Susan Boyle has become an internet phenomenon. Her appearance on Britain’s Got Talent has been viewed millions of times and been e-mailed, twittered band blogged about ad nauseum. So much so that I’m not even going to bother posting the video of her appearance. But why write another blog about this internet superstar? I can’t get it out of my mind. The whole scenario actually troubles me quite a bit to be honest.
I love the fact that a “regular person” can be shown to have talent. I love the fact that the barrier between “normal” and “celebrity” are becoming increasingly blurred. However, I do not love why we love Susan Boyle. What I mean is this: we love Susan Boyle because the “underdog” came through unexpectedly victorious. The judges themselves said that her performance was a surprise and that everyone had been against her before she sang. But why was she the underdog to begin with? Why didn’t anyone expect anything impressive from her? This is what troubles me.
Susan Boyle reminds me just how radical the Gospel is. Susan Boyle convicts me that I tend to think the worst of people rather than the best. Susan Boyle reminds me that, unlike love, I rarely hope or believe all things (1 Corinthians 13:7). Susan Boyle reminds me that, like the judges, I have to be wowed into respecting someone instead of defaulting to love and appreciation for others. Susan Boyle reminds me of just how shallow I can be when it comes to other people.
I don’t know Susan Boyle. I don’t know her motives for even going on the show. She said that she just wants to be a professional singer. Maybe that’s all there is to it or maybe there’s the thirst for fame and recognition that drives so many of us. Whatever Susan Boyle’s motives, her 15 minutes in the spotlight (maybe there will be more, maybe not) has prodded me once again to see life through the lens of the Gospel rather than, as we so often do, judging people until they prove worthy of our respect.