Send in the clowns

By MATT ASHARE  |  July 2, 2009

Yet there is one issue that's been overlooked in the wake of his public humiliation, and that's the allegation that he's slowly been changing his appearance over the years in order to look more "white." Given the evidence – lighter skin tone, a cleft chin, and that once broad Afro-American nose cut down to the kind of dainty, diminutive, upturned little nugget all those pretty little Lacoste-wearing WASPy girls seemed to have in junior high – it made a certain sense. But white-envy isn't Jacko's pathology – as he enters his fifth decade, it's clear that he's no race traitor. After all, he grew up in an era when white-music moguls had lost their hold on African-American stars who'd been their bread and butter since the jazz age. Black stars were coming into their own in the 70s, and there were just as many white as black performers getting screwed by the man.

No, Jackson's surgical procedures seem to have been aimed at allowing him to maintain the face of a child. Because what he had to deal with was not overt racism but allegations of questionable dealings among his own family and his parents when it came to managing his money. Add to that the wall of yes-men and yes-women that was erected around the Jackson Five and then the solo Michael Jackson and you have the makings of an adult who's always been treated like a child, and who'd rather spend his free time with the only people he can trust – children.

Most psychologists will hold that as wacko as Jacko may be, he doesn't fit the profile of a pedophile. No, his is a Peter Pan complex, and it's getting harder and harder to watch as he gets older and older and that facial stubble looks more and more fungal. Those children he invited over to romp around the playground he's built in his backyard are his friends, and that's sad. It's also potentially damaging, because children do need positive adult role models to foster healthy development, and Jackson doesn't qualify. If I had kids, I wouldn't want them spending their afternoons at the Jackson compound – not for fear of molestation but because he's a severe casualty of childhood pop stardom, with all the attending pathologies.

The pop universe is full of such victims, some of whom didn't even hit the big time until they were at least young adults. Two weekends ago, MTV gave us an amusing, in-depth look at one of the more notorious and successful rock-and-roll casualties currently working the system: Ozzy Osbourne. After spending a couple decades playing Antichrist, first as the leader of Black Sabbath and then as a successful solo artist in the '80s, Osbourne has ingested enough drugs and alcohol to make even simple acts like forming two- and three-syllable words difficult. It also appears he appears he can't construct a sentence without dropping half a dozen f-bombs. But that's all part of what makes The Osbournes, a reality based-based sitcom that takes you inside the home of Ozzy and his family, such a guilty pleasure. It amounts to a sort of a live-action Simpsons, with Ozzy as Homer in the role of the dumb but ultimately well-meaning dad; Sharon as Marge, in the role of the stern, well-bred, clear-spoken authority figure; the pair's older, goofy prodigal son with the questionable A&R job as Bart; and Kelly, the ambitious, amusing daughter with a budding musical career, as Lisa.

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