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.