COLUMN: Missing the magic of pop culture

“Everyone loves these making-of’s/The story behind the scenes/The way we got that one cool shot/And what it all means.”
– “Commentary! The Musical” from “Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog” DVD

I was already jaded by 6.
I remember telling my mom one day that I’d learned the awful truth.”Princesses aren’t real,” I said glumly. “Neither are fairy godmothers.”
I’m not sure what happened or what was said to make me stop believing in everything I’d ever seen in a Disney movie, but sure enough, I stopped believing in anything remotely magical.
Thank goodness for my mama, because she told me that princesses were, in fact, real, and there was one named Diana. A few years before I was born, she married her very own real, live prince.
She showed me pictures of Princess Diana in her huge, gorgeous wedding gown, and all was right with the world again. My mom couldn’t show me a real fairy godmother, but I didn’t care. There was a real princess in the world, and I believed in magic again.
Magic was, as far as I saw, all around. Alf was in my living room once a week, I could travel with Dorothy to Oz and Cyndi Lauper could do anything, like wearing orange and yellow hair.
I found magic in pop culture then, and I’m sad to say I feel like I’ve lost that sense of magic – yet again – as I’ve gotten older.
Before I started my career as an entertainment journalist, I’d get pure butterflies every time I went to a concert or a movie. But after covering so many shows and seeing so many films, very little I attend – for work or for pleasure – gives me butterflies. I feel like I’ve seen “the man behind the curtain,” as the Wizard of Oz called himself, and it just doesn’t seem as bewitching as it once did.
I blame my job for that, partly, but also our incredibly nosy culture. Think about it. If a DVD comes out without endless director commentaries and making-of featurettes, it’s deemed a failure (as spoofed on the DVD release of “Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog”).
TV thrives on reality shows, where there isn’t such a thing as “behind-the-scenes,” because it’s all behind the scenes. You don’t have to wonder what your favorite star is doing right now – they’re probably Twittering from the set, the make-up chair or the recording studio.
Say what you will about Michael Jackson, but I believe he was one of the last truly magical entertainers. When I was a kid – and I was a kid when he was at the height of his fame – I thought he could do anything in the world.
He sang and danced, traveled the world, had his own chimp and amusement park rides, and he was cool enough to only need one glove. Not just any old glove, mind you – a sequined glove.
I feel like I did when I was 6. I need someone to show me proof, maybe not of a princess, but proof that there’s a little magic out there.
I’m the first to admit there are more important things happening in the world right now, but it’s amazing how far a little magic can go. At the very least, I’d like to find those butterflies again.
Contact Sheena Barnett at (662) 678-1580 or sheena.barnett@djournal.com.

Sheena Barnett/NEMS Daily Journal