Beyond Brushstrokes

There seems to be an inexplicable enthrallment with royalty, a curiosity about the images and lives of the rich and famous, the haughty and unattainable. Perhaps, it is the vicarious thrill of imagining — to be in the shoes of a star. It’s a wish to escape to one’s mundane daily routine.
In the world of haute couture, the designers choose models and divas who can project an air of aloof, haughty, distant disdain. In the glossy magazines, ultra-luxe equals the high life. Expensive is desirable.
Remote royals and aristocrats are pursued and adulated. It is probably because they inhabit a glittering extraordinary sphere, one that is inaccessible. The reluctant, shy, evasive subjects — of the tabloids, talk show speculations and unauthorized biographies — arouse a type of obsession and envy.
The Hollywood celestial bodies are stalked by paparazzi. Some characters may pretend to be Garbo-esque, shunning publicity but provoking it. There’s a symbiotic game of cat-and-mouse.
Gossip columnists and fans are engrossed with the scandals as they intrude on the private lives of the hot subjects. It is a voyeuristic trip to fantasyland. To promote movies and shows, agents craft, project and manipulate the lavish lifestyles. The reality show stars become multi-millionaires by acting eccentric. They are famous for being famous/notorious.
Filipino stars try to mimic and/or outdo their foreign counterparts. They show similar antics just to create an impression and make waves. To the point of acting inane, silly, tragi-comic or bizarre. The media hype goes overboard.
The political arena is often crowded with the high and mighty, the grandstanders, power-trippers, the power-hungry, and the self-absorbed, self-obsessed egocentrics and their sycophants and satellites.
Th characters in the different categories are all interchangeable. Most of them overlap in their origin and behavior.
One encounters the high profile social butterflies, peacocks who act snobbish to people they consider inferior. The fluttering, air kissing, and preening happen within a certain circle. There is the subtle, surreptitious, calculating once over glance that reveals the cracks in the plastic pseudo-friendship. They party often and flaunt their carefree fun in social media and the lifestyle pages.
There are different levels that can be appealing to the observer. There are exclusive, reclusive, low-key individuals who are magnets of attention. There are also the condescending high brows have selective amnesia who treat people according to their social stature and position. To them, glamorous titles and a perceived high net worth matter more than character or achievement.
The spoiled brats, the idle rich, the eccentrics who pamper their prized pedigreed pets with kid gloves — get unnecessary mileage. They are vacuous and tiresome.
The big-time politicians flaunt power with the convoy of vehicles, helicopters, planes, private armies, newly acquired properties. They become narcissistic and feel infallible, invulnerable. “Nobody does it better.”
The intellectuals — in the academe, science and culture and the arts — have their own aura of allure and star -wattage. They reign supreme in their respective fields — the esoteric level where mere mortals fear to tread. The poet laureate, author and multi-awarded composer, artist, doctor, teacher, inventor and scientific genius inhabit a higher dimension. They deserve recognition for their distinguished contributions to the country and the world.
The philanthropists, civic leaders, humanitarians, and corporate foundations should be emulated. They have a social conscience and share their resources with the less fortunate. Achievers should have their share of the limelight. The exposure and applause are their reward.
However, there are nasty crabs who would look for their flaws and foibles.
What can be annoying, or exasperating is the attitude and manner of the pompous pretender whose image is merely contrived and enhanced through hype. Insecure and inferior, he masks his inadequacy with hot air, pseudo-pedigree, affected accent, false pretensions, and the nerve and tenacity to climb all the way to the top. Pity the innocent chap who happens to stand in the way of the aggressive steamroller.
In interpersonal relationships, he seems to get along with people he can use and then he discards them after. Normal people (without power, title, connections or money) are beneath him and he feels that he is above them all. He is full of himself, projecting a haughty, grandiose air that onlookers find fascinating.
His opinion and comments are sought after by reporters. He assumes that he knows everything and that he is omnipotent.
On the personal level, instant attraction and fascination is chemical, hormonal. The love-at-first sight, walking-on-air feeling is euphoric, exciting, and breathtaking at the start. La vie en rose.
The enthralled fan or admirer should be aware that glory and infatuation are fleeting. Transient things — fame, popularity, fortune and power, infatuation will eventually fade.
The adoring crowd and ardent suitor can be fickle. The illusion fades. They will soon be attracted by another rising star, a new royal, a magnetic personality.
Fascination does not last. The magic will diminish — in time.
Maria Victoria Rufino is an artist, writer and businesswoman. She is president and executive producer of Maverick Productions.