Inevitable Susan Boyle Post
April 21, 2009
Well to start with, watch the video if you haven’t already (embedding is disabled):
Okay then. This video has as of Monday been watched, on various sites around the world, over 100 million times. Susan Boyle has been all over the international press, and has in the space of a week gone from “dowdy Scottish spinster” to superstar.
1) This is why I love the internet.
2) What makes her story all the more amazing in our current landscape of art production is what media studies folks call gatekeeping. This has a pretty obivous definition, but basically means that (for example) gatekeeping is what determines whether certain articles get in the news or not. In the art world, gatekeeping consists of galleries and museums pretending not to look at unsolicited work.
The stastical likelihood of Susan Boyle ever making it through that process is probably about the same odds as winning a large-sum lottery. She has neither the artifice, the “beauty,” the formal schooling, the class/social background, nor is of the proper age to become successful by any measure. All the cards are stacked against her, and yet she sparked a worldwide frenzy and throngs of devoted fans, including yours truly.
I have nothing particularly nuanced or important to say about all this except that Susan Boyle, among other things, completely fills me with confidence and hope. Which is a lot more than a lot of medication can do.