Motley Moose – Archive

Since 2008 – Progress Through Politics

What this whole Susan Boyle phenomenon told me…..

First let me say, I was impressed by the woman’s beautiful voice.  Inspired is not what I felt.  Saddened by the reaction of so many is closer to my emotional reaction.

I do not watch American Idol for one reason.  I get disgusted by what passes as entertainment these days.  Simon what’s-his-name’s nasty treatment turned me off the first time I witnessed it.

I will explain after the fold.

As many of you already know, I am a retired teacher.  I spent the bulk of my life working with adolescents…..mostly sixth grade but at some point I worked with all age groups from pre school thru college.  

I prided myself on my even temper, on my ability to use humor as well of TLC with kids.  But all my students knew early on there was one thing I had no tolerance for: making fun of others, insults and put downs for any reason .  I understood all of us, kids and adults, can get angry and frustrated at times.  But bullying others, for me, was unacceptable.  Making fun of someone’s looks is a form of bullying often seen with kids.  One expects adults to grow out of it.  And yet, here is one of the country’s most popular shows, using bullying as a tool.

Simon and friends are sanctioned bullies.  I despise the fact that this is considered entertainment.

So for me, when Ms Boyle came out, and as I read there were immediate snickers from the audience, encouraged by the ambience of this show, it was no surprise.  Of course the big inspiration was that despite her appearance she could sing.  

So what?  If she had no talent, then was making fun of her acceptable?   If she could not sing, then snickering and laughing at her appearance was acceptable?

People who love American Idol keep telling me to give it a chance.  That it is all in good fun.  That he is not that bad and is it not better for people to know the truth that they have no talent?

And I say:  

Of course we should be honest with people, with kindness and compassion.  But what is kind and compassionate about allowing people with no talent to go out and be humiliated in front of millions?   Of course part of the entertainment, I believe, is to put no talented people out there, to be mocked and insulted.   “They know ahead of time”  my friends tell me.  “It’s all set up” they say.  

They are in on the joke!

The teacher in me finds this a pitiful way for adults to behave.

Ask some 10 year old who watches it if they know it is all staged?  That making fun of, mocking others publicly, humiliating them with bully tactics is not real?    As a teacher, I simply cannot and will not condone public bullying as a entertainment.

The shock that people felt because this woman could sing spoke volumes about us as a society.  WHY were we shocked?  No one will come out and say it but we all know what it is.  By “entertainment standards” the woman was not pretty enough, was not thin enough, was not young enough, and certainly not dressed well enough; therefore it is a shock that she has value.  

I wish Ms Boyle the best.  I am appreciative of her talent. Her voice is beautiful!  And I hope she reaps positive rewards for taking a chance of sharing it with others.  

But what if she could not sing, would she have no value? Would the talk be of how funny it was the way the bullies on the panel mocked her for even daring to try?

Perhaps others will find me overly critical, over analyzing, over generalizing but the truth is that I have felt this way about this show for a long time.  Glorifying the right to insult, mock and make fun of others is what many of these reality shows do.

And the fact that world is shocked that a woman not fitting their standards of beauty has talent says more about us than about her.


  1. Hollede

    While I love the fisticuffs of politics, I am not interested in the superficial nonsense of Hollywood and celebrity. The cruel treatment of those who do not meet the correct standards of acceptance is very sad and I try not to participate.

    Unless they are conservative nut jobs. Then the gloves are off. Perhaps I have a need to be evil to someone and Limpbag and Coulter suffice.

  2. that’s exactly what I thought the first time I read this diary.

    Perhaps others will find me overly critical, over analyzing, over generalizing…

    But then I realized the disconnect isn’t with what we are seeing, it is what we are looking at. This is the same old blind men and the elephant story that has been around since before the time of Buddha.

    We see this event differently, because we are touching (seeing) a different part of the elephant.

    You see a callous, manipulative show and the flaws in human nature that produce bullies. And, you are right about it when viewed from that perspective. I see something entirely different. I see a story of courage in the face of ridicule. A story of facing down the fear of failure to reach for a dream. Where you see the mockery and callousness I see hopes and dreams.

    We are both right, but we have apparently grabbed onto opposite ends of the elephant. You can have your end. I think mine smells better.

  3. anna shane

    and shows it has nothing to do with wealth.  Enjoying ridicule is just nasty.   KO used to do that (I don’t watch him anymore) for his worst person stuff, he’d pick some nobody, possibly schizophrenic to mock and belittle.  

    That stuff used to be relegated to the gong show, but now it’s just cheap entertainment.  

    Does she have a great voice? I read today that the opera guy went on to an opera singing career.  Aren’t there try outs somewhere, do they have to go on teevee?  

  4. Cheryl Kopec

    …simply because I don’t receive them on my TV. Right now the only non-inane channel I receive is CBS, and after the DTV switchover in June, even that will go away. The only show I watch is news (sometimes) and Letterman. I suppose I might watch more if I got more channels, but why pay to find out? Ah, I might, for a month or two, maybe…

    So I can’t really comment on the typical treatment of reality show contestants. But I do most definitely understand what appeared to happen here (some say it was all pre-planned and scripted, but I don’t know if even the best actors could display that kind of emotional about-face, and that doesn’t even take into account the audience).

    Way to go, Susan. I’m among your second million fans on Facebook.


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