Last night, a high school friend shared the new Taylor Swift video (for “Back to December”) on Facebook with the comment, “MacArthur Park in here?” I felt sure she must be wrong – how on earth would the park I grew up playing in, right next to my elementary school, end up in a music video? Especially one for a hugely popular, non-local singer?
I clicked through nevertheless, and it certainly seemed she was correct – though Taylor Swift herself appears to have never set foot in Binghamton, the actor portraying her forlorn romantic interest most certainly had. As Swift sings her way through a lovely – if inexplicably snowy – house, a hipster boy with emo bangs pouts on the bleachers at the softball field they used to freeze to make an ice rink, mopes on the track that nearly caused me to fail gym class in elementary school, and wanders aimlessly down a street just a couple of blocks from my parents’ house.
After watching the video, I did what any curious person does in the 21st century – I googled the video to find out why on earth Binghamton was selected. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a lovely little place, but it’s also not the kind of place that’s on any sort of pop-culture radar. The internets, however, were of no help. All I could find was rampant speculation as to who, exactly, the song was about. (Consensus seems to be the abs-o-riffic Taylor Lautner from the “Twilight” movies, in case you, too, were wondering. I’ll admit that I didn’t even know they had dated. Guess I need to start watching E! more.)
A little while later, though, my hometown paper posted a quick story confirming that yes, it was, indeed, Binghamton – and MacArthur Park – in the video. They followed up this morning with a more complete story about the video, one that answered the “why Binghamton?” question: “They were looking for a semi-rural place with snow on the ground.”
And there you have it, and it’s nothing glamorous. Just small and snowy… two things Binghamton does pretty well.