Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.
--C.S. Lewis--

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Susan Boyle

By now, everyone has seen Susan Boyle's performance on Britain's Got Talent. If you haven't, here it is. Unlike most everyone else, I don't really see much of a deeper meaning in it. She's had a rough life, and had she sung badly, or even done an average job, her life would be a little rougher. She'd be one of those many unfortunate souls we all (justifiably in my book) love to mock during the opening episodes of American Idol (or, I would assume BGT for those in the UK). She did sing well, so instead she is an inspiration who challenges us to follow our dreams, no matter how unlikely they are. Ok, fine. Just remember that for every Susan Boyle, there are 50 talentless morons who think they are the next Carrie Underwood. That's how life works. We use the words "average" and "exceptional" for a reason. Most people are average, and for every exceptionally good person, there's a naughty end of the bell curve too.

I did have one thought, however. While not profound, I find it mildly entertaining. Most professional singers, especially those of the female variety, are impossibly pretty. Unless there is some correlation between above-average physical appearance and above-average vocal talents (and singers worldwide prior to the advent of the music video would argue against such a conclusion), this is obviously a marketing strategy. You want to squeeze every bit of advantage you can out of each investment, so why dump money into the ugly girl if you can instead invest in an up-and-coming Taylor Swift? Her songs may all be about matters of vital importance only to 15 year-old girls, but some percentage of guys will come along for the ride just because of her looks.

Ok, none of that is really earth-shattering info. But, here's the rub. What happens if Susan Boyle becomes a financial success as well as a Youtube sensation? Being a "common man" can translate into marketing success if you hit the right chord (see Ricky Hatton's ticket sales as proof). Since marketing types tend to follow the crowd, isn't it possible that a financially successful Susan Boyle will cause other record labels to look for their own common man? I think it would be kind of fun to see the hotties frozen out in favor of the notties for a while. Although honestly, I think sex is a far more powerful force in our world than human kindness, so I wouldn't hold my breath.