April 18, 2009

By now, there can’t be too many people who haven’t heard of Susan Boyle, or heard her sing, the YouTube clip from Britain’s Got Talent 2009 currently at well over 27 million hits and still climbing. She’s been described as ‘ugly’ by just about every news outlet that has covered the show – even those who have championed her while castigating the rest of us for our narrow-mindedness and the public’s mandate that any female performer must be first beautiful and young before any other talent can be recognized.

Tanya Gold, herself a very attractive young woman, described Susan Boyle as “chubby, with a squashed face, unruly teeth and unkempt hair. She wore a gold lace dress, which made her look like a piece of pork sitting on a doily”, then warned her readers that Susan Boyle’s surprise sensation will only be “the freakish exception that makes the rule. By raising this Susan up, we will forgive ourselves for grinding every other Susan into the dust.”

Ironically, I found the YouTube link to Susan Boyle’s performance from a site with another little ad with Farrah Fawcett, then and now, shocked – shocked, I tell you! – that a woman who was once considered the epitome of beauty should dare show her aged face in public, disparaged for not ‘aging gracefully’. Right next to another little link to snide speculations about Michael Douglas’s plastic surgery, with an equally hideous candid photo of an aging actor.

Youth and beauty. According to the advertising world, if you don’t have that double-barrelled prerequisite, the world shuns you, loathes you, derides you. Drives you into lonely, sexless seclusion with only Pebbles the Cat to love you. We the public, they tell us, love deriding the ugly and the fat only slightly more than reveling in the schadenfreude of Celebrities Without Makeup. We demand youthful beauty, but enjoy tearing down both those who never had it, or those desperately doing all they can to preserve it. Or so we are told, again and again and again. Of course, many media outlets would also have had you believe that a black liberal man could never possibly win enough votes from all us bigoted, scared, obstinate Americans, not in a million years. Except… that he did.

Because what the explosion of public adulation surrounding Susan Boyle tells me is something corporate media has yet to understand. There are vastly more Susan Boyles out there than Amanda Holdens and Simon Cowells, or even Tanya Golds. Those of us who aren’t young anymore, or can’t afford the plastic surgery to compete with the cookie-cutter blondes with cannonball tits we’re supposed to either want to be or want to do. The vast majority of us are in love with Susan Boyle, not because she’s some chubby porker with an angel’s voice, but because she’s not a ‘freakish exception’. She’s one of us – those of us sick and tired of being bombarded with lies, sheer unadulterated BS, by MSM trying to convince normal, ordinary people that WE think we’re ugly, WE think we’re unlovable, WE think we can’t possibly compete with an homogeneous ideal of young and the skinny and the beautiful, no matter what other talents we might have. Because here’s the real shocker – actually, deep down in our heart of hearts, WE don’t.

What Susan Boyle did transcends merely proving that ‘ugly’ people are capable of possessing amazing talent. She has galvanized millions – millions – who have not yet been completely brainwashed by corporate media’s pervasive assumption that those who don’t measure up to an artificial projection of youth and beauty must all be sad, lonely, pathetic, unloved people to be pitied. She is a strong, courageous, amazing, cheekily optimistic woman – with or without her beautiful voice. She’s not ‘freakish’ or ‘ugly’ – she’s normal. Like most of the rest of us. Her incredible voice gave her the opportunity to do something most of the rest of us wish we could do as well – thrust a middle finger (or if you’re British, two fingers) up at all those who insist WE can’t possibly consider ourselves beautiful or worth loving, even if we aren’t young, or blonde, or anorexic, or have 90210 cannonball breasts.

And that is why we love Susan Boyle.

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