If you don’t yet know who Susan Boyle is, crawl out from under your rock, go to Youtube, watch all seven minutes of her “Britain’s Got Talent” audition, then come back to this page and continue reading.   A dowdy, 47-year-old, never-been-kissed Scottish woman has turned the entertainment world on its ear and elicited a genuine grin from Simon Cowell.  I believe hell might have frozen over for a few minutes there as well.

Three years ago it was Paul Potts, the British cell phone salesman in need of dental work who opened his mouth on that same stage and made folks across England look twice at their tellies and inquire, “Luciano?”  And now we have Susan Boyle, a woman who could probably sell out a U.S. tour in a matter of moments right now, yet completely unknown just two weeks ago.

What shall we make of this?

Well, I have a theory (you knew it was coming, didn’t you).  Actually my theory is two-fold.  First, I think this phenomenon might have something to do with the aging baby-boomer generation.  Those of us in our late 40s, 50s, and 60s represent a mighty marketing demographic, and we’re just about wise enough now to appreciate true talent over superficial beauty.   Thirty years ago if a would-be celebrity couldn’t appeal to 17 year olds, they weren’t considered viable in commercial music.  Now?  Well, screw the whippersnappers.  Who needs ’em?  We might be stiff crawling out of bed in the mornings, but we can deliver up platinum album sales if we take a mind to.

The second part of my theory is a bit more esoteric.  I wonder if there might be an evolutionary step we’ve taken that has caused us to be more in tune with what is real.  I’m a creative person and value the creative process.  I’ve read “The Artist’s Way.”  But, there are some things you can’t create.  Susan Boyle’s moment in the spotlight was the artistic equivalent of lightening striking, and even the best director or producer would tell you that you just can’t create that.  Sometimes magic happens, whether on a movie set, under a Broadway proscenium arch, or on a talent show stage.  And that magic is when absolute authenticity shines from a pure place.

Susan Boyle might not look like a star, but she’s real.  And that true self she presents to the world is what we crave.  We don’t want to sing like Susan Boyle.  We want to have the courage to be as authentic.

Either that, or it all boils down to Boomers becoming as Youtube savvy as the whippersnappers.

Barry and Liz Chat It Up

CNN was abuzz last night about all the protocol the Obamas would have to follow to meet Queen Elizabeth.  Fortunately, they were not required to bow.  Apparently American citizens don’t have to bow to the Queen of England.

But there were other considerations.  They were not to speak until the Queen spoke first.  They were not to touch the Queen.  When they met the Queen, she would stick her hand out first to greet them, and then they could reach their hands out to shake hers.   They were to never have their backs to the Queen.  In their private audience, the Queen would leave the room first or walk out with them in order to avoid this horrible event that would probably cause the worlds to stop turning in at least eight different universes.

I’m a quasi- Anglophile.  I’m about as interested in all things British as any good English Literature major.   I admire the fact that the Brits have managed to keep a monarchy going for a bejillion-and-a-half years, and I can be moved by tradition, pomp, and circumstance as much as the next rebellious Yank.   But, I cannot help but hear the above ridiculous protocol for a President of the United States (for god’s sake) meeting the Queen of England without rolling my eyes and letting fly with a very American “Good grief.”  Get over yourself, Bess.

Perhaps it’s simply my baseball and apple pie showing, but it goes against every liberty-loving cell of my body to hear the news of ANYBODY bowing to ANYBODY, with the singular exception of curtain-call time on Broadway.

I see two ways the British Monarchy can continue to be relevant:

1)   Skip right past Charles and have William’s coronation.  Tomorrow.

2)  Figure out some way to convince Elizabeth to join the 20th Century (Yes, I mean 20th; even I’m not enough of an optimist to think she could make the leap all the way to the 21st).

God Save the Queen.  From her own pomposity.