Jewish World Review May 7, 2002 / 25 Iyar, 5762
For those who aren't familiar with Ozzy, he's the lead character in "The Osbournes," a mega-hit "reality show" on MTV, with cameras stationed in the home to capture every move of the family's strange Beverly Hills existence. But his notoriety and super-stardom came in his days as lead singer of Black Sabbath, the band whose head-crushing volume, occult dabblings, and depressing lyrics defined acid rock in the 1970s and 80s, and inspired nearly every subsequent hard-rock act. Twenty, even ten years ago, conservatives where railing against ilk like Osbourne, who bragged that: "Why I'm still alive today, G-d only knows. I've had my stomach pumped more times...." (referring to the booze and LSD combos that he once ingested on a daily basis.) His music glorified even devil-worship, bemoaned overheated conservatives.
Although such criticism was largely generational and overwrought (the same alarm was expressed about Elvis and the Stones), the new-found adulation of Ozzy is far more ridiculous and misplaced. Sure, he can be an amusing fellow -- especially in his refusal to go gently into middle age. Beyond that, he's a burned-out rocker, who can't go 30 seconds without slurring the f-word in his barely comprehensible thick Birmingham (England) accent. Oh yes, and he got lucky with a TV show. Is this really a reason for the President of the United States and Drew Carey, the lead entertainer of the evening, to elevate Osbourne with multiple references in their remarks? Of course President Bush didn't know Osbourne before his joke-writer handed him Saturday's script, so the criticism might not be fair, but still.... Once again, we see the pitfalls of being out of touch with the culture -- when you try to look cool, you can look like a fool.
The 53-year-old, long greasy-haired Osbourne, escorted by a short, officious handler with sharp elbows, got up from his Fox News table no fewer than 8 times during the dinner. He apparently has kicked his drug habit, but looked dazed and confused, shuffling along the carpet and past my table, one leg dragging slightly behind the other. The packed tables stopped their conversations and watched him as he snaked through the crowded ballroom, seemingly oblivous to the stir he was causing. When the President ticked off some of his old songs, like "Sabbath, Bloody Sabbath," Osbourne was suddenly re-energized, and jumped on his chair screaming "I'm great!" The audience erupted in cheers.
Perhaps this is all part of the "new tone in Washington"?
05/01/02: Bush: "California here I come ... sort of"