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April 15, 2009

The beauty that matters

Boyle Diane, thank you for posting that video of Susan Boyle. I simply loved the way she wiped the smirks off all those faces!

I came across an excellent article by The Herald's Colette Douglas Home that sums up just why that performance was such a triumph -- and what we should learn from the woman who gave it.

Susan Boyle's story is a parable of our age. She is a singer of enormous talent, who cared for her widowed mother until she died two years ago. Susan's is a combination of ability and virtue that deserves congratulation.

So how come she was treated as a laughing stock when she walked on stage for the opening heat of Britain's Got Talent 2009 on Saturday night? . . . 

The answer is that only the pretty are expected to achieve. Not only do you have to be physically appealing to deserve fame; it seems you now have to be good-looking to merit everyday common respect. If, like Susan (and like millions more), you are plump, middle-aged and too poor or too unworldly to follow fashion or have a good hairdresser, you are a non-person. . . .

Susan is a reminder that it's time we all looked a little deeper. She has lived an obscure but important life. She has been a companionable and caring daughter. It's people like her who are the unseen glue in society; the ones who day in and day out put themselves last. They make this country civilised and they deserve acknowledgement and respect.

(Image © TimesOnline)
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Dan Gill

We were all surprised when that amazing voice came out of someone who looked somewhat less than amazing. Guilty as charged. But even that misses the point.

Yes, Susan Boyle has an immense talent. I loved listening to her, and found myself in tears. But her talent is not really what matters. What matters is the beauty of her soul. That beauty is a direct result of how God is reflected in her. I had not known of her care for her widowed mother. That makes her a stunner in my book.

Steve (SBK)

Looking at that again, it is really disturbing how little respect (and in fact disdain like "how *dare* she?") she got initially.
A good lesson for us all.
If only we could transfer virtue to our Twitter/Facebook accounts as easily as photographs.

Diane Singer

Gina, Thanks for the follow up article. I've been wondering about Susan's story ever since I heard her sing. I hope she wins, and I hope that success will not ruin her life!!


"....It's people like her who are the unseen glue in society; the ones who day in and day out put themselves last. They make this country civilised and they deserve acknowledgement and respect...."

I would bow to the present Queen of England (out of respect for her singing along the US national anthem just after 9/11---and for other similar actions...)
and I would bow to this wonderful lady also.

Both are the "glue" who hold lots of people-lives-families together.

Linda Perry

You did it again. What a lovely article. Thank you for using your great talents to bless us all.

Gina Dalfonzo

Linda, thank you, but actually most of that was a quotation! :-)

Steve (SBK)

Question: Why do people 'lose their accent' when they sing?


The smirks of the audience and judges put the lie to the view of humanity that so many have. They have lost the concept of the imago dei. The fundamental beauty of Susan in her being a bearer of the image of God and it is in her caring for her mother all these years that the beauty shines most brightly as she saw in her mother the image of God.

It make me cry and made Chris Matthews shivers run up my legs all the times I watched it, from the very first note.


Steve (SBK) wrote: "Question: Why do people 'lose their accent' when they sing?"

Hmm, I'd gently beg to differ: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000S4Y450/ref=dm_mu_dp_trk13?ie=UTF8&qid=1239916458&sr=1-1

But I think the real answer, SBK, is that God didn't make Babel as complete a confusion as we might think. Song points back to what we lost there at the Tower, but also points forward to when it will be restored again, when "every tongue shall confess" in a way that is intelligible to all. (When Gina sings six times at Easter services, she's prefiguring when all our voices will be much more angelic - and perhaps even mix with theirs!) It makes sense that the confusion from Babel would be erased somewhat as we lift up our voices - particularly to Him.

At least, that answer satisfies me personally when I wonder why it is I can be moved by a hymn sung entirely in Swahili. (cf. not only the African Children's Choir, but Ladysmith Black Mambazo, etc.)


Baby Boomers & older might remember the wonderful Ethel Waters singing
"His Eye is on the Sparrow...".

YouTube has one or more videos of her singing wonderfully before Billy Graham crusade.

When she sang in the 1970's (in the Youtube clip I saw) she had already been near death some times...but she sang with great confidence to the audience she called "Children..."

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