Saturday, April 25, 2009

Unreality TV

I love Susan Boyle. I love her in the way I love Ugly Betty in all her international versions, and, clearly, Hugo. Oh, and Spiderman. It's always nice to have the underdog suddenly getting karmic revenge and becoming the hero, for a day, for a minute or for three increasingly bad movies. The problem is, Susan is pretty real. She's a flesh and blood woman with a splendid voice, and since I heard her audition video for the first time something seemed slightly manufactured over there. I mean, how flabbergasted could the jury be when the camera has been following her around?
Well, apparently they had very good reason to follow her around, as there had been talent scouts looking for her for the program (they explain it better at Susan Boyle and Paul Potts: Not Quite Out of Nowhere - TIME). Well, good for her, and good for the program, but I just wish they had been just this bit honest about it and save us the "oh dear so surprised really" speeches, because, people, Cinderella stories depend on fairy godmothers and hard work.

Now, this was Susan in 1999. She deserved it big time, already, ten years ago:

Too often on television we are sent these messages that your life can change suddenly, and for the better, and we don't hear the stories of tough luck, frustration, dusting off and starting again. That's the fun fact of reality TV --it seems so indistinguishable from reality itself that unless we keep a cynical eye open at all times we overlook the constructions, the editings, the half lies and the make up. Or did you think that dress suddenly happened on poor Susan? Two scenarios: someone told her to wear it, or nobody told her not to wear it. In any case, my guess is people in the public would have laughed a lot less if she had come in different clothes. And yep, that's what I call manufacturing.

Serendipically, today I've also encountered the news that Elle Magazine, French edition, has decided to run an issue on stars without make-up, or photoshop , i.e. to Susan Boyle them a little.

...but just a little. Real beauté comes

with an electric fan and tweezers.

And damn good genes.

This is something that happens quite regularly on glossy magazines, like, once in approximately every five years. The lesson seems to be something like "hey, you can be beautiful without make up, but not so much, so, hey, feel good about yourself, but duh, you better get some products, it's totally worth it. Oh, and did you notice how pro-women issues we are?." Well, thanks. No, really. These issues have to appear every five years or so, so that the new generations stop and think for a second about something schools don't usually make them think about, i.e. reality in the media is ma-nu-fac-tu-red. Make up and hairdressers are nice, photoshop and surgery, ok, not so much, but in any case I do hope that Susan gets some in the near future because, damnit, she deserves it (certainly that's what google seems to be implying by having "makeover" featuring so prominently when you search her name in it). But please don't come and tell me later she woke up one morning and her hair was suddenly longer and straighter please.

And the best of luck, really, on the media jungle she's just gotten into.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

The holiness of the multiplication table

...didn't know this film existed! I definitely have to get a copy :)

Inherit the Wind