
Whitney: Yes. … I love to get dressed up and I love to do makeup and hair and stuff, but that was my performance. That was my entertainment.
Oprah: And then when you were expected to be that all the time?
Whitney: That was too much. … Too much to try to live up to. Too much to try to be, you know? And I wanted out at some point.
I think Bobby Brown is a turd. I mean, an all-time piece of rat excrement. But after listening to Oprah and Whitney slam the man for much of an hour, I actually started rooting for the any future New Edition reunion to succeed (for the record, is there anything sadder than a band website that hasn’t been updated in five years?). Here’s Whitneyâ€”a cigarette-smoking cocaine addict, on national TV slamming her ex-husband (and father of her daughter) in the name of CD promotion … and Oprah lapped up everything she said. Hell, the Opemeister didn’t even ask her about the now-famous 2000 incident at Jane magazine, as reported by People’s Jill Smolowe in this manner:
By the time Whitney Houston showed up for her photo shoot for the May cover of Jane magazine, she had kept staffers at the New York City-based monthly cooling their heels for four hours. “She was acting really strange,” says the magazine’s editor, Jane Pratt, who was at the shoot. “She was singing to herself. Then she would pretend to play the piano, like an air piano. Her eyes were very heavy-lidded.” Houston blamed her tardiness on a visit to the dentist to deal with a cracked tooth, but, says Pratt, “novocaine doesn’t make you act that way. Everyone there thought she was on something.”
No, Oprah just nodded, smiled, tossed softballs andâ€”every so oftenâ€”dabbed her tears. A pathetic showing for all.
PS: Just watched this video from Whitney’s long-ago past. More than anything, the whole thing is really sad. She was soooo talented, soooo breathtaking. Sad.