I read a Newsday article yesterday in my local newspaper about the "All New Mickey Mouse Club" television show that ran from 1989-1996. The article highlighted how Matt Casella cast people like Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake, Christina Aguilera, Keri Russell, and Ryan Gosling for the show. I was especially drawn to what Casella said about Gosling:
"I found Ryan in Montreal," Casella said. "His singing and dancing were good, but just talking to Ryan, he was such a nice kid. I had him do a comedy scene, and his timing was perfect. It's ironic, since he's known as a great indie actor. He has 'it,' that special something."
The thing about having "it" is--it's subjective. All of us love the music we love, and the movies we love, and the books we love, because they have "it." Most even wait for marriage until they see "it" in a prospective spouse. It can be a sparkle in the eye, a tuck of a strand of hair behind an ear, or an ability to be in the moment. But I think it's deeper than that.
I think the "it" quality is a connection between two human beings. We desperately want to be understood and when we find someone who does, we grasp on. Some people love Bruce Springsteen because of his perceived ability to identify with the common man. Listen to what Stephen Metcalf said about him in an article on the Slate.com website:
"On the cover of Darkness, he looks strangely like the sallower cousin of Pacino's Sonny Wortzik, the already quite sallow anti-hero of Dog Day Afternoon. The message was clear: Springsteen himself was one of the unbeautiful losers, flitting along the ghostly fringes of suburban respectability.
"Thirty years later, and largely thanks to Landau, Springsteen is no longer a musician. He's a belief system."
In Metcalf's mind, Springsteen not only has "it," he is "it."
I prefer John Mellencamp. He's a guy who I'd love to sit down and enjoy a beer with. He moves me with his music. He has this ability to reach into my soul--the place where my memories and hopes and dreams exist in a protected vacuum--and he gently strokes them with the back of his hand as if he to say he understands.
Again, that's the beauty of "it." It's subjective, but it's also real. When someone we respect exhibits an "it" quality, we want everybody else to see it. We blog about it, blab about it, and obsess about it. And oftentimes, it falls on deaf ears because all of us connect with humanity in different ways.
And that's okay.