Yes, Susan Boyle Has Talent. Why Is That So Suprising?

It has already been admitted on this blog way back in August of 2007, I am a tabloid junkie. But really, usually only the covers, and I almost always turn away when there is any mention of Simon Cowell. Mostly because the sight of his overly erect man nipples under too-tight grey T-shirts makes me uncomfortable.

I did however, make the mistake of paying attention long enough to find out about the new British you-tube sensation, Susan Boyle. It only served to make me angry.

The story goes that Ms. Boyle showed up on the set of 'Brittan's Got Talent' with a heartbreaking story about a promise to her dead mother, and was laughed at and ridiculed while telling the judges and studio audience about how she is 47, unemployed, lives alone with her cat, and has never been kissed.

The laughter and eye rolling stopped immediately when Ms. Boyle opened her mouth and started to sing. . . and then everyone went crazy. Over night this woman was famous, I've seen her on every channel during news hour, she's got the top video on You-Tube, and the entertainment magazines are boasting interviews about her lonely life and talent secrets.

But why? I mean, she can sing, sure, I guess, I only really sat through the first half of the You-Tube video, and yeah, I'll admit that she has talent.

But is it really so shocking to the world that ugly people can have talent too?

Have we been living in the glamorized dream world of Britneys and Christinas, Lindsays and Meilys for so long that, as a society, we've just all together ruled out the possibility that someone can have talent without plucking their eyebrows, having a personal trainer, and wearing designer clothing. . . Or, God forbid, be over the age of 40?

I think it's sick. It makes me uncomfortable, it makes me feel bad, it gives me this weird uneasy feeling in my stomach as I try to figure out if this woman is aware that on some psychological level she's back in the high school locker room being befriended my the popular girls as a joke. If she knows that the kindness she is being shown will last only until some great final act of humiliation is reached, or until her 15 minutes ends and she find herself alone once again with only her cat to sing to.

I don't know what it is about Susan Boyle and the media storm surrounding her that gives me a heavy feeling of foreboding in my chest, but I'd be willing to bet it has a lot to do with the little person growing inside of me, the kind of world s/he is about to enter, and my powerlessness to completely shield them from it.


shikou said...

I think the saddest part is the fact not so much about the talent, but the part about dreams: effectually, "ugly people do not have dreams (aspirations)".

But i agree.

Malcolm+ said...


Schmutzie said...

I like the part of her story that's about her being more of a shy homebody with surprisingly large talent for someone who has never before had the opportunity to practice it in public, but I'm with you when it comes to people talking about her looks and her age. Her beautiful voice, her ability to command an audience, her obvious confidence - these are things that are not at all dependent on whether she grows too much hair on her face or has a thickish waist or is over the age of 25. It is sad that we still equate socially described beauty with every other admired trait. Where is mass enlightenment when you need it?

Anonymous said...

You have nailed something.

Still, I think Frank said it best in a comment over at Grandmere Mimi's blog:
"Interesting that so much of the commentary out there is based on an impression that this performance is a step toward fulfillment in an unfulfilled life when Susan herself suggests otherwise. Confidence built on a life well-lived shines in that performance.

The lesson may be that there really are angels among us and that we'd see and hear more of them if we had the good sense needed to pay attention."