Talent Without the Trappings

Hm. Well, a number of people could fit the Susan Boyle story arc to some extent: Roseanne. Rhea Perlman. Charlie Kaufman. Woody Allen. Andy Warhol. Beth Ditto. Less extreme examples: Eddie Izzard. Nathan Lane. Many of these, though, were (like Streisand) quite aware of their packaging.  I’m not sure, though, that awareness guarantees success. They fulfill your conditions in that they’re talented and they aren’t conventionally good-looking people wearing modernish clothes. Then again, several of these deliberately cultivated the iconoclastic package… do you consider that a version of the same thing?

Writerwise, Alice Munro. Came to it late with none of the connections, accoutrements or pretensions of the New York set, and soared. Pynchon and Salinger?



One Response to Talent Without the Trappings

  1. Carla Fran says:

    Hmm…I have to quibble. I think Roseanne and Rhea Perlman were cast because of their looks–not that they aren’t talented, but just that their talent wasn’t the full force of their accomplishment. Beth Ditto is quite the society dahling, and while I am aware that she sings, foremost I think of her as a fashion maven. They aren’t exactly wunderkinds (or wunderfraus?) with knock-out-beat-it-all talent…and, besides Ditto, they didn’t get handed the moon. I’m looking for the local kid makes good story…maybe a la Jennifer Hudson?

    Looks are part of it, but so are connections, and the ability to chat well with others. You may have rockstar talent, but if you can’t make love to the camera, then it seems that the DJ will not save your life.

    This sounds so downtrodden of me…I think there is a common fantasy that as long as you keep your head down and practice and work, then soon enough, recognition will be had. I think Susan Boyle shows us this (although her head was up enough to go the audition). But, it seems like she demonstrates the immensity of the opposite (which is the real formula). The package matters.

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