Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Susan Boyle - The Voice Rocking The Internet

No one ever heard of Susan Boyle until this video from the UK tv show Britain's Got Talent started making the rounds two days ago:

For a longer version, complete with judges + audience showing their pre-judgement before this woman unleashed that beautiful singing voice on them, try the YouTube clip.

In the Herald, writer Colette Douglas Home left this scathing indictment, which may explain part of the clip's wildfire appeal:

Susan, now a bankable discovery, was then roundly patronised by such mega-talents as Amanda Holden and the aforementioned Morgan, who told her: "Everyone laughed at you but no-one is laughing now. I'm reeling with shock." Holden added: "It's the biggest wake-up call ever."

Again, why?

The answer is that only the pretty are expected to achieve. Not only do you have to be physically appealing to deserve fame; it seems you now have to be good-looking to merit everyday common respect. If, like Susan (and like millions more), you are plump, middle-aged and too poor or too unworldly to follow fashion or have a good hairdresser, you are a non-person.

I dread to think of how Susan would have left the stage if her voice had been less than exceptional. She would have been humiliated in front of 11 million viewers. It's the equivalent of being put in the stocks in front of the nation instead of the village. It used to be a punishment handed out to criminals. Now it is the fate of anyone without obvious sexual allure who dares seek opportunity.


Susan is a reminder that it's time we all looked a little deeper. She has lived an obscure but important life. She has been a companionable and caring daughter. It's people like her who are the unseen glue in society; the ones who day in and day out put themselves last. They make this country civilised and they deserve acknowledgement and respect.

Think of that, the next time you see an advertisement for Wife Swap, or any of the other "reality" shows that exist to make a joke of the unglamorous.

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