SHORT STORY

Susan Boyle and the lost link
by Mario Persona

It’s one or the other: either that neanderthalesque look, with disheveled hair, little eyes covered by huge thick eyebrows and rosy cheeks, is a practical joke, or the program "Britain’s Got Talent" has found the missing link.

Actually it’s neither. That caricature of a woman is Susan Boyle and her presence on stage opens a Pandora’s Box of mockery. When Susan reveals her dream to be a professional singer, like Elaine Paige, one third of her weight, the audience debauches. 

In the jury, the actress Amanda Holden, joined by the skeptic Piers Morgan and the acetic Simon Cowell, is striving to look as neutral as possible, but her beautiful face seems to say: "This will be fun." That’s only until the voice of Susan touches the first chords of "I dreamed a dream." Then Amanda’s mouth opens in disbelief. 

The audience goes into a state of delirium. In a few days Susan Boyle is seen over a hundred million times on Youtube and many more times in global media. The title of Victor Hugo’s novel, "Les misérables," which the song evokes is emblematic. 

Susan Boyle is a miserable singing for miserables. Ugly, with a learning disability and without ever having had a boyfriend, she is everything any of us would not like to be, but are. However, when she starts to sing even Amanda Holden wants to be Susan. Amanda stands up to applaud and the camera contrasts her slim body with the silhouette of that cannon thundering on stage. 

Perhaps it is not correct to say that we ‘are’ miserable, but that we ‘are momentarily’ miserable, just as today Susan ‘is momentarily’ ugly and Amanda ‘is momentarily’ beautiful. In fifty years Amanda, now sensual, will look like a cannon, and her skin, now peachy, will be as wrinkled as a ripen passion fruit. The audience and the jury applaud because they cheer for Susan and for themselves, also deprived of love and perfection, only under different cosmetic layers. 

Strange we humans! The standards of goodness, justice and beauty we look for are far above which we can achieve. Where does this comes from? We live on earth, but gaze at the stars, because we have in us a sense of infinity. It is as if God had planted eternity in our hearts. Or did He? 

The paradox, however, is that we humans, though capable of great feats and thoughts infinitely above any other living being, are also capable of atrocities never seen in the most terrible irrational beast. We kill our children to eat them at dinner, but we can also create an infinite number of filigree from only seven perfect musical notes, as Susan is doing on stage. 

And when she sings, she reminds us that there is dignity in us humans that goes beyond which can be seen. It is the divine breath, which no animal has. For this reason God did not give up on us and wanted to become a perfect human being, in Jesus, though looking miserable in His outer appearance. 

This is why we cheer for Susan Boyle, the same way we cheer for the Beast of Beauty, the hunchback of Notre Dame and Frodo (from "The Lord of the Rings") with his hairy feet, living under the influence of the temptation of the ring. We identify ourselves with failed heroes because we believe we can still be loved, redeemed and transformed out of this miserable condition. It is as if we were missing Paradise. 

Susan Boyle is not the missing link. She revealed that the link exists, but not to an ancestral ape. Under that ugly, miserable and transient appearance we could see a being created in the image of God. It was not a stranger on stage. On that stage I saw myself as God sees me and loves me. And I saw you.

Mario Persona é consultor, escritor e palestrante. Veja emwww.mariopersona.com.br