By now, pointing out Bill O'Reilly's ridiculousness is like shooting goldfish in a bowl, but his latest comments on the tragic death of Whitney Houston bear addressing. On Monday night's O'Reilly Factor, the opinionated host used Houston's untimely demise as an excuse to do his scolding schoolmaster routine, saying drugs are bad for you, blah blah blah, the pro-legalization Tony Bennett's "grasp on reality is slipping," Singapore is great, etc.
O'Reilly's thoughts on Houston, however, were not as innocuous. He said:
"Whitney Houston wanted to kill herself. Nobody takes drugs for that long if they want to stay on the planet. She follows in the footsteps of Elvis, Janis Joplin, Michael Jackson, and scores of other entertainment figures. The hard truth is that some people will always want to destroy themselves, and there's nothing society can do about it."
What's off-putting about that is how declarative the tone is. Did Bill O'Reilly really have access to Whitney Houston's thoughts? Houston had a very public battle with addiction, squandering a nine-figure fortune, and, according to reports, was reduced to borrowing money from friends at the end. One can imagine the amount of suffering Houston endured as a result of her habits. Whether she died from a combination of Xanax and alcohol or not is beside the point. At this time, Houston's life should be both celebrated and mourned, not written off as a suicidal fiasco.
I believe Whitney Houston wanted to alleviate her suffering, not "destroy" herself. She had an eighteen-year-old daughter who she clearly loved, and I can't imagine Houston willfully abandoning her like that. Does anyone really believe O'Reilly when he says he "said a prayer for her last night?" That was on the teleprompter, right? Houston's funeral will be held on Saturday at the Baptist church in Newark, N.J. where she sang gospel as a young girl. May she rest in peace.