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Tuesday, June 02, 2009

The Media's attack on Susan Boyle

Ok I'm sorry to do this, but I want to comment again on Susan Boyle and some of the stuff going on in the press, because it's actually gone out of control now, and it's starting to look ridiculous.

There's a considerable effort going on to manipulate this into something else from all quarters of the media which really concerns me. The level of rhetoric around this is actually frightening.

The Guardian has serious problems with Susan Boyle as we've already seen, so today let's start with Amanda Platell in the Daily Mail, assuming she actually wrote this article it's so extraordinary.

In a shocking commentary, Platell suggests that it was inevitable that this "middle-aged woman with learning difficulties" (again constantly reminded about this -j) would "unravel before our very eyes" , that she would 'break down' (really not sure what this means) and that this would create more 'freakish' spectacle. Ultimately Platell concludes, it was "wrong to take an awkward, 48-year-old virgin with a good but not great voice, (but clearly demonstrating worrying signs of stress) and thrust her on to the national stage ".

Does this sound like someone normal, someone reasonably comfortable with themselves and their life writing this ?

Platell even says that isn't it good that "David Wilson, Professor of Criminology at Birmingham City University, warned in last week's Mail that Susan was too fragile to take the pressure."

Professor of Criminology ? What was Susan's crime ?

And I find it mindboggling that Platell suggests that Boyle is 'not qualified' or you have to be a certain sort of person to be allowed to perform or something and that certain sort of person will be able to deal with the stresses of fame afterward.

There's many top name celebrities who really haven't been able to deal with the rigors of incredible success either, long before Susan Boyle came along. If Amanda Platell had a memory longer than a few minutes she might like to check the Daily Mail's archives. I'd say Boyle is doing rather well.

A tiny bit of what Platell is saying about Cowell is true. No question that Cowell and his researchers knew exactly what was going on very early on, and loved what they saw and went with it. No question there's been 'presentation' shall we say. But you know something ? That's not the crime here. And as far as I can tell from what I've read, that presentation, although by no means should be seen as the entire person, seems reasonably in accord with Susan's background.

And I should say as well, if it's that crooked in the way Platell suggests, then guys, you can't help but ask the question, why not make it so crooked that she just wins ? You see that's what's missing here. That's what's conspicuous.

Of course the other thing that's very conspicuous are these pages and pages of astonishing vitriol written about this woman. Which as far as I can see, a lot of journalists want to deride Susan Boyle through various articles designed to not look like they are trying to do that, by seemingly chastising others for doing so. The mysterious: 'them', 'those people', 'them out there' are doing it. Or in particular 'we' did this to Susan or 'we' did that. I'm not aware I've done anything. Amazing. And they don't think anyone is seeing straight through it.

You see, if you really think she is pathetic, why are you writing this stuff? That would say a lot more about you than Susan Boyle. There's a clue guys to one of the big issues in this.

They want us to believe Simon Cowell is bad, for in their analysis, creating a 'freak show', which I think is a seriously unpleasant injection, and just not correct in Boyle's case. I'm just not aware of Susan Boyle being a 'freak' in a 'freak show' other than the likes of Amanda Platell wanting to tell us that.

And what Amanda Platell in the Mail, Tanya Gold, Joan Smith et al in The Guardian and others like them don't seem to understand is Simon Cowell's not putting a gun to your head making you repeatedly write this shit over and over. And folks I'm not defending Cowell who's clearly a very slippery and shadowy character.

He's not making you tell us again, and again and again and again, how she 'should' suddenly be defined at the outset by her alleged learning difficulties. And then you tell us she is 'cracking up', 'breaking down' and we are failing our 'duty of care' then you repeat stuff about 'hairy angel', 'spinster', 'vulnerable', 'insecure', 'wanting to fit in' (which I don't agree with) and the that whole thing has been a 'freak show after all' and all about humiliation, is akin to 'bear bating', and presumably she's the freak either way even if the creation of the freak show is not her fault. Platell tells us the dream has become a nightmare. Apparently she can't win.

I just find this extraordinary. It's so utterly vile, so difficult to disguise as anything other than bitter poisonous vitriol it really makes we wonder about those writing this stuff, apparently trying to feel better about themselves at Susan Boyle's expense.

And what's fascinating is Platell is effectively asking us to believe Susan Boyle doesn't exist, but guess what folks ? Platell starts her article by telling us how Diversity (with that name to boot) does.

You see this is what's wrong guys. You can't have it both ways.

Part of Platell and the others must also really think Simon Cowell is wonderful, as his evil machinations have created such an easy target for them to bash. Platell and her ilk thinks it's safe territory and won't reflect on them, and because everyone is doing it in the media that makes it ok.

Wrong. Everyone isn't doing it. Everyone isn't calling Susan Boyle every name under the Sun and thinking that behavior is normal. Same way everyone isn't saying how terrible the MP's expenses scandal is either. I'm not. And Platell who I who I once used to like, should be very careful of copying others, you may just fall off a cliff and embarrass yourself.

You claim that Susan Boyle was humiliated. Funny. I see it the other way round. I see journalists humiliating themselves over this in trying to tell us this stuff. You claim Boyle 'didn't know what she was doing'. Funny. I see it the other way round and you don't know what you're doing or you just wouldn't be doing it.

What Platell doesn't get, she really doesn't get, is who's being manipulated here. She just can't get it. They all think they are powerful and telling the 'truth'.

What happened with Susan Boyle was a phenomenal thing, perhaps one of the greatest pieces of entertainment media in a very long time. It was brilliant and astounding and an amazing global success, with a wonderful message to it. I just wonder if that message became a little bit dangerous, and later down the line there was an attempt to reel it back in at least as far as this show goes, with dubious headlines being leaked out about Boyle, and a new atmosphere that would be fed to the press. And I just don't think a lot of people in the media understand this.

The level of this everywhere from the Guardian to the Mail is what's really bizarre, and maybe it's because Boyle represents a complete rejection of most of these journalist's lives, and she makes them very uncomfortable. This is then spun maliciously into a list of flaws about Boyle, which we are now suddenly 'supposed' to see her through, despite her incredible achievements on that show.

I very much doubt Amanda Platell, Tanya Gold and Joan Smith are ever going to hold themselves up to that criteria, and would see it as 'completely unacceptable' and an outrageous 'moral abomination' yet they are quite happy to hold Susan Boyle to it.

I said this at the time. People like Boyle are not well liked because they are a bit quirky or whatever, I actually think they are seen as slightly threatening.

There is a strength in her image and meekness, and it's symbolic. And that initial performance that captured the imagination of the world reminds everybody that the world is a complex place rather than a world of brainless stereotypes. A little bit of that may be ok, but in the end it's not liked. Power wants a world of brainless stereotypes, and from any angle Susan Boyle doesn't represent one of their 'cool' ones.

And that's why she was punished in the final. And everything she stands for, her background, her Britishness, her independence and incredible popularity can all be trumped with a 'modern' meaningless nothing word like 'diversity' as a far more suitable message to everyone.

There is a mistake people make, especially people in the alternative news. Not everything the media does is bad. Sometimes light breaks through, but it typically doesn't break through for very long, and may indeed break through for other reasons that we can all easily be too cynical and circumspect about later on, but it breaks through nonetheless.

And in the end, the Simon Cowells of this world don't decide whether people have talent or have a special gift or not. Their talent, their gifts, their personality and their soul stand up all by themselves.

The things that are underhand, cynical, and outright twisted about all this are that Susan Boyle didn't win Britain's Got Talent and that the British media have been so easily manipulated into attacking her, and exposed as ridiculous, insecure bitter cretins in doing so.

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