Reactions To The Deaths Of Adam Yauch And Whitney Houston Show Us Who We Are As a Society
When Yauch died, there were also written tributes and an outpouring of support, but in a much different manner. The sadness was the same, but the tributes and all of the other extracurricular activity have been kept to a minimum. In his final days, the only news regarding his health was his surprising no-show at the Beasties' Rock N Roll Hall of Fame Induction. That was a hint that not all was well, but it was kept so under-the-radar his death was just as much of a shock as Houston's sudden overdose.
A great humanitarian who was deeply involved with many social issues including the Tibetan movement, women's rights, racism and support for the victims of 9/11, Yauch quietly went about his business, getting involved with causes because it was the right thing to do. He used his celebrity to help people, and the public rarely heard stories about his good deeds outside of the Tibetan Freedom Concerts he put on in the late '90s. That was what made Yauch such a revered figure. He was willing to help others without worrying about seeing his name in big lights.
Both Houston and Yauch impacted plenty of people. And, in a way, they both received fitting tributes: one's was extravagant; the other's, less so. We can't help but see the reactions to both of their deaths as symbols of who we are as a society -- which is to say we appreciate and celebrate the circus of a star with a sad descent into reality television-like drama and sensationalism as opposed to an understated, yet important figure who impacted the mainstream in ways we'll probably never fully realize.