Overstatement of the Decade

From Andrew Sullivan:

The untimely death of the great Whitney Houston cannot but provoke intense sadness.

No.

The deaths of more than 25,000 children in the Somalian famine and brutality cannot but provoke intense sadness.

The ongoing enslavement of 27 million people worldwide, many of them women and girls in sexual bondage, cannot but provoke intense sadness.

The bloody repression in Syria cannot but provoke intense sadness.

(They would also provoke intense anger, but Andrew’s statement isn’t limited to sadness).

Cue George Will, from 1997, on the reactions to Princess Diana’s death:

When it is the celebrity of the deceased that triggers behavior that gets identified as “grief” and “suffering,” what words remain to describe what occurs in, say, a pediatric oncology ward?

Enough. She had a great voice. She sang some really silly songs. She destroyed herself, with an assist from entertainment industry culture. That is all.

[Cross-posted at The Reality-Based Community]

Jonathan Zasloff

Jonathan Zasloff is a professor of law at the University of California, Los Angeles.