Muammar Gadaffi’s recent appearance at the U.N. has sparked more rumors that the de facto leader of Libya may be suffering from a rare form of “Jacko” syndrome… named after the late singer Michael Jackson. It’s not actually a disease, but a mental affliction that causes an individual to emulate the King of Pop by altering one’s appearance to mimic Jackson, eventually resulting in a character that looks like an escapee from a carnival side-show.
In the case of Gadaffi, also referred as “Guide of the First of September Great Revolution of the Socialist People’s Libyan Arab Jamahiriya,” “Brotherly Leader and Guide of the Revolution,” or simply “Gadaffi Duck,” the change in his appearance was first noticed in the late ’70s as was the case with Jackson. Below is the evidence of the changes in the appearance of both through the years:
Michael Jackson (L) enjoying the success of his first hit as a solo performer, Ben, a song about a pet rat. A youthful Gadaffi (R) was in his “Pre-Accessorized” phase at this time, although he is sporting his best attempt at an Afro. Ironically, in later years, his appearance would take on a similar look to the rat that was the subject of Jackson’s song.
In the late 70s, disco was king, and both Jackson and Gadaffi were living it, although Jackson had the look down pat. While Jackson was singing Billie Jean, Gadaffi was going more for the John Travolta character in Saturday Night Fever. Unfortunately, Gaddafi lacked the charisma of Tony Manero and came across as more like Tony Manure. While both men were at their peak, neither had the good sense to stay with their look. They both seemed to operate on the philosophy of Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough. This would ultimately lead to ridicule for both of them.
With the end of Disco, both chose to go in the direction of the decidedly more macho look of the military. While Jackson turned to a Hollywood costume designer for his look, Gadaffi visited the Army/Navy surplus stores of several countries, buying up ribbons and awards along with various uniform components, winding up looking like a military leader without a country.
With the military look having run its course, the next step each chose was to make not-so-subtle changes to their face. In Jackson’s case, he had access to the finest plastic surgeons in the world. Sadly, Gadaffi had to settle for a Libyan surgeon whose only experience at plastic surgery was in turning a single-humped camel into a two-humper, as the results clearly showed. He tried to make up for it by going with even more outlandish outfits. Unlike Jackson, however, he didn’t have access to Tinseltown designers, so he had to settle for Omar the Tent-Maker.
The recent years have been unkind to both. While Jackson kept updating his face more often than Windows Vista, eventually his skull could only take so much and he had to go back to what was essentially the same nose he had as the Scarecrow in The Wiz. And by now, Gadaffi’s plastic surgeon/veterinarian, lacking the sophistication of western doctors, resorted to Bondo and Spackle to maintain Gadaffi’s aging face but to no avail, and today he bears a striking resemblance to… well, remember Jackson’s hit song I referred to earlier? Note: Neither photo above has been altered in appearance other than to fit the available space.
Since Jacko’s death in June, Gadaffi has been a sullen, sad dictator seemingly without inspiration. The depth of his depression, however, was not fully realized until his recent visit to the United Nations last week. After his speech, Gadaffi disappeared from all additional meetings and parties. However, Grand Rants has been able to confirm a sighting up him later in the day in Greenwich Village that illustrates just how far Gadaffi has fallen since Jackson’s passing. Sadly, the below photograph, to the best of my knowledge, has not been altered in any way either.
He was later seen wandering the streets of Soho London asking if anyone had Boy George’s phone number.