UPDATED! below to address Rosie O'Donnell's dehumanizing comments.
Like so many people, I watched the YouTube clip of Susan Boyle’s singing performance (thanks, Imelda, for the link!). I thought she was fabulous: tremendously talented and very dignified as she refused to take any guff from the judges.
It’s the after-interviews that are troubling me. Miss Boyle has remained her dignified self through them, but I feel that some of the so-called compliments in these interviews are worse than the early insults.
Take the Early Show, for instance. The female interviewer remarked to Miss Boyle that before she sang, the crowd was “laughing at you, not taking you seriously.”
Did she expect Miss Boyle to agree, to say, “Yes, my physical presence renders me unworthy of respect”? Did she expect Miss Boyle to have no self-esteem, to gladly concur that her physicality deserved a mocking?
Miss Boyle silenced the interviewer by saying, “You have to take yourself seriously.”
What troubles me is that there’s a spoken assumption that Miss Boyle should have been short on confidence because of the way she looks. And the interviewers seem to want Miss Boyle to agree that she should have been initially deemed unworthy.
“You have to take yourself seriously,” she said. And I wish that the interviewers would stop trying to lower her self-esteem by planting ideas in her mind that she does not meet society’s (wildly unattainable) standards of beauty.
Susan Boyle takes herself seriously. Everyone else should too.
UPDATE: And now Rosie O'Donnell is using this event to applaud Simon Cowell. Boyle's performance, she says, "humanized" Cowell; he was able to demonstrate his humanity in appreciating both the performance and its singer.
The problem is that O'Donnell dehumanized Boyle to make her point, calling her a "freaky miss, a fat, ugly girl, like Shrek comes to life." Boyle is hardly monstrous, a Shrek-like ogre, but O'Donnell made her so to praise Cowell, as well as to "compliment" Boyle on her performance, in an utterly backhanded swipe.