Magic is gone. I am not talking about the David Blaine slight of hand crap they try to fool you with on television.
The TV shows we watched just a few years ago where the reporter tried to prove the existence of “Nessie” and “Bigfoot” have now turned to shows where the same reporter (or a reasonable facsimile) are trying to show that the old “proof” was false.
Today everyone has a personal video camera pointed at something all the time, and nothing happens anymore. There are magicians on television showing how their tricks are accomplished. All the imagination in the world exists in the minds of those lucky few in Hollywood who can afford to put fantasy on film, and even they tend to rely on stories written ages ago. I want something real to grasp onto and keep in my heart before adulthood eats it whole…
There is a sadness as you watch a child eat their breakfast cereal which is cut into the shape of whatever smart-assed cartoon hero kids are clinging to this week, but tasting the same as it did last week, month, and year. You wonder how a person with a bowl full of sugar in a rainbow of colors reading the comics page of the newspaper on a sunny Saturday morning could not be smiling from ear to ear. How a kid could ride a three hundred dollar bike or drive a twenty thousand dollar car to a school where all of his or her peers are trying so hard to rebel against the parental oppression of conformity that they all look like the exact same pop star from MTV2, BET, or the latest ‘teen drama’ on the sickest TV channel.
They are trying desperately to find something magical. I will get down off of my soapbox in a moment but I want to present some ideas as to why the magic is gone.
It is a high probability that commercialism and free enterprise have killed myth and legend by presenting it all the time, or overtaking it. Or by putting so many faces to it that you can’t hardly clear your mind to use your own imagination. I think if you go back to the days when stories were handed down by word of mouth or written word, you would find people were more superstitious, evil and good were in pure form, and things were substantially funnier, scarier, and more touching than they are today. Now we know that a serial killer looks like anyone else. We have all seen the old woman on the news saying, “He was such a nice boy...” as the coroner’s office wheels out the ninth and tenth bodies from the crawlspace of a suburban house in the background. They don’t all have a crazed pair of black eyes, wild hair, and a swastika on their forehead. Evil is not obvious, nor is good. We are more interested in a President’s infidelities or whether he smoked a doob in highschool. Things that have little or nothing to do with his job performance (until it is all anyone will let him talk about) than we are in his actual administration's performance. We would rather think poorly of him because his daughter is an alcoholic than be sympathetic because his daughter is an alcoholic. Our leader cannot be human. They can't be real people, they are on television!
We are shocked when a beloved celebrity overdoses on drugs, gets caught stealing, has an affair, or kills someone, and we should be… these are terrible things. But we now have a much lower standard by which people are judged. Psychologists make criminals less criminal. TV cop dramas make violence easily accessible and the news makes rare occurrences of real violence seem like commonplace activity. To make things worse, reporters like to dig up dirt on celebrities of old, who’s lives were untarnished until their kid wrote a book about how they liked to take home-videos of sex parties, and how they were linked with the mob. They are not quite as awe inspiring or amazing anymore. Simply people who make mistakes.
Today you can be famous for being lazy and worthless because your dad owns a hotel... or because you like to get kicked in the balls on YouTube.
This is why kids can't have real adventures anymore. They have the internet. They can find out how the ‘special effects’ for that really fantastic science fiction movie were done before they even see the damn thing. Hell, you can occasionally watch the movie before it comes out in theatres. At least we still have books, even if you download them early, you still have to read them and use your imagination. Herein lies the problem. Maybe technology is bringing about less spectacle than it advertises. What’s the point of the glamour and glitz and whiz-bang speed if no one gives a shit? Maybe in all the haste of building the information superhighway, we forgot to check out some of the back roads.
There may still be some real magic left down some of them…