Flags In Haiku: Half-Staff For Whitney Is Wrong

Flags In Haiku: Half-Staff For Whitney Is Wrong

Governor Christie
Orders flags flown at half-staff
For Whitney Houston


Pretty much every news outlet is reporting what I heard on television this morning …

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie says he will order flags flown at half-staff at state government buildings Saturday in memory of Whitney Houston.

The governor says Houston was a “cultural icon” who belongs in the same category in New Jersey music history as Frank Sinatra, Count Basie and Bruce Springsteen.

He says her accomplishments were “a great source of pride for the people of the state.”

Her funeral will be held the same day in her birthplace of Newark.


This doesn’t seem right
It’s just not appropriate
For entertainers


I mean no disrespect to Whitney Houston. An incredibly talented singer, she died tragically young after years of battling the demons that often accompany fame. My disagreement with Governor Christie’s decision isn’t about politics, and it isn’t about any of the singer’s behavior that has been the subject of hate filled comments on the internet or the speculation about the circumstances surrounding her death.

The issue is whether flying a flag at half-staff to commemorate someone’s death should be an honor reserved for government officials or public servants like police officers, firefighters or members of the military who die in the line of duty. I think it should.

While reading about Governor Christie’s order, I learned that he had issued a similar order last year after the death of E Street Band saxophone player Clarence Clemons. Because I don’t monitor when flags are flown at half-staff in New Jersey, I wasn’t aware of the honor given to Clemons. But it wasn’t appropriate then for Clarence and and it’s not appropriate now for Whitney.

There are many ways the governor could recognize the career and accomplishments of entertainers like Houston and Clemons. Flying flags at half-staff is not one of them.


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  • Ridiculous. That's what I think.

  • If New Jersey wants
    To honor Whitney Houston.
    At half-mast, so what?

  • It seem approprate for the garden state to honor a crackhead.

  • One says that I'm right
    One says he doesn't much care
    The third? I'm not sure.

    Yes, Teppi, ridiculous is exactly how I felt. It's certainly not earth shattering - and I certainly don't have a problem with New Jersey honoring a native who became a star. Christie is right that Houston's accomplished were a source of pride to New Jerseyites (New Jerseyans, New Jerseyers?) ... (Did I just say Chris Christie is right? ... oy!)

    But, in response to what Aqunas Wired wrote (nice haiku BTW) , I'd say the "so what" is that (although there's a touch of flag worship in this which goes against my better liberal judgment) the flag is a special kind of national symbol and using it to honor someone's death should be reserved for public servants.

    As far as SFToby is concerned, I think you owe apologies to both Whitney Houston and the Garden State.

  • Why should I apologize for Houston being addicted for years to crack cocaine? Why should I apologize to New Jersey for electing Christie?

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