You’ve by now probably heard of Susan Boyle, a modest 47-year old spinster from Scotland who showed up a derisive audience and and even more derisive panel of judges on the TV show “Britain’s got Talent.”
Here’s how USA Today described the event:
Boyle — 47, unglamorous, unfashionable, unknown — faced down a sneering British audience and panel of judges on Britain’s Got Talent, including the ever-sneery Simon Cowell. Then, in an instant, she turned jeers to cheers with her rendition of one of the weepier numbers from Les Misérables. Almost as instantly, Boyle went viral: A clip on YouTube garnered millions of hits.
It’s certainly very uplifting and kudos to the modest Susan Boyle who trumped up sneers simply by being herself. But it does raise some uncomfortable questions. What if Susan Boyle could not sing? Why does derision spread so quickly in a crowd? How many other Susan-Boyle’s started out humiliated and went home humiliated?
But I can’t help wondering, what would have been the reaction if Susan Boyle couldn’t sing?What would the judges and the audience have thought, and said, had her voice been a creaky rasp, or an out-of-tune shriek? Would she still possess that “inner beauty?” Would we still acknowledge that the derisive treatment she received before performing was callous, insensitive and cruel?
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