April 14, 2009 Our appearance-based culture has become increasingly coarse, cynical and stereotyped, judging people in rapidfire profiling more often than any mindful Malcolm Gladwell style ‘Blink’ of rapid cognition.
Such was the case when 48 year old Susan Boyle took the stage as the audience of ‘Britain’s Got Talent’ rolled their eyes in ‘puhleeeeze’ mockery with sidewinders and bodysnarking literally captured on film. It’s a rare, sublime moment when the perpetrators and bullies shift course IN THE moment turning the outcome on its ear with a standing ovation.
It’s an even greater moment for wild applause when we can look inside ourselves and be humbled by our own shortcomings of prejudice…learn from those errors, and literally rewind the video again and again to relive that life lesson whenever we need to impart it through youth.
Kids…take a good hard look at Susan Boyle’s “I Dream A Dream” rendition from Les Misérables. Let the music seep into your soul. Then carry that tune with you for life and thank your new role model from West Lothian (bonus geography lesson) for standing tall against an audience that stands in judgment…
In my case, judgment was not wielded upon Susan Boyle but instead on the reality show genre itself…I find ‘reality’ rating shows cloying and contrived, and admit, despite all the buzz, I almost didn’t even open the link ‘forwarded from a friend’ in the first place! Shame on me. I would’ve missed a lot…
Gotta watch those pre-judgment zingers…they come out of nowhere on a variety of topics, so check the self-righteousness at the door.
So THANK YOU Laurie Stoddard, for sending this along. And thank you SUSAN BOYLE for reminding me of my own propensity to sniff skyward at mass media sometimes…
For reminding me in David and Goliath style that Shaping Youth is small but mighty with passionistas very accustomed to staring down adversity in bold, unabashed style…
…For renewing the hope and promise of a media worldview that can see beyond shallow, vapid values…For showing firsthand that dreams are attainable however improbable if given the opportunity and a chance…
…And for giving all ages a bracer that talent, confidence, and heartfelt pride not only comes from within, it can rock the world on the outside with ripple effect.
Humanity. Compassion. Triumph of talent.
Media that uplifts rather than tears down.
Oh, by the way, industry pals will no doubt make the conjecture that Susan Boyles Star is Born bit was a well-planned PR coup in the spirit of Lonely Girl 15…
It’s closing in on 3 million YouTube views in three days, and some say it was a ‘viral seed’…way too neat and tidy, from the grimaces on the cut-away edits to the “never been married, never been kissed,” unemployed/underdog persona…with a fan site and social media hub already up and running…(plus a ‘no embed code’ on the YouTube clip; which some say is a telltale copyright sign, and I prefer to think of as ‘self-protection’ from nasty troll remixes) Aspirations of the dream since she was 12, wanting to sing like Elaine Page, etc. etc.
But here’s my question, skeptical media mavens…‘even if it were, who cares?’
It’s a teaching moment for us all to check our own attitudes…
When I turned to my teen in ‘You’ve gotta see this’ mode, she shrugged matter of factly before Susan even opened her mouth,
“yah, unless you’re beautiful with made-up stories everyone makes fun of you and won’t give you a chance, that’s why I never watch those shows…”
Hmn…Sounds like there are plenty of parallels to school in that statement…
And with that, I’ll reiterate why we need more Susan Boyle triumphs to stamp out the seepage of unproductive cyncism…
All ages can understand why Susan Boyle is a media hero for youth, for talented dreamers everywhere, and for the ‘doers’ rather than the ‘be-ers’ as Saul Bellow said in his book Henderson the Rain King.
So for all those ‘mean gossip girls’ out there taking behavioral cues from the media, wipe that smirk off your face and enjoy Susan Boyle.
There’s a new media icon in town. And she’s a role model for People, Shaping Youth. Rock on, Susan Boyle. Hope to interview you soon…
Here are the Lyrics to I Dream A Dream (per NewHotdox) –
Ironically, I remember at 13 seeing Man of LaMancha at the Kennedy Center with a bone-chilling/goosebumps performance of “The Impossible Dream“…and I’ve been “tilting at windmills” a bit like Don Quixote ever since.
So pay heed to the power of music power in the media mix as a core influencer too…(Illustration by Bram Gallagher of ‘GoofyGorilla.net’ who has ‘oodles of doodles’ posted for perusal)
I Dream A Dream
I dreamed a dream in time gone by
When hope was high
And life worth living
I dreamed that love would never die
I dreamed that God would be forgiving.
Then I was young and unafraid
And dreams were made and used
There was no ransom to be paid
No song unsung
No wine untasted.
But the tigers come at night
With their voices soft as thunder
As they tear your hope apart
As they turn your dream to shame.
I dream he’ll come to me
That we will live the years together
But there are dreams that cannot be
And there are storms
We cannot weather…
I had a dream my life would be
So different form this hell I’m living
so different now from what it seemed
Now life has killed
The dream I dreamed.
“The world needs dreamers and the world needs doers. But above all, the world needs dreamers who do.”
~Sarah Ban Breathnach, Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy, 1996