The English-speaking world has apparently been warped into complete delusion as to what constitutes musical talent by the British and American forces of manufactured pop. The very idea that physical beauty has anything to do with musical ability is preposterous. And yet, that's the entire basis of Susan Boyle's sure-to-be short-lived fame. People seemed to find it incredibly refreshing and amazing that an old (really, middle-aged), fat, unattractive or at best average-looking woman could sing. The implication is that you expect unattractive people to be worthless in every respect. Are you also surprised when 3's, 4's and 5's can write/act/do taxes?
In reality, there are far more unattractive people who can sing than attractive people who can sing, because in the second case you're selecting for two uncommon attributes rather than one. The whole point of shows like American Idol is to find attractive people first, and then figure out which of them is a decent performer, because the public demands eye-candy-ness in their pop stars in at least equal degrees to talent.
Go see musical theater in any major city, or check out a selective church choir, and you'll find medium-looking people with good voices. The reason they're not famous is because they don't look like pop stars, not because it's some amazingly rare gift to be able to carry a tune.
In fact, doesn't being overweight actually improve vocal quality? I'm pretty sure obesity is common, even encouraged, in opera because having extra fat on your body deepens resonance.
In conclusion: The Susan Boyle story isn't heart-warming, it's an appalling glimpse into how shallow we've become as a society.
In not really related news, I saw a bumper sticker this morning that said "ATTITUDES ARE THE REAL DISABILITY." Is it me, or does that sound like a criticism of disabled people? I.e., "NOTE TO DISABLED PEOPLE: GET AN ATTITUDE ADJUSTMENT"
Besides, isn't "attitude" a value-neutral term? I assume only bad attitudes are "disabling," not having any affect at all.
If this post is any indication, my attitude is totally disabled.
Kathy and I have four poems in the new West Wind Review. Lots of good and funny contributors. I'll be reading this on the train for the next couple days.