What are we celebrating ?

The video below has been watched nearly 24 million times.  I can only speak for here in Britain but Susan Boyle’s success has brought a smile to the face of a good few people at a time when not many people are feeling that cheerful..

Here’s the question Ros asked in his daily e-mail : Do TV talent shows celebrate mediocrity?”

Here’s a reply from WHYS listener Jackie in San Diego..

“What about a different focus–not whether they celebrate mediocrity but what do they celebrate (because it might be argued that they celebrate popularity, or “feel-good”/comforting narratives) and/or are they useful?”

Here’s what Tanya Gold wrote about our reaction to her (Susan, not Jackie) :

“Why are we so shocked when “ugly” women can do things, rather than sitting at home weeping and wishing they were somebody else? Men are allowed to be ugly and talented”.

So while Susan is to get a mention on the Simpsons , and a doll of her is being made, what do we make of the fuss about her, and talent shows in general ?


Are we celebrating genuine excellence – Kelly Clarkson and Paul Potts are talent show winners in the past who’ve gone on to have good careers – or are we rather patronisingly celebrating the plumber-with-a-great-voice, or the call-centre-worker-who-can-dance-quite-well ?

6 Responses to “What are we celebrating ?”

  1. 1 Dennis Junior
    May 25, 2009 at 18:00

    …Do TV talent shows celebrate mediocrity?”….

    Yes, we have been celebrating mediocrity since the start of the
    television age….

    Although, I would like to see Susan Boyle win “Britain Got Talent” [Personal Opinion…and doesn’t represent editorial policy of BBC…]

    ~Dennis Junior~

  2. 2 Rob (UK)
    May 25, 2009 at 21:47

    TV talent shows celebrate drama – they’re entertainment shows, not interviews. People with a ‘story’ will always go further.

    Having said that, I’m glad many media outlets have caught on to the sexism inherent in being shocked than a woman who is not conventionally attractive can have any kind of skill.

  3. 3 Paul Harbin - Waco Texas
    May 25, 2009 at 22:39

    I would think, this is pretty hard proof that you don’t have to fit some stereotype mold to have a rather beautiful ability. Where does one see beauty from, the body or the mind?

    “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.”
    Is actually a paraphrase of a statement by Plato:

    “Remember how in that communion only, beholding beauty with the eye of the mind, he will be enabled to bring forth, not images of beauty, but realities (for he has hold not of an image but of a reality), and bringing forth and nourishing true virtue to become the friend of God and be immortal, if mortal man may.”
    -Plato, Symposium

    May 26, 2009 at 12:04

    YYYYassir! What beauty are we fussing about here fellas? I do not know the Boyle woman but me thinks she has luck and probably a beautiful soul; someone must have noticed it for us who don know how for her to come this far. Tell you what fellas? I am a black guy. Won’t tell a beautiful or a white missus this way or the other way.
    Let me toss me coin then an tell. Bingo! She looks a cute soul an I wish her well all the way for me. We all want to know them forks that win a lotary, don we? So? No more fussing fellas and no more scowling all ye jordies.
    When you are running out o gas an wun know what to say, give thumbs up for this brave an yul ol be ok thanks.

  5. 5 T
    May 26, 2009 at 16:22

    People can analyze these shows all day long. But what’s the bottom line? Ratings and profit.

    Simon Cowell is involved in many of these, correct? Do you really think that he cares about these contestants? Of course not. All that matters is hype. Does Simon really hate Paula? is Ryan really gay or not? The MSM plays right along. And Cowell is laughing all the way to his luxury villa.

  6. 6 cool_ick
    May 27, 2009 at 01:20

    Susan Boyle Semi final 24 May 2009 Britains Got Talent

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