Like a lot of people, Michael Jackson is discovering that sometimes, no matter how much money you have, the clock can’t be turned back.
DR. GOODSTEIN: “There’s a very overly-operated appearance with destruction of a lot of the normal anatomical contours that make human beauty what it is.”
In a photo taken last November, during a court appearance in California, Jackson’s skin looks close to white and his nose —”
Mankiewicz: “Mr. Jackson appeared in court recently, and there was clearly something strange going on with his nose. Can you, as a cosmetic surgeon, tell what that is?”
Dr. Goodstein: “What’s happened here is that he’s had so many operations on the tissues of his nose that the blood supply is inadequate, and when blood supply is inadequate, tissues break down. So basically that breakdown has led to an opening in the tip of his nose.”
Mankiewicz: “That sounds like it would be painful.”
Dr. Goodstein: “It’s not as painful as it is deforming, and very difficult to correct.”
After the photo came out, Dr. Steven Hoefflin, the plastic surgeon who worked on Jackson through 1998 issued a statement saying he had advised the singer not to get any more plastic surgery. He also publicly disavowed any of his famous client’s recent work.
You get the feeling that Jackson’s record label might like to do the same thing. Last summer, Jackson’s nose was out of joint over the disappointing sales of his latest album, “Invincible,” which was not.
The reclusive performer took to the streets, trying hard to bite the hand that feeds him, Sony Music and its president Tommy Mottola.
“He is a mean, he is a racist and he is very very very devilish,” Jackson said.
It was a charge so outlandish that almost no one in the music world would go along with it.
Music writer Toure says Jackson seems to have forgotten that Sony spent $30 million promoting an album which sold only two million copies.
“America didn’t want the album, not because of Sony’s racism, because the album sucked,” says Toure. “He, so he offered a widget to the public, and the public did not want his crappy widget. He needs to look at the man in the mirror for that one.”
But is the public fight with Sony about something other than racism? With both his CD sales and his finances flagging, was Jackson seeking to anger Sony so much that the label would pay him to leave?
It’s a strange course charted by an unusual performer, who, only 20 years ago, was on top of the world. Motown was celebrating its 25th anniversary. Jackson was at the peak of his talent and ability, moonwalking for the first time on national TV.
Michael Jackson’s talent will, without a doubt, be a huge part of music history. But it’s likely his eccentric, self-destructive behavior will be part of the record as well.
Mankiewicz: “You feel sorry for him?”
Toure: “I don’t feel sorry for him because he’s made such a joke out of himself, and has made himself a poster child for black self-hatred the way he savaged his face. It’s a national embarrassment.”
“If you ask me what the next chapter in the Michael Jackson book is, it’s not gonna be good,” says Nick Maier. “It’s gonna be ugly. The only thing steeper than his rise was his fall. Which is why we’re so fascinated by this Hollywood train wreck.”
“Michael is under tremendous pressure from people like yourself,” says Donald Trump. “But I think Michael Jackson will be fine.”
But as Trump points out, and as the you’ve seen over the last weeks, Jackson apparently has no one around him to tell him when he’s walking on thin ice.
“I asked him, ‘Michael, are you a lonely human being?’” says Uri Geller. “And there was a pause, and he said, ‘You know, Uri, I’m very lonely.’”
If you recall, another resident of a place called Neverland was all alone at the end of his story too. Everyone else grew up, while Peter Pan remained a boy forever. The difference is that Peter Pan is fiction. But Michael Jackson can write the last lines to his story of fantasy and reality, and what happens when they collide.