Well, it’s been a couple weeks since Susan Boyle’s now-infamous Britain’s Got Talent performance, and we’re still seeing the effects of her newfound celebrity. Check out the New York Times Online’s front page, and you’ll see not one, but two articles in the top-ten most e-mailed today that center around you-know-who (here’s one and here’s the other).
The general analysis coming from this particular event seems to be along the “don’t judge a book by it’s cover” line of discourse, one that has actually been pretty popular recently in general (think Malcolm Gladwell’s “Blink”). But what’s interesting about this to me is the sheer size of Boyle’s internet celebrity. I honestly don’t think we’ve ever seen this before. What Harry Potter is for children’s literature, Susan Boyle has become for youtube memeâ€”she may have just redefined the term. In a sense, we seem to be watching history in the making right now. Say what you want about the “Numa Numa” or “Chocolate Rain” guys, but Boyle has surpassed them all. It’s hard to imagine that one performance could actually alter one person’s life so drastically.
So say what you want about Boyle herself (I myself think this is all a bit overblown), but you can’t deny that observing the phenomenon in action is pretty damn fascinating. We’re witnessing a whole new kind of celebrity sensation, and it’s hard to reject the internet’s central role in making this whole craze a reality.