Inevitable Susan Boyle Post

April 21, 2009

Well to start with, watch the video if you haven’t already (embedding is disabled):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9lp0IWv8QZY

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.

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2 Responses to “Inevitable Susan Boyle Post”

  1. Grace Says:

    Hurry for Susan Boyle, she makes me smile.

  2. Will Says:

    Thanks for mentioning the story, I’d passed up the video
    until now. A wonderful moment, and a nice counterpart to
    Paul Potts’ Nessun Dorma performance.

    What I love about stories like this is that they
    give us a chance to see one of us regular people being listened
    to and celebrated. This is what I think we long for…the hero
    inside every one of us brought out in blazing glory for all to see.


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