Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Susan Boyle Syndrome

I feel moved to comment on the latest sensation to take the entertainment industry by storm – Susan Boyle. Now I have to say that I think the media have responded predictably; but a little hysteria never hurt anyone, I guess. It was just that one article I read set me thinking. It asked the question, 'Do you have to be beautiful to be talented?' This, of course, refers to the fact that Susan isn't exactly Paris Hilton in the looks department – something about which I'm sure she's quite justifiably relieved. But let's think about the question they're asking here: is this where we're going wrong? Are we judging performers by their looks rather than open-mindedly listening to what they have to say? Does anyone with any wisp of raw talent now have to check into a health spa or beauty salon before their audition? I for one hope not. (Come on, you've seen the pictures...)

I find myself thinking if Einstein would have made more of a contribution to science if he looked more like Hugh Grant? Would some of the ugly buggers from the first generation of rock'n'rollers ever got where they are now without surgery?

Another important question is whether society has now decided that talent is merely the province of the young and anyone who hasn't 'made it' by the time they are 40 might as well sod off and grow vegetables. So maybe Susan Boyle's story is a timely reminder that we should avoid the temptations of prejudice and learn to listen with our ears and not with our eyes.

Incidentally, if you haven't already seen the You Tube footage of Susan's performance then you should. Even if, like me, the whole idea of TV talent shows makes you want to go and throw yourself from a tall building. It's worth it – even if it's just to see the look on Simon Cowell's face!

It's here.

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