Okay, so I finally watched the video of Susan Boyle's performance on "Britain's Got Talent". Of course, I was impressed by her wonderful voice. She's especially gifted in comparison to the contestants on "American Idol", who are often unable to get through abbreviated versions of much simpler pop songs without hitting notes flat. But the real reason everyone is so blown away by Susan Boyle is that she has the nerve to be so talented when she is also unattractive.
Did you see those grimacing, eye-rolling twits in the audience, the ones who mocked her when she said at the beginning that her dream was to become a professional singer? As if 85% of Brits have anything to say about someone else being ugly. Screw those people.
Nevertheless, while I admit it was satisfying to see that audience worship her in the end, when it was all over, I was left with a distinct sense of "is that all?" I'm not downplaying her skills. But if she were 25 years younger and able to wear skinny jeans and a halter top without making anyone nauseous, I wouldn't be hearing enough about her to actually warrant a youtube video viewing.
In an odd, roundabout way, the Susan Boyle phenomenon reminds me of an Ann Arbor guy who was commonly known as The Guy Without a Nose. I referred to him as The Guy Without a Face (sung to the tune of Billy Idol's "Eyes Without a Face"). Anyway, the story about him was that he had once tried to commit suicide by shooting himself in the head, but didn't succeed. So, his face was terribly mutilated, he couldn't speak very well and he had no nose. When you'd see him on the street, you just did everything you could to not look at him - politely. Like a lot of other homeless guys, he would panhandle at lines outside of music venues. But I bet he made a lot more money than the other dudes, because people just wanted him to go away.
I remember an old co-worked telling me, "The Guy Without a Nose likes to stand outside of the YMCA and scare the little kids as they came out of daycare". Of course, I was horrified. But then I thought, how do I know that story's true? And even if he does hang out there, who knows why? And ultimately, why did it make me so sickly happy to think that I finally had a good reason to dislike the guy?
That's the magical quality that Susan Boyle and The Guy Without a Face share - the subtle ability to remind us how shallow we really are.