Where is Susan Boyle? and Who cares?


Susan BoyleWelcome to the attic. I hope you like bananas. Help yourself to the smoothie pitcher. There’s something bothering me that I’d like to talk about.

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.

Attic Annie

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3 Comments

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3 responses to “Where is Susan Boyle? and Who cares?

  1. koumiss

    I’ve been seeing this ad lately, too. It’s not upsetting to me, because I know it’s just part of the Internet Trash, but still, it’s somewhat…I don’t know the right word I’m looking for, but “repugnant” jumps to mind. I wasn’t terribly Aware of the whole Susan Boyle thing for a while; eventually I looked her up on Wikipedia, and her story became much more fully fleshed out than “prejudice about looks disproven by beautiful voice.”

    Jumping to conclusions is never a great practice, but given that I only had what Wikipedia told me, I saw this: A woman who, throughout her youth, was told she was stupid and not as good as everyone else, grew up not believing in herself, not seeking out an independent life because she could not trust herself to live one. The only worth she saw in herself was taking care of her mother, and when her mother died, all she had left was her singing. So she wrapped herself up in it and took a chance. Suddenly people were telling her she was worth something, a wonderful talent, instant celebrity, instant role model to international audiences. It probably rocked her entire sense of self and her conception of what she was. God knows how any of us would take it.

    And then I see this ad telling me to slap this woman, who had one, huge, immense, well-deserved moment of burning glory in an otherwise remarkably unremarkable life, who finally saw something in herself, who probably knew what confidence was for the first time. Why? I have no idea. Because she’s famous? Because having your name slapped all over every single media outlet automatically means people hate you and find you annoying and want to slap you? What the hell is that?

    I don’t believe, however, that an internet ad offers an accurate example of human nature. Maybe of certain’ peoples’ natures, but not as a whole. The success of Susan Boyle in itself speaks to how people are moved by sympathy and compassion–her fame rested not only in her singing ability, but in what her singing ability represented. It slapped down the entire plastic edifice of celebrity, of the hollow beauty without art that constitutes fame, of the idea that appearances, fake or not, are more important than intrinsic value. It upheld the idea of overlooking our biological prejudices against the homely, of judging people based on what they do and think rather than what they look like.

    The example of Susan Boyle herself shows that most of us haven’t lost our way. The example of the internet ad shows that some people are petty, fallible and unsympathetic, just as some people have always been. I just don’t happen to like those particular people. The rest of us are fine, I think.

    • atticannie

      Wow! You write as much as I do. Glad to see you. I’m afraid that to me trash is trash whether on the internet or not. I don’t want trash in my home. I don’t want trash on my computer. At the best this ad is garbage. At the worst it is offal. In the summertime I have to throw the garbage out almost immediately or it starts smelling. This ad is still around and by now it stinks to high heaven and is plain nauseating. Thanks for dropping in. Hope I see you again some time. Attic Annie

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