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Vice Blog

The Brutality Report - Whatever The Hell It Is That Happened To Mickey Rourke's Face


I need to be clear on one point right off; actor Mickey Rourke should do whatever he wants with his own body. Those of you who have come to this page seeking some good old-fashioned celebrity Face Bashing have come to the wrong place. If Mickey Rourke paid a doctor to turn him into Mickey Rooney, or even Mickey Mouse, no one else on Earth would have the right to say one peep. There should be no controversy over this point. No matter what side of the political fence you fall on – pro-choice, states rights, birther, deather, mether – we all simply must agree that a man's face is his own property.


That said, Rourke probably did not choose his specific current appearance. He almost definitely did not approach his plastic surgeon and say, "You know, I've given the matter considerable thought, and I've decided that I want my face to look like a large vinyl purse in anaphylactic shock." It just sort of turned out that way, despite his best intentions and efforts.

In all the tabloid glee over celebrity face malfunctions, this crucial point has been lost: these people are victims, not perpetrators. Surely Carrot Top didn't intend to resemble a Dick Tracy villain, just as Michael Jackson never consciously intended to approximate an albino cave ghoul. Yes, they gambled with their faces and lost. But so what? Who among us, given enough cash, will be able to resist the urge to play Prometheus with our own features when we get older?

This means several things. One, if you make fun of Mickey Rourke for having a problematic face, you are a hypocrite and a monstrous cock. You know those people who walk down the street, laughing at burn victims and children with cleft palates? That's basically you. You have brought shame on your ancestors and disgrace to the Internet and I banish you from reading my column. Go.

Two, we need to be scientific about this. A few failed faces do not equal an indictment of all cosmetic enhancements. For all we know, for every one celebrity plastic surgery disaster there are ten secret success stories. Maybe Brad Pitt was born in '43 instead of '63. George Clooney perhaps does not actually look like George Clooney. Beyonce could have started life as a wattle-faced hunchback. We'll never know.

Three, Mickey Rourke's face blooper highlights the sad, brief stretch of human history we all currently occupy – an era in which people have only partial control over their own features. For most of humanity you aged and died and shut your yap about it. Depending on how far back in old timey-times you lived, you dropped dead from scurvy or weevil attack long before you even had time to sprout lines on your forehead. Fifty years from now, a few bleep-bloops on a PS19 will delete those lines before they have time to form.

That leaves the awful choice of our own era. Attempt to age with dignity, or take a gamble with the scalpel? Sure, you've got Mickey Rourke as a terrible warning. On the other hand, you've also got Mick Jagger, who has let his own face age "naturally" and now resembles a heap of rocks. Gaze deep. One of those faces is your future.

To hear about the brutality of inward swinging men's toilets stall doors, click here.