I'm sure by now you, your cat, and possibly your best friend's rhododendron have all seen Susan Boyle sing her little heart out over in Britain somewhere while people gasped in shock and awe.
Yes yes, it's a heart warming story. Can't believe she did it. Blah blah blah. But stop and think about it for a second. Just why the hell was everyone surprised?
You do not have to have plucked eye brows, be 110 pounds and 20 years old to be able to belt out a great rendition of a song from Les Miserables. (In fact I've since learned that your voice actually gets better with age up til about 45 and if you know how to take care of it, it can last 10-15 years past that.)
Our society is digging itself into a deeper and deeper hole of plasticized culture. You can no longer have any worth unless you are young, attractive and thin. Truly, you could be the best singer this world has ever seen but unless you look like Shakira if you dare to appear in public you shall be scorned and ridiculed.
But it isn't just the music industry. To get published you can't just send in an exciting page turner you spent your life on, no you also have to be able to sell that book when you make the talk show rounds. So you'd better be as hot as possible or no one will buy it.
Just think of all those literary giants: Shakespeare, Mark Twain, Oscar Wilde. Do you think they'd really stand a chance to have their ideas heard in this day and age when youth and beauty are far prized over experience or talent? Can you imagine Jane Austen or Emily Dickinson competing in a wet t-shirt competition. Or Dante being told he has to sex up his image to get more people to buy their own copy of the Divine Comedies?
It's just accepted that unless someone looks the part there is no way they have anything interesting to say. I'm reminded of a humor novel written by one Michael J. Nelson that actually touched upon this idea where an older man writes a fictional adventure novel. Only no one will take him seriously so he hires a young strapping actor who looks the part to pretend to be the author and suddenly there's talk of the book hitting the best seller lists.
Honestly, I foresee something like that happening in a few years. The question though is will we praise the author who has to hide her mind behind a pretty face as we do Boyle for doing what she can to get recognized or will we shame her for lying to us all on Oprah's couch.
P.S. There's a new Target Women that makes me so glad I use Gillette, though then I can't actively start boycotting Schick for these god awful commercials: