Tags: Ozzy | Deified | Many | Mortified | Drugs | Glorified?

Ozzy Deified, Many Mortified, Drugs Glorified?

Monday, 06 May 2002 12:00 AM

At the extreme risk of sounding like an old frump, I have to say that I was slightly sickened by what I witnessed at the White House Correspondents' Association Dinner Saturday night.

While these events are always a bizarre, forced collision of East Coast meets West, Washington meets Hollywood, with journos and pols agog by it all, this one took it all to a new level. Of course red flags popped up in the days preceding the dinner, when Washington was all atwitter that the Fox News Channel had "scored huge" by bagging former head-banger turned MTV star Ozzy Osbourne as its guest.

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, satanic trappings and depressing lyrics defined heavy metal in the 1970s and '80s, and inspired nearly every subsequent hard-rock act.

Twenty – even 10 – years ago, conservatives where railing against ilk like Osbourne, who bragged: "Why I'm still alive today, God 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 inspired devil worship, bemoaned cultural conservatives and concerned parents.

Although such criticism was largely generational and overwrought (the same alarm was expressed about Elvis and The Rolling 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, 30-something officious-looking handler with sharp elbows, got up from his CNN table no fewer than eight times during the dinner. If he wasn't drugged out, he looked like he was, shuffling along the carpet and past my table, one leg dragging slightly behind the other, eyes glassy. He seemed oblivious of the flashbulbs popping all around him.

Of course, when the president ticked off some of his old songs, like "Sabbath, Bloody Sabbath," Osbourne was suddenly energized and jumped on his chair, screaming "I'm great!" The audience erupted. A class act.

Perhaps this is all part of the "new tone in Washington"?

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At the extreme risk of sounding like an old frump, I have to say that I was slightly sickened by what I witnessed at the White House Correspondents' Association Dinner Saturday night. While these events are always a bizarre, forced collision of East Coast meets...
Ozzy,Deified,,Many,Mortified,,Drugs,Glorified?
511
2002-00-06
Monday, 06 May 2002 12:00 AM
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