Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Indulging in Dreaming

I stumbled across this article which showed Chinese netizens' reactions to the Britain's Got Talent singing phenomenon Susan Boyle. Here are a few of my favourites:

I do not understand what she is singing but my eyes are moist. I am so touched I am shaking uncontrollably. She is 47-years-old, and she walked onto the stage to sing “I have a dream!” I am 42-years-old. I [now] feel I very much have a future! Thank you SUSAN!

Watching foreign television shows, I have a feeling of truth/real. When can our country’s television shows be true/real?

After listening, I am truly moved. She made me believe that even ordinary people like us can also show our radiance. Suddenly, I feel I too am not that ordinary.

I find it interesting that quite a lot of the press over here, at least a lot that I have read, has been negatively skewed in terms of the voyeurism of the 'reality' TV show genre and disgust at the initial reaction of the audience to Ms. Boyle before she opened up her fantastic pair of lungs, example here.

Then we look at the Chinese comments and all people seem to have is praise and admiration, not just for Susan (I found the first woman's comment particularly moving) but for the reality TV show as we know it.

I'll be honest, I have never been a fan of shows like Dancing on Ice, X-Factor or Britain's Got Talent. I will watch them but I never vote and will not be on tender hooks if I haven't seen it. I, as many other people on our fair isle, have always been kind of disturbed by the fact that people are transfigured into entertainment, their back stories, hope and dreams are all hammed up for our viewing pleasure. I just don't like it.

But then I read these comments from people on the other side of the world drawing so much optimism from this show that gets such a bad wrap over here. People say that The X-Factor and Britain's Got Talent and the fame obsessed society are what is wrong with Britain today - but now I am not so sure.

Britain's Got Talent especially shows people from all walks of life, all kinds of different people of all ages; short, tall, fat and skinny and occasionally those with weird double jointed tendencies - everyone is represented.

If this show gives people in China hope that they can make better people of themselves, that they don't have to be conventionally sexy or young to have success, then maybe we need to have a bit more positivity vis-a-vis this talent show and the quirky contenders in it.

Maybe I don't necessarily agree with the 15-minutes-of-fame-obsessed culture that seems to go hand in hand with this genre of entertainment (to be frank I an sure the 'obsession' with fame has existed long before TV and Britain's Got Talent), but if this programme gives people all over the world 'hope' - which after all is the buzz word of 2009 - then why don't we just brush off our cynical British selves and indulge in a little bit of dreaming?

In other news isn't this purging business causing a stir - here is a blog from Dave, an incredibly intelligent man, that I particularly enjoyed on the subject.

1 comment:

Nicholas said...

To quote avenue q "there's a fine fine line" between solicitousness and voyeurism.

To put people on a stage and let the sing, juggle, etc is a fun thing. To embarass them in front of a camera, tell their life stories etc... not so much fun.

Even if they agree to it, maybe even want it, it's the job of good/serious media to be the filter between them and us.

That being said, I teared up when I heard Susan sing "I dreamed a dream", so the sympathy in this case won. In many others, it didn't.