Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Ramboyle? Hardly.

All rightee, time to weigh in on the short lived phenomenon that has been poorly nicknamed "The Hairy Angel" and, most recently but equally as stupid, "SuBo". Yes, I am talking (but only briefly, as that's all I can stand) about Susan Boyle.

If you have not been living under a rock (but it would have to be a rock without Wi-Fi because these days, anything is possible and I'm trying to create the illusion of isolation here) for the past couple of weeks, you know that Susan Boyle, aka SuBo, is the woman who went on "Britain's Got Talent" and for some reason, surprised the entire viewing audience and another 55,000,000 people who watched her performance on YouTube by singing a song from Les Miserables "I Dreamed A Dream". And it was beautiful. Sorry to be sappy, but she sounded incredible. And she was immediately branded the favorite to win "Britain's Got Talent." But then came the hubbub. First the hub. Then the bub.

Now, initially, the assessment of the amazement of the crowd at her singing ability was attributed to what Susan Boyle looked like. Apparently, there is a certain way that singers are supposed to look. I by that, I can only surmise that they are supposed to be young, perky and attractive. Susan Boyle is none of those. She's not particularly young (she's 47, which isn't over the hill or anything and I certainly wouldn't be reserving her a walker at the next shuffleboard tournament), she didn't appear to be perky (though her personality had plenty o'perk in it), and as far as attractive, well, I have seen worse. So while she wasn't drop dead gorgeous, it wasn't like anyone was running for eye bleach after seeing her.

And so I guess that everyone was so wow-ed and amazed by her because she looked the way that she did AND she could sing the way that she did. See, I didn't take it that way. When I first saw the clip, I didn't know if she was going to be good or if she was going to be horrible. I assumed that she was going to be horrible because here in the United States, it has become a favorite pastime of these talent based reality shows to highlight those contestants who are a) mildly mentally retarded, b) mentally ill and/or c) horrible performers and then mock them incessantly. (Most of the time it would seem that the contestant does not quite understand that they are actually being mocked incessantly, making it all the more pathetic.) I didn't assume that she was going to be horrible because she looked the way that she did. I assumed that she was going to be horrible because it was one of those things that I kept hearing that I had to watch on YouTube.

Once she became an "overnight sensation", that's when the tabloids did their thing. "Their thing" being constantly barrage the woman 24/7. Everywhere she went, someone was there. And they were watching her. And they usually had a camera. And they weren't always very complimentary toward her. Yes, shocking that tabloids didn't publish flattering commentary about her. I know! And if you've ever thought that you'd like to be famous, let me tell you this: You wouldn't like it. I"m sure that it's very novel for the first part of it. Whether that part be a day, a week, a month, or just an hour, I'm sure that at first, it's very, very cool. When you enter Phase Two, however, the novelty has worn off. It gets tiring having people watch you when you drive, when you walk, when you shop, when you eat, when you breathe, when you blink and whenever you do anything else. That's why whenever I hear of some celebrity (usually Sean Penn) beating the crap out of some paparazzi, my first thoughts are, "Yay! Did he kill him? I hope he killed him! Did he at least break his G-D camera?" And while I'm not saying that the paparazzi are despicable people, their profession most certainly is about as despicable as you can get.

When you go from a completely anonymous life to one where you have no anonymity at all, anywhere, your life becomes hell. And Susan Boyle felt that hell. Her hell became a reality when she came in second on "Britain's Got Talent" instead of winning as she was predicted world wide to do. (Sportsbook William Hill was giving her 11 to 10 odds to win. Yes. Sportsbooks were taking bets on who would be the winner of a reality show. William Hill must have cleaned up.) And I think that's when she wondered if all of the hell that she had gone through in the past couple of weeks had been worth it. And I think that's when she determined that, since she had lost, it wasn't worth it at all.

The poor woman cracked. According to
The Telegraph "The 48 year-old had an "emotional breakdown" following Saturday's final in which she was runner-up, and went to the London clinic to get help." Now, whether or not "help" actually means "help" as in "psychiatric help", I don't know. I'm guessing that "help" meant time to herself where she could regain some sense of normalcy and not have everyone watching her every move every second of every live long day. The Telegraph " also reported that after the show was over, Susan Boyle, "...ran down a corridor shouting "I hate this show"." I don't blame her one bit.

But rather than the media (and I use that term loosely, as I am mainly referring to the tabloids and the paparazzi) acknowledge that they are a ruthless bunch of heathens who came close to ruining this woman's life with their 'round the clock invasion of her privacy, they are instead making sure that the stories that they run include a detail that was largely left out of all prior reports about her. That detail being something similar to: "The 48-year-old, who suffers from learning disabilities as a result of being starved of oxygen at birth...blah, blah, blah." So.....what? Are they saying that learning disabilities cause people to sing pitch perfect opera songs? No. Are they saying that learning disabilities cause people to break down from an unexpected and immediate load of stress to deal with? Nooooo. Oh. Wait! I've got it. Are they implying that "learning disability" is akin to "retarded"? Seems to be that way. Have you people no shame?

You're not going to hear about "the retarded woman who can really belt out a tune" now, are you? First of all, she's NOT retarded. Second of all, I hardly see what a learning disability has to do with one's ability to cope with stress. OH, that's right. It doesn't have anything to do with it. But just wait. Look around. Read the papers. Read the reports. See how many of them NOW mention this "learning disability". And of all the ones that do, go back and read previous reports that they put out and see how many times it was mentioned in those stories. You'll see what I mean.

I'm surprised someone hasn't cracked like this before. Seriously. I'm as surprised that someone hasn't cracked before now as I am surprised that Sean Penn hasn't killed a photographer with his bare hands before now. And while she may have wanted to be left alone, she almost certainly didn't want to be left alone because she lost.

In the end, I"m sure that she'll be fine. I certainly hope she ends up making some money off of this gig because there were plenty of other folks who made a ton of money off of her. She IS her! She should see some profit in the future. I would think. After all, on shows like these, take American Idol for example, it doesn't seem to matter if you come in first or not. As long as you can get yourself out there and make a name for yourself, even if you don't win the whole thing, you're going to do just fine as far as your career goes. And contrary to what the media wanted us to believe in the first place, it doesn't matter if you are not attractive if you want to have a chance at making it in some sort of performance art capability. I think I asked earlier, since when did we start requiring singers to be attractive? Have you SEEN some of the famous singers out there? This woman is an opera singer (Susan Boyle sang an opera song). Look at her! Behold!

Egads! What the hell is that?! Now, if she were the only one, I wouldn't have much of a point, but she's not. Hoo-boy, she sure is not. Keith Richards, ladies and gentlemen! Behold!

If there were ever a nuclear war and everything on the planet was attacked and destroyed, two things would survive. Bugs and Keith Richards. The man should have been dead in the 60s. At the latest! But he's certainly not an attractive fellow and seems to be doing just fine in the music business with his little band
The Rolling Stones.

Here's Tiny Tim
So, you're seeing my point about not needing to be attractive, yes? No? I'll keep going. Rick James!!
Shane McGowan of The Pogues!

Lemmy Kilminster of Motorhead!

Dee Snider of Twisted Sister!

Eddie van Halen of Van Halen!
There you have it. Proof that you don't have to be attractive to be able to sing. Proof that you shouldn't be amazed if you see a less than attractive person singing. Proof that win or lose, attractive or not, I think Susan Boyle is going to do just fine. Hopefully she'll be able to get a little peace and quiet back in her life for a while so that she'll be physically capable of pursuing a recording career which she seems more than aptly suited for. But even with all of this, do I think that people are going to change their judgmental ways? Hell. No. You know why? The guy who won in 2007 was a cell phone salesman who could sing at the very least as good as Susan Boyle does. A photo of Paul Potts is below. You tell me if you think people are going to change.

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