Why Susan Boyle is so popular
From Mark Blankenship, here is one stab at the question:
No matter how much we mock those we consider beneath us, it's much more satisfying to be reminded that everyone has dignity.
That's because when we laugh at someone for being a freak, we're
laughing out of fear. We're laughing because we want to prove that we
are not like that loser over there. If we can shame the people who don't belong, then we can prove that we do.
When we embrace an outsider, though, we're paving the way
for our own acceptance in the future. Eventually, we'll all feel like
outcasts, and none of us wants to be laughed at. The Susan Boyle Story
suggests we won't be. Instead of fearing for our own eventual shame, we
can count on society to hear what's beautiful in us. We can trust that
if we just show our true selves, we will be embraced.
Whether or not that moral is true in the real world, it's alluringly
true in the Susan Boyle Story. By participating in the narrative that
television has constructed for her, by cheering her on and watching her
video over and over, we can not only feel good about graciously
welcoming an outsider, but also feel relief for helping create a world
that will someday welcome us.
I thank Mary Anne Sieghart, at TheBrowser, for the pointer.