Friday, April 17, 2009

Susan Boyle

Susan Boyle (- Singer - Britains Got Talent 2009 (With Lyrics)) is an inspirational video clip of a 47-year-old cat lady who's never been kissed singing Le Miserable's "I Dreamed a Dream."

And a story on the Huffington Post about why this is so big on the interwebs:

"But first, let me clarify the scope of her fame: Last night, my dad sent me an e-mail about her audition on Britain's Got Talent. My dad, y'all. He's a sixty year-old retiree who mostly uses the internet to play online chess and download classic rock. If he's hearing about a YouTube sensation mere days it hits the web, then it must really be something.

(1) Susan Boyle rebukes the bitchy cynicism that often defines reality talent shows.

By now, it's an unavoidable trope: The unusual-looking, weirdly-mannered outcast shambles on stage for an audition on a show like American Idol or America's Got Talent and promptly makes a fool of herself. Her embarrassment is played for tawdry laughs, and viewers are encouraged to feel superior to her and so feel better about themselves.

And obviously, the producers of Britain's Got Talent know that. They introduce Boyle with the goofy music reserved for the usual freak, and they show her talking about how she's never been kissed and how she lives with a cat. The audience audibly mocks her as soon as she takes the stage, which encourages all of us at home to sharpen our claws.

After that, her singing---which is very good, if not quite excellent--- naturally causes an uproar. We've been primed for dog food, but we get a burger, so it tastes like steak.

This narrative is just as manipulative as anything else on reality television, of course. Boyle could have been presented as a winner from the very start, but that would've ruined the drama.

But as fabricated as it is, her on-camera arc is undeniably moving.

That's 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."

(From Guy and TJ)

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