Breaking All The Rules

By now you’ve seen Susan Boyle shock the judges on Britain’s Got Talent, the UK equivalent of American Idol. She sings “I Dreamed A Dream” from Les Miserables, a fitting choice in this context. I agree with the judge who said that the audience was against her – I imagine she included herself in that indictment. If I am honest with myself, I felt something like that too – a kind of perverse anticipation that she would be laughed off the stage. I don’t like that in myself; I didn’t like seeing it in the audience, and I suspect it is why we delighted in seeing her performace in such a stark contrast to that anticipated failure. The judge called it a “wake up call,” but I wonder what we are waking up from… The idea that someone like Boyle could have such a beautiful voice. We ofen cheer for the underdog, but we also don’t mind seeing people embarassed in their failures, and we find it entertaining. We have become accustomed to being entertained by what this perfomance could have been, what we fully expected it to be, to seeing people humiliated.Do we see how we are changed by how we choose to be entertained?

One thought on “Breaking All The Rules

  1. I think you are right on.
    I loved watching the change come over the audience and the judges as she sang and then watching her as the cheered. She did not expect to be accepted much less loved, but she was there anyways.
    I felt convicted.
    As I think about the situation, especially as I read articles about her performance, I wonder what if she did not have a beautiful voice? Would she then have deserved the laughter?
    She is so popular because, though she does not meet our cultural standards in one way yet she exceeds them in another – her voice.
    I would say, of course she does not deserve to be laughed at, but when I’m honest with myself I know, as she sang in the song, I can be one of the tigers who come at night when I find entertainment in those who do poorly on such shows.
    More and more what I am loving about her is that she seems comfortable as herself and I hope Hollywood doesn’t get ahold of her and ruin that. She was not afraid to be herself – to show up.
    I actually hope that might be part of what we learn from her.

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