Friday, 17 April 2009

Some thoughts on Susan Boyle (before it's too late)

Susan Boyle is a firecracker. 

Now before you go and get the wrong ideas about me, I consider the Dove Evolution spot and this week's Domino Pizza fiasco firecrackers, too. 

But that's another post.

I debated even posting this, seeing as there are signs the surfing public is starting to fatigue of Susan Boyle as quickly as they fell in love with her, but I wasn't happy with what I had written about her on a flippant Facebook post. But seeing as you're reading this, you can see what side I came down on in that debate.

If you've been under a rock over the past week, Susan Boyle is the plain, frumpy and perfectly, almost painfully average church lady from Scotland whose stirring rendition of I Dreamed a Dream from Les Miserables turned into an instant sensation on Britain's Got Talent.  At the time I wrote this, the term "Susan Boyle" had generated almost 4,000 pages' worth of Google News in less than a week. 

What many people seem amazed by is that such an ordinary person could have such a fantastic voice - a classic "Don't judge a book by its cover" story. 

Susan Boyle was so extraordinary because she was so ordinary. I don't want to take anything away from Susan Boyle - despite a few flubbed notes she does have a great voice and people's response to that voice was indeed genuine. But why should we have thought this woman would embarrass herself? Susan Boyle was only extraordinary within the context and aesthetics of a reality show, which  - given her meteoric rise to fame - have skewed our own ideas about what it means to be truly talented. Our response to Susan Boyle says more about our current cultural values than her own talent for song.

But don't take my word for it, read this instead.

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