JONAH MEETS OZZY: Or at least writes about him, on National Review Online. Here’s a sample:
His debauchery makes him pathetic, though endearingly so. “I don’t think his fans have any illusions,” Doc Coyle, lead guitarist of the metal band God Forbid, explained to the New York Times. “Everybody knows his brain is fried.” In a sense, MTV is paying some small penance for the damage it has done to the culture. For years the network glorified the rocker lifestyle without paying much heed to its consequences. For example, Madonna’s sluttiness was celebrated as if there were no downside to it. While the lady has the financial resources to compensate for her lifestyle (she brags, for instance, that she’s never changed her children’s diapers), no amount of money can unscramble your brain. Ozzy may be a sympathetic figure, but even a would-be rock star would hesitate to be in his shoes.
But while Ozzy is a useful cautionary tale against drug abuse, the success of The Osbournes should also teach a thing or two to the drug warriors. Drugs, like it or not, are part of the culture; law enforcement alone is inadequate to either their regulation or their eradication. Yes, cigarette smoking is on the wane, in part because of some draconian measures taken by an overzealous government. But smoking’s real defeat has come at the hands of a cultural transformation. Similarly, laughing at, and hence ridiculing, drug use is far more useful than one more Eliot Ness lecture about, say, the connection of pot to the war on terrorism.