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?