Thursday, April 16, 2009

On The Monster Susan Boyle

Given unkind statements made by Saul Menowitz, regarding “fifteen minutes of fame” and “returning to the farm,” over on Rod Dreher’s absurd, self-reverential and prissy-serious Crunchy Con blog (comments that may have resulted in his being banned), Sydney Brillo Duodenum is forced to pass judgment on the musical idiot savant that is Susan Boyle.

Ms. Boyle, a Scottish lady in her late forties, who adheres strictly to a 1940s wartime manner of dress and personal hygiene, stormed the stage on “Britain’s Got Talent” television show, where she was loudly mocked by an audience of Britain’s Least Talented. Before an incredulous Simon Cowell and two other people (whose celebritude matters not to SBD and thus is undeserving of googlation and notation here), who eyerolled her presence, smirked to each other, queefed some quiet gas, and got ready to bang the big gong to have the obviously disturbed eccentric hauled from the stage and nationally humiliated, Ms. Boyle presented herself and promised to sing, in the fashion of her heroine Elaine Page, the grand dame of British musical theatre (not theater), one of those laborious angst songs from Les Miserables. Admittedly, SBD at first thought the person on stage was Prime Minister Gordon Brown, in drag as a result of a bet lost to the Hasty Pudding crowd. Laughs and guffaws from the weakchinned, loose toothed crowd of social welfare recipients came from all around. From the reaction of the crowd, you would think they had wheeled the Frankenstein Monster onto the stage. As the soaring taped violins commenced I Dreamed A Dream (ain’t we all, sister?) and The Monster squinted below gargantuan hemp woven eyebrows into the kliegs and opened her unkissed lips, she revealed a gift of nature that the over educated pricks and princesses in New York City pay $500 a ticket to hear at the Metropolitan Opera. That is not an overstatement.

Ms. Boyle’s first 15 seconds of singing earned her easily her fifteen minutes of fame, but she deserves more and should at least claim a full year of notoriety and touring, before returning to the farm that Saul Menowitz soils his pj bottoms about every night. Perhaps she can join up on tour with those fat Irish chicks who bang away on violins and fiddles. Anyhow, Ms. Boyle brought down the house like a guillotine on some over-powdered French aristo’s neck. The English say “gob smacked,” and so indeed they were. For a fleeting second, SBD saw lecherous desire on Simon Cowell’s face. And now we – the world – sit transfixed in our cubes and gray fabric windowless offices, tears streaming down our faces as we watch secretly Ms. Boyle’s performance over and over again on Youtube. Gosh darnit, I have a dream, too. Some day, some how. Maybe after I eat this Twinkie I can do something about it.

This is the type of “talent” that people enjoy. It’s not that she can sing. It’s that she has absolutely nothing else going for her. Her talent is improbability. We enjoy when a talent has been housed in some poor lost soul and obscured from public view by some bizarre family tragedy or personal mismanagement. Ms. Boyle has been holed up in a cottage most of her life attending to the needs of her mother following her stern father’s death. Her mother passed two years ago, but not before cajoling her daughter to make a go of it on Britain’s Got Talent. Wonderful drama. That this woman went 40 some years before being discovered is either a travesty or the typical rough justice of life. By Sydney Brillo Duodenum’s analysis, it’s a good thing that she went undiscovered all those years, otherwise we would have no reminders of the human condition and how some people's lives really are worse than our own. But make no mistake, she found the fortitude and spirit to leave the cottage and walk onto a national stage and belt out a big Fuck You to the rest of us. We all yearn for that day when we can sing Fuck You on a national stage. Few ever get it.

Much of what passes these days as accomplishment and talent is stage managed, industry manufactured, and strikes at our visual cortex. Hideous, computer aided fantasies. No surprise there; we all know robots will wipe us out in the end. The acceleration of the shallow talent happens all across the spectrum of human endeavor. Americans just elected such an individual. American Idol and Britain’s Got Talent are designed to suss out that "talent," but most of the clowns who show up have already been corrupted by the industry and by our terribly shallow and cynical public culture, which makes Western civilization such a joy to live in. Very little raw talent ever shows up. The multitude of obese flapping crows that flock to major metropolises every year for American Idol tryouts rightly elicits our mockery and virtual torrential downpours of rotten tomatoes and lettuce.

Now this New World that is Ms. Boyle remains to be fully discovered. Right now, she is the quintessential circus freak. In fact, the words "quintessential," "circus" and "freak" were invented for just this occasion. “You mean ugly people can sing?! Mommy I want to see The Monster. Take me to see The Monster NOW!!” And they will turn out. They turn out for that other British freak of nature Paul Potts, who won the 2007 Britain’s Got Talent for his opera chops. Mr. Potts is a bit different, as he had a history of amateur effort and performance cut short by a bike accident and the necessity to work in retail. Now, he’s huge in Germany. Ask David Hasselhoff what that means. The unemployed (unemployable?) Ms. Boyle comes to us straight from the shower she apparently uses once a fortnight. Who knows, it may be only a few years from now that Ms. Boyle is shopping for Malawi children to adopt. Then we can hate her. Now, it's all love and celebration.