Friday, April 17, 2009

Understanding the Phenomenon

All at once, she's everywhere. The YouTube video has received thousands and thousands of hits, from many different countries. She's the subject of many blog entries, the sought-after guest of television hosts. She's nothing short of a phenomenon.

Most people are cheering for her, excited by her unexpected huge success. A few righteous individuals are deriding the many who were surprised by her talent, saying things like "How dare you judge her on her appearance," apparently not realizing that even mentioning her appearance puts them in the same class. And here and there is the person who doesn't see her talent, her grace, her genuineness.

As I've read the blogs and the comments, I've tried to figure out why so many people -- myself certainly included -- are thrilled by Susan Boyle's story. It is more than just being happy for her success.

So much about reality TV seems to be about humiliation; this time, however, it is the viewers and the judges who get to take another look at ourselves.

Mark Blankenship, pop culture critic at The Huffington Post has proposed an explanation that I think is right on the mark, if you'll pardon the pun. His piece seems to me to be hastily written and could have done with a bit of revision. But that's not why I want you to read it. It's because he goes right to the crux of who we flawed, egotistical beings really are, and how Susan's triumph gives us the opportunity to get in touch with the kernel of who we really are, deep inside the surround of ego. Here's an excerpt:

. . . partially because Boyle herself seems so lovely, but it's also because this clip enacts a story that we want to be true. No matter how much we mock those we consider beneath us, it's much more satisfying to be reminded that everyone has dignity.

Please go here to read Mark's full post. I can't tell you how much it resonated for me.


4 comments:

Piecefulafternoon said...

Guess there is enough judgement going on for everyone to share a bit of it. Even those who judge the "few righteous individuals" as being in the same class are putting themselves in the same seat. Hard not to be hit by the flying schrapnel of this whole event - I'm just glad she was brave enough to take on the odds - stacked against anyone at all who tries to compete in this kind of situation.

SubeeSews said...

I cried when I heard her sing the song. Love that song anyway and to hear an "angel" sing it was perfect for me.
I cannot get the song from my head either. I am not a great singer but am trying to do it justice.
I really enjoy your blog.
Subee

Guenveur in Kent said...

I loved her singing and her spunk, sassing Simon. She reminds me of some of the nuns I had in elementary school - fresh faced and natural. She knows who she is. I am stunned by those who think her appearance something to comment on. If she were a male, there would have been no discussion about appearance. Amazing. I hope she gets to sing before the queen.

frank said...

many a flower is born to blush unseen and waste its perfume on the desert air