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British Songbird Idol Intones Beauty From Within

April 20, 2009
By James L. Hirsen, J.D., Ph.D.
contributor to

Susan Boyle is an authentic phenom.

Fifty million and climbing have tuned in to see and hear the YouTube angel lift them in song.

Media watchers are in awe, just like everyone else. But they also have been digging deep to try to come up with a way to explain Boyle’s immense appeal.

Most have missed the main reason why the public is so enamored and filled to the brim with emotion: In our British and American cultures, superficiality has become the norm, and this is especially true when it comes to our celebrated.

Image is controlled, persona puffed up, mistakes expunged, messages scripted, and perception programmed.

Boyle comes along and makes it as real as real can get. No agent hyping, no publicist pitching, no stylist primping, no coaches prodding — no one dictating to us what we’re seeing and hearing. In a nutshell, there were no barriers to block our view or shade the truth.

She presents her unvarnished self to the world. That just doesn’t happen very often — onscreen or off.

In an equally profound sense, we just can’t help but resonate to Britain’s newfound talent. In common parlance, we can relate.

Taking risks takes courage, something most of us have difficulty harnessing and maintaining.

Boyle had additional motivation, too, a higher purpose for her actions; and that was a desire to honor her departed mom.

When we attach something to our endeavors that is greater than ourselves, courage frequently rushes in. This makes Boyle something else we all strive to be at some time in our lives: a hero to someone else.

Deep in our traditional collective soul is the parable of the underrated individual who ultimately triumphs. It is the stuff of fairy tales, TV dramas, and movie matinees.

Screenplay guru Blake Snyder calls this story element “Fool Triumphant,” when an individual who normally would be overlooked ends up the victor.

For the millions who listen to Boyle sing, the inspiration lingers long after the music fades.


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James L. Hirsen, J.D., Ph.D.
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