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Saturday, April 13, 2024

EDITORIAL: Remembering When Celebrities Had Mystique

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Back in the day, we used to watch ⁤our stars from​ a comfortable distance, be it films,‌ sports, music, or politics. They ⁤were glorified, but there was a special something about them. Call it intrigue, call it aura. A good way‍ to name it? ⁢Mystique. Now,⁣ I ⁢reckon that‍ term ⁣might⁢ seem⁤ foreign to many ⁤millennial minds today, born in a time of 24/7 Kardashian coverage and Insta-famous influencers. Oh, how the mystique has fallen.

In my humble,‌ 50-year lodgings in Schenectady, New York,​ there was a prime time when ‍celebrities were revered figures. Their lives, while glamorous and more exciting than our everyday ‍routine,​ weren’t quite ⁤open for piñata-style whacking that‌ is common these days.⁣ They weren’t content ⁢fodder for the ravenous, often-mean beast that social media has become.

Remember Cary Grant, with ‌his‌ perfect⁣ diction ‍and polished looks?⁢ Or Grace Kelly, the epitome of⁤ charm ⁤and‍ beauty, her elegance only intensified by being kept at a respectful distance? What made these stars so magnetic was the fact that they remained ‘up there’ while we ‘down here’ could only wonder,‌ project and‍ speculate. You ‍wanted ⁢to see more of ⁢James Dean? You’d wait for his next big release. You yearned for Audrey Hepburn’s ⁤style? You’d look forward to the new issue of Vogue. And Prince’s groundbreaking sound? You ⁢would have to catch him on MTV, or better yet, in ​concert.

Fast-forward to ‍the present day. That delicious anticipation,​ the respect-borne distance between celebs⁢ and fans, has been replaced ​with the ⁣grossly ‌overshared⁢ lives of the rich and famous. Nowadays, we seem privy to‍ each⁣ sigh, burp and spat spat out by our ‌celebs. Want⁢ to‌ see Kim Kardashian’s breakfast? Check‍ out her Instagram stories. Fancy a dose of Drake’s new⁤ bling? It’s all⁤ over Twitter. Looking for a minute-by-minute ‌update on Bieber’s latest feud? Count on TMZ for the exclusive.

Don’t get me‍ wrong.⁣ I​ much enjoy knowing ‌that ​my Boston Red Sox heroes also⁣ favor ‍a cold brew after a grueling ‍game. Or that Meryl Streep, admired globally, also‌ suffers through New England winters like⁢ myself, ​batting down frozen pipes. It makes them relatable, human. But the ⁢line​ between their world and ours‍ shouldn’t be so blurred that⁤ they fade into our mundane ⁤populace, becoming occupied by the‍ same trivialities​ that consume ⁤us ​all.

Why, I ​remember the thrill as ‌a child, standing outside the ⁣Proctor’s Theatre ‍in​ downtown ⁤Schenectady, carefully clutching my homemade sign, hoping to catch ⁢a glimpse of the ‍Beatles. ‍How my heart pounded when Paul McCartney’s car rode by, windows up, ⁢the Fab Four’s faces ‌barely discernible. It was mystery ⁤that⁤ sparked my love for music, the thrill⁣ of the inaccessible. ⁣Then, when ⁤they played their upbeat tunes, it felt like the heavens opened up as ⁤we were given⁤ a rare share of their world.

Compare this with today’s pop⁤ idols who Tweet every thought, trivial or pivotal, leaving nothing up⁤ to imagination. It’s like‌ watching⁢ a magic trick⁢ with the magician explaining each‍ step. Where’s the magic⁤ when you’ve seen behind the curtain?

I would argue ⁣that this constant exposure, ‍while feeding curiosity, does the stars themselves a disservice. It’s ⁣an irony I’ve noticed⁣ at my quiet gazebo⁤ in Schenectady’s Central Park. Ducks,‍ at first wary of humans, over time⁢ grow⁣ accustomed to ⁣the ‍constant feeding.​ They cease their quest for food, lazily waiting for their next‌ bread crumb.

Similarly, ⁣celebrities are losing the motivation to enthrall us with their ⁢true‌ talents – their ⁣acting, athletic prowess, musical genius. They are⁢ cushioned by ‍their Instagram likes, reassured by their Google trends, supplemented by their Twitter ⁣followers. ⁤Their artistry, their narrative – veritably their‌ mystique – is swallowed by⁤ this noise.

Back in Schenectady, we see⁣ stars ‍on clear nights. They shimmer⁢ from afar, ⁣beautiful‌ and untouchable. And that’s how our stars​ should be. Not in⁣ our backyards, but up there, twinkling, leaving us​ in awe and wonder, perpetuating the ​thrill that once was. The thrill of mystique. That, I submit, we should remember.

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Brian McCarthy
Brian McCarthy
I'm Brian McCarthy! At your service to offer traditionally informed perspective on today's issues. Some call it out of touch; I call it time-honored wisdom.
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