I’ve been curious, delighted, and dismayed by the media response to Susan Boyle’s instant notoriety after performing on Britain’s Got Talent. Her performance has generated over 60 million views on YouTube, , and she’s become the new singing sensation. But most of the conversation has been around her appearance. Even Talk of the Nation, a radio show that usually covers meaningful issues, devoted a segment to her looks. Recently, the New York Times had an article analyzing the reasons why her looks are such a topic and assessing stereotypes and human psychology. At least now we’re delving into the phenomenon, rather than taking part in Boyle-bashing based on looks.
My curiosity revolved around the speed at which one woman’s unlikely success became an international phenomenon. As someone who’s trying to gain media attention for efforts in humane education and the MOGO principle, and who has come to realize just how difficult this is, it’s remarkable to watch what can happen when someone becomes a media sensation overnight.
My delight revolved around Susan Boyle’s success based on talent, not on beauty, wealth, youth, or whom she knew.
My dismay revolved around the overwhelming focus on her appearance, including the specificity of the critique. There was an inordinate amount of attention paid to her frizzy, greying hair and bushy eyebrows, which infuriated me. She is being criticized for leaving the hair that grows on her body alone, instead of buying products to change it and removing parts of it to meet conventional standards of beauty. Listening to a debate on the media about what sorts of makeover would be appropriate, I found myself alternately shifting from outrage to wonderment. Is this really what we care about? Is this really the topic of the day? With all the pressing issues of our time, we readily turn our attention to the grotesquely unimportant: Susan Boyle’s physical appearance and what she should do about it.
I keep wondering what we could do to generate this kind of attention for humane education and MOGO living. Every idea that could generate media attention seems ridiculously gimmicky and lacking in integrity. So dear readers of this blog, any suggestions for creating a media phenomenon for MOGO?
Image courtesy of ITV.
Filed under: Cultural Issues, media literacy, MOGO (Most Good), news media, values | Tagged: assumptions, celebrity, Cultural Issues, humane education, judgments, media literacy, MOGO principle, news media, physical appearance, physical beauty, social psychology, Susan Boyle | Comments Off