Like millions of people, I have watched Susan Boyle's appearance on Britain's Got Talent through the miracle of You Tube. I dabbed tears from my eyes as the cynical crowd leaped to its feet when she nailed the song from the opening note. I got a lump in my throat as Simon stared at her, looking positively beatific with his chin in his hands. He was gushing, and we all know Mr. Cowell is not the gushing type. I've emailed the link to the video, I've Facebooked it and shown it to every member of my family. I adore this woman who is only six years older than I am.
We are being led to believe that the takeaway lesson here is that "you can't judge a book by its cover", or that a middle-aged frumpy female isn't a cipher in today's society. Certainly, both these cliches are ridiculous, and should be outright rejected. But ultimately, I think that we love Susan Boyle because for the first time since Captain Sully landed that plane in the Hudson River three months ago, we were given a glimpse of good news...of hope.
To be clear, that does not diminish the immense talent this woman has. In fact, we are now being treated to a decade old recording of Susan belting out "Cry Me a River" which confirms her immense talent, and proves she's not a one-hit wonder.
I don't know about anyone else, but I am starved for good news...any good news. I need to be uplifted. How sad is it that we seem to only hear of a truly redeeming act of courage and bravery and gumption once every quarter this year? Susan may not have landed a plane on a river and saved more than a hundred and fifty lives, but it took chutzpah to cross that stage, stare down a snarky crowd and three judges paid for their honed criticisms and to sing with emotion and strength and joy. So why is the good news being piecemealed to us in such small quantities? We leap on these stories after being inundated with the tales of Bernard Madoff and his ilk.
Stories like this one from NPR are buried beneath the dreck:
"A mystery is unfolding in the world of college fundraising: During the past few weeks, at least nine universities have received gifts totaling nearly $45 million, and the schools had to promise not to try to find out the giver's identity. One school went so far as to check with the IRS and the Department of Homeland Security just to make sure a $1.5 million gift didn't come from illegal sources."
Where is more of this information? I don't suggest that we stick our collective heads in the sand and ignore reality but I don't believe there isn't more room for the truly uplifting in the media today.