'National Enquirer' Whitney Houston Casket Photo Is What Some Fans Need

Whitney HoustonWhooo-eeee! The sanctimony that the National Enquirer's decision to print the photo of the late Whitney Houston lying in her casket has brought out is so thick, we're going to need a jackhammer to clear it away. America, let's cut the crap, shall we?

Seeing someone's dead body is exactly what open caskets are designed for! And before you start spinning me some story about your granny's open casket and how you wouldn't want it on the cover of a tabloid for people to ogle while they're buying their Fun-yuns and Natty Light, let me tell it to you straight. Your granny, God bless her awesome chocolate chip cookie-making heart, was not Whitney Houston.


So who was Whitney Houston? She was a celebrity who tragically died at just 48 years old. She was a celebrity whose gazillion fans sent her greatest hits album rocketing to the top of the charts last week when we all heard she was gone and wanted to sing along to "Where Do Broken Hearts Go" into our hairbrushes.

She was a celebrity whose funeral was broadcast on CNN and beamed into thousands of homes via the Internet. I have never watched your granny's funeral from the comfort of my favorite chair in my dining room while my 6-year-old played LEGOs in the adjoining room. But that's just what I did for Whitney Houston last weekend.

I was one of those fans who tuned in to say goodbye to a woman who shared her incredible voice with the world. Her family allowed me -- and thousands like me -- that chance to join our grief with theirs. They welcomed a news camera into the New Hope Baptist Church. They, not the general public, made the decision to acknowledge that Whitney's fans were sad and wanted closure too.

So I'm sorry folks, but I just can't summon the same outrage over the photo's release that so many of my fellow writers have. The Houston family knew their girl was being mourned, they invited other people into the process. And having grown up Catholic, let me tell you, the whole get a look at the dead body thing is a part of that process. For some, that's closure. For some it's a slightly twisted fascination -- but that's life.

Was the manner in which the National Enquirer got this photo a little shady? Yeah, maybe. Maybe not. We don't know enough about whatever back room deal went down. But now that it's there, fans looking at the photo of a dead Whitney Houston with her nickname in the satin lining of the casket isn't "sick" or "twisted." It's saying goodbye to a legend. It's admitting that death, in and of itself, is part of the cycle of life.

Spill -- do you go to the front of the room and take a peek inside the casket at funerals? Is this any different?


Image via asterix611/Flickr

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