FOR more than a week now, people on both sides of the Atlantic have been using the story of Susan Boyle — the dowdy Scottish spinster who sang her way to fame on “Britain’s Got Talent” TV show — as an example of just how shallow we’ve become.
Andy Barr/News International/ZUMA Press
WHAT YOU SEE ... in the case of Susan Boyle, isn’t what “Britain’s Got Talent” (or the world) expected.
Unlikely Singer Is YouTube Sensation (April 18, 2009)
Andrew Milligan/Associated Press
WHO’S THAT GIRL! Fame has changed Susan Boyle (her look, anyway).
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Before she sang, Ms. Boyle seemed to be merely a frumpy 47-year-old unemployed church volunteer who lived alone with her cat, Pebbles, and had, she said, “never been kissed” (a claim that she later took back).
Now, after the video of her performance went viral, a flurry of commentary has focused on how we stereotype people into categories, how we fall victim to the prejudices of ageism or look-ism, and how we should learn, once and for all, not to judge books by their covers.