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Talent vs appearance

The story of Susan Boyle is making the rounds – even hit CNN today – but I’m posting it here anyway, just because.

Go watch this, then read that.

(Do resist the urge to look away and watch the whole video.)

5 Comments on “Talent vs appearance”

  1. #1 Natalie L.
    on Apr 15th, 2009 at 9:28 am

    Thanks for the link to the commentary piece–I’d seen the youtube video last night and was absolutely blown away by her voice (and resisting the urge to throw things at my monitor through the beginning because I do have a major embarrassment squick), but the column hits it bang on the crumpet.

    Also, the look on Simon Cowell’s face right after she started singing was worth about a million words.

  2. #2 pantagruel
    on Apr 15th, 2009 at 9:32 am

    This was absolutely amazing. Hurrah for Susan not taking Simon Cowell’s load of crap, and calling him on it.

    It’s a sad, sad comment that the audience assumed that because she wasn’t good-looking, she must not be talented. I’m sending this around to a few people, and will blog about it forthwith.

  3. #3 Tara
    on Apr 15th, 2009 at 1:47 pm

    I saw the youtube video this morning. I almost didn’t watch far enough to hear her sing, because I was so disgusted by the way she was being treated. After my initial shock, I tried to believe that maybe this is how the judges and audience treat every contestant and that she had entered the contest expecting it. I have no television, so I really don’t know; but I’ve heard that the attitudes on these shows are very harsh and critical. But when I read articles such as the one above, I learned my initial reaction was right – she was being derided for her age and looks. Ultimately I was glad I did get to hear her sing. But I’m still angry at her treatment.

    The article got it only partly right. She doesn’t deserve respectful treatment because underneath the “ugly” exterior she had amazing talent. She deserves respect because she is a human being. Respecting someone is a part of treating them with basic human dignity. She was owed that from the outset, even if she had a voice like Kermit the Frog and ran from the stage crying. The talent is an added bonus, as was her bravery for walking on that stage and facing the scorn. For those she earned kudos, not respect. Because she was already a respectful, dignified human being. It is the judges and audience members who treated her with derision and scorn who have abrogated their right to respect, who had failed to act with dignity. It is they who have to prove or earn the right to claim respect, not Susan. She is already respectful – as well as talented and brave.

  4. #4 Phiala
    on Apr 15th, 2009 at 3:55 pm

    Hi new commenters! *waves*

    This is a classic example of all kinds of “isms” – sexism, classism, ageism – being played for entertainment value. I have tremendous admiration for Ms. Boyle for getting up there and doing it anyway, and marvelously, even after the overt derision.

    I wish I thought it would make any difference in the way people are judged on superficial attributes, but at the very least it will make a huge difference to one person.

  5. #5 Kyle Griffin
    on Apr 27th, 2010 at 10:11 pm

    Susan Boyle may not be a very good looking woman but she has an angelic voice. *