Thursday, February 23, 2012

Whitney Houston Death Photo Is No Surprise

A major controversy has erupted over the National Enquirer publishing a supposed death photo of Whitney Houston on the cover. Some people are upset because they believe that it is disrespectful to the dead to publicize such photos. However, so many people have a fascination with death and morbidity that even though they may agree that there is something wrong with publicizing the photo, they will look anyway.

RECOMMENDED BOOK: Remembering Whitney

This is why people rubberneck at car accidents. They don’t really want to see an injury or death, but they look anyway. This public fascination with death is why we Michael Jackson’s death photos can be found on the internet, why there was a public broadcasting of the dead bodies of Saddam Hussein’s adult children, why the documentaries The Faces of Death were so popular, why horror movies are popular, and why there was a clamoring for the release of Osama bin Laden’s death photos, the latter of which the U.S. government did not release.

But back to Whitney Houston and the National Enquirer. This was all so predictable. It is well known in psychology that past behavior is a great predictor of future behavior. In 1977, the National Enquirer posted a death photo of another famous singer, Elvis Presley. As you can see from the photo below, even the same exact catch phrase (“The Last Photo”) was used on the cover:


  1. There were no death photos on the web until the trial of Conrad Murray. David Walgren, state prosecutor, felt that the photo of Jackson alive and rehearsing on the night of June 24th, juxtaposed with a dead Jackson on the morning of June 25th, would help seal his case against Dr. Murray.

    The point I'm trying to make is that Jackson's family and estate ENSURED that there would be no "death photo" taken from a funeral home, burial, etc. It's sad that both Presley and Houston's families couldn't do the same thing for their loved ones.

    I do agree that human beings have a fascination with death. I happen to be one of them, and that's why I came here in the first place. Thanks for the blog.

  2. Yes, that is the exact photo I was referring to.Thanks for visiting.


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