What’s bothering me? I’m glad you asked.Three months ago the world could not get enough of Susan Boyle, the middle-aged singing phenomenon from England. Her voice was truly extraordinary. She dared to enter a competition where the audience and judges are well known to ridicule and boo contestants. She was older than most the other contestants, and she certainly did not look the part of a star. I cringed for her, the idea of the audience and judges salivating to tear into her forming in my mind. Instead of receiving the insulting treatment, however, she was treated with grace once she started singing, her magnificent voice echoing to the ceiling of the theater.
Over the next couple of weeks, she was given the royal treatment including a make-up, hair, and wardrobe make over. She was too dowdy, in public opinion, to be accepted seriously. She was considered a shoo-in for the grand prize of the Britain’s Got Talent program. After the last performance, the shoo-in lost. Not only that, but Susan Boyle quickly followed that show with a melt down.
It seems all the attention showered on her became too much for her to handle emotionally. The glare of world recognition was too much for her to bear, so she entered a clinic to unwind from the short but extremely intense ordeal.
That brings me to my concern. In the past month or so, I have seen a banner on the internet a couple of times which shows copious tears flowing from her picture with the caption of “Slap Susan Boyle” along side a hand. I am not one to be emotional, but that banner upset me immensely. I didn’t “slap” Susan Boyle so I don’t know the company behind the ad. I figure it’s the same one for “Cut the String” and “Shoot the Duck” among others, but maybe I’m wrong.
I grieve for modern humanity in our so-called “civilized” world when some ad company thinks such a banner is funny! I am often accused of having a warped sense of humor, but I see no humor in this instance at all. I see scorn and ridicule. The media’s behavior is positively disgraceful. They take unknowns, hold them in the glaring spotlight, and then not only often throw them out like garbage, but they delight in turning on them like savage dogs at the first sign of weakness.
The public is hungrily awaiting the next overnight phenom and the next and the next. In easier times “overnight phenom” took place over months. Now, with the internet, it literally means over night as in some cases from 7 pm to 7 am. The world starts to nibble with their morning coffee or tea.
I do not know if humanity has always been this cruel or not. Perhaps it is in our DNA to attack and eliminate the weak among us. Perhaps turning upon others after knocking them off the pedestals we erect when we idolize them is just part of our natural behavior and so therefore we are not responsible for our actions. Persons wishing to reach the apex must understand the cost of any sign of slipping.
I would like to think, however, that we have simply lost our way. Somewhere inside of us there is a compassionate side that just needs to reacquaint itself with us. Perhaps, because along my path I have experienced small incidents that were very painful, I can empathize a little with Susan Boyle’s post-Talent experience, although I will never know the global humiliation she has received.
I do not know what has happened to Susan Boyle. A Google search pretty much ends at the end of April, save for Simon Cowell’s interview in June where he says the family thinks “they” (? I guess the show cast) did the right thing. Elaine Paige and Kelly Clarkson also made news after the April debacle stating they were fans. The rest of the world pretty much has remained silent.
Susan Boyle wanted to sing for the Queen. I hope her star light is still bright enough for that to happen. The Queen deserves a Susan Boyle performance. I hope her skin is thick enough to forgive the world for the treatment she received. As for who cares what has happened and wil continue to happen to the Susan Boyles of this world, I care.
Come visit me and talk for a while.