I’m loving angels instead

According to today’s Daily Mirror, Susan Boyle is ‘Britain’s Singing Angel’ – although their website calls her the ‘hairy angel‘, which has whole new levels of WTF-ness.

Apparently the red-tops believe the language of angels is something we buy into, and maybe some people do, but I find it all a bit bizarre.

It’s long been a term used for nurses (whilst soldiers are heroes, cos soliders are mostly men and nurses are mostly wimmins, innit?) and for dead children, but lately it’s been applied to anyone even vaguely ‘tragic’ – and now for Boyle, for reasons unclear.

‘Tragic’ Diana, Natasha and Jade (because all people who suffer or die prematurely are automatically tragic, particularly if they are children, women or beautiful) were all ‘angels’ – in Jade’s case even before her death, whilst all small children who die (or go missing a la Maddy, or who are in some way disadvantaged, disabled and so on) automatically assume angel status. However, Boyle seems an unlikely candidate for the title. The reasons why angel is used seem baffling, too. Religious imagery and iconography is forever being recycled in popular culture at the moment (I know, I’m doing a PhD on it) but angels are messengers traditionally, not dead people or heroic people. Does the metaphor provide people with some comfort or inspiration? I don’t know, I’m asking…

I could deal with the hyperbole of Boyle being a ‘singing sensation’ for example, as it’s the red-tops’ job to create such cliches – and the other papers’ jobs to either pull these people down (the Daily Mail/Express) or discuss what they ‘tell us about society’ (the others) – but angel seems an odd choice. What has Boyle done that is remotely ‘angelic’? She’s sung well despite not looking like the type of person who does well on these shows – though I mantain she would not have been featured on The X Factor, as Britain’s Got Talent is the appropriate Cowell vehicle for the ‘quirky’ (which they believe she is, even if she’s just an ordinary woman with a good voice to the rest of us). I guess she’s a ‘real person for the real people to like’ now Jade’s gone, but an angel?

And as for the hairy part, well much has been written all over the net about how they’re representing her, but seriously, how offensive can you get?

Ms Boyle’s a great singer, and I hope she does well. I hope ITV’s talent shows change their offensive policy to those who don’t fit their traditional moulds, although I know that they won’t. Boyle is our token ‘strange’ candidate, as Michelle McManus and Paul Potts were our token ‘fatties’. I feel sorry for Boyle. She’s in a no-win situation at the moment. If she changes her appearance, she’ll be accused of selling out, if she doesn’t, she’ll continue to be mocked/patronised. If she wants to be a singer she has to play this game of trial by telly/tabloid and all the associated bull that comes with it. I have no problem with television talent shows per se, as a way of giving people an opportunity they may not otherwise have. As you will all know by now, I have a major problem with the way they present people, though.

I hope SB has the balls to do whatever she wants and let her voice do all the work, but let’s be honest, the ITV light ent people and the press will never let her do that, will they? Not when she’s our ‘hairy angel’. Perform, angel, perform, and make us all feel better that we let someone a bit older and less groomed than usual be made legitimate for once, then we can resume normal service when The X Factor comes back around.



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