Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Boyle's Lore

susan boyle Much has been said and written about Susan Boyle, and her appearance on "Britain's Got Talent"

The lady does indeed have a great voice.

One of the best articles I have come across though, was "A Point of View" from Clive James on Sunday morning. Find it here. He begins "Whatever our thrill at Susan Boyle's performance, it remains the case that audiences expect cosmetic beauty"

He then says a number of wise and witty things - clive james including his take on the comments made by Cowell and Morgan...

The commentators ...assumed that Mr Morgan and Mr Cowell had no advance knowledge that Susan would have a voice. I suppose it's possible, although I must say it seems unlikely to me. I spent 20 long years working in the front line in television studios and I seldom saw circumstances in which a surprise of such magnitude could be kept secret.

But really it doesn't matter much whether the two men were choosing their words of praise on the spot, without acting, or whether they had had time to think the words up. What mattered was what they said, and it was very instructive.

Mr Morgan was the more blatant in letting the world know that he was stunned. The message from both men was that they had expected Susan's performance to be as nondescript as her appearance was lacking in glamour...By emphasising these previous low expectations, they underlined their subsequent large-heartedness in praising her to the skies.

Many commentators were able to spot that both men were suffering from an overdeveloped sense of entitlement, in which, while expecting the rest of us to admire them because they were so ready to admit they had been wrong, we would not despise them for having held such low expectations merely because the lady was not a glamour puss.

... The conceit shown by Mr Morgan and Mr Cowell was deeply off-putting and if I had been on a special judging panel to judge the judges I would have told both of them to beware, because a name made from giving opinions in a television studio is a name written in water.

There is no more perfect recipe for self-delusion than to suppose that being a television personality is some kind of achievement in itself. The best insurance to stop it happening is to keep a recording of say, Beethoven's 7th Symphony nearby in order to remind yourself of what an actual achievement is.

I hope that Susan is able to keep her feet on the ground, and not be tarnished by the exposure to such men as Simon Cowell [with his uncannily perfect teeth!] As the press keep telling us she is a "churchgoer and spinster" [like either of those terms is a bad thing!] - so I am sure she is familiar with Peter's words

What matters is not your outer appearance—the styling of your hair, the jewellery you wear, the cut of your clothes—but your inner disposition. Cultivate inner beauty, the gentle, gracious kind that God delights in.


  1. I've found all the Susan Boyle commentary very interesting. They had to know, though, the judges and producers, about her voice, didn't they?

    Clifton, my husband, got upset on Sunday when he went to pick up Will at a playdate and the family was watching Boyle's performance. Everyone (except Will) was talking about how ugly she was. He made some hemming and hawing sort of comments about how beauty comes from the inside and how what's important is what we do, not how we look, and that, point in fact, Susan Boyle was perfectly nice-looking, if maybe a bit plain compared to talent show judges. In the car, he told Will that we don't call people "ugly," ever.

    Makes me glad I married him.


  2. What a brilliant observation from Clive James. These presenters are so 'tinsel'.


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