11 May 2009

Judging A Book By Its Cover...


I have waited for a long time to put words to blog on this one. There are a number of reasons, but primarily the reason was that I was too busy moving from Indonesia to Australia and then getting sorted out here. However, there now seems to be more time as we have settled in and formed some routines that allows a little more time for blogging.

Britain's Got Talent is really a mixed entertainment deal but there always seems to be a lot of singers trying to be the one that has the talent. I have always said to my Wife that American Idol would be really great if they had this amazing singer that was as ugly as [insert what suits] for the simple reason that it is human nature to judge a book by its cover.

Susan Boyle (artwork can be found here) is a perfect example of this. Ms. Boyle an unemployed 48-year-old church volunteer who might be best described as "frumpy" was a book with a suspect cover but, my lord, the content was amazing, simply amazing. The best part was the cynical laughter when she claimed that she wanted to be a professional singer and as good as Elaine Paige because what happens next proves a point; the content will always be more important than the cover. What goes around comes around!

The video of the clip from Britain's Got Talent has now seen more than 54.6 million views. I must admit that I have viewed it a number of times myself. The video is inspiring in more ways than I want to write about, but above all it is inspirational. It is also a lesson in how not to judge the content by what it is covered in.

It is also a lesson in the making of a star in the modern world. Here is a woman who had spent her lifetime looking after her mother and now her cats who finally gets a chance at singing on a much larger stage and then proceeds to slay them all. The "all" being those who doubt.

I learned my lessons early in life about judging a book by its cover. And, these are lessons that have stayed with me throughout my life to date. Those lessons are in many ways what make up my social conscience and the reason I have spent much of my life helping others.

I really do recommend that everyone have a squiz at this video clip, particularly if you have not been one of the more tan 54 million to already have done so. The video is confronting and will challenge you to think about the stereotypes that permeate much of our existence in this world.

Life is too short to judge books by their covers because if we do we will miss out on some of the most beautiful moments that life has to offer us.

11 comments:

lawlee said...

I dont want to sound trite but how do you judge a book ? or its author? or anyone for that matter? how do you judge fellow bloggers and even commentators like me?

pls let me know ... in less than 80 words!! we know the cover thing doesnt work (as you point out) but we also know that people do judge by their "feeling" about someone etc.

One thing is for sure, if there is any culture that I know that doesn't judge by the cover it is this one in Indonesia. But then again, they do judge things/people is some very strange ways.... dont they?

the writer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
the writer said...

I always judge a book by its cover - I mean that literally - whenever I go to the library, I always take a look at the cover and read the back cover :)

As for people I don't do that - someone who is nice could be a total bitch in the end, and the other way around - so I'd rather be extra careful when it comes to do the "socialising" bit. At least that's what I have experienced during 30 years of my life in this earth.

As much as I'm tired with the Susan Boyle hype, I am glad that it reminds people not to be superficial and all.

Rob Baiton said...

Lawlee...

I judge you from the content of your comments. I am guessing from my responses to your comments you know what my judgments may be :D

I read books. And, I make my judgments when I am done reading. Some authors might author one good book and then a series of not so good ones.

Therefore, I tend not to judge a book by its author. That said I might be more inclined to buy or borrow a book by an author who I have enjoyed reading in the past.

I tend not to judge fellow bloggers. To each their own. Those bloggers that are on my blogroll are bloggers that I tend to read more often than others.

To each their own on whether Indonesians judge and how they make judgments. How about judgments on the color of one's skin?

Less than 80 words, sorry. My blog and I can write as many, or as few, words as I like ;)

The Writer...

I read the back cover too. It might encourage me to buy or borrow, but I still reserve my judgments on the content until after I have finished reading :)

I am not tired of the hype. I quite enjoy watching the video.

lawphee said...

may 10: what a wonderful man he is - see last para - everyone knows it but few would apply it I suspect. In Aussie culture would one use that proverb??

BOGOR - Ketua Dewan Pembina Partai Demokrat SBY mengajak seluruh kader partainya agar tidak mudah merendahkan calon - calon lainnya, dalam menghadapi kampanye Pemilihan Presiden 2009.

"Arahan saya dalam menghadapi kampanye pemilihan presiden jangan mudah dan suka untuk menantang, jangan mudah dan suka untuk sesumbar, dan jangan suka dan mudah untuk mengejek," kata SBY dalam acara tasyakuran kemenangan Partai Demokrat di Pendopo rumahnya di Puri Cikeas Bogor, Minggu (10/5/2009).

SBY merasa sikap itu perlu dilakukan untuk menjaga perasaan kompetitor. Sebab itu, kader Demokrat, kata SBY, tidak perlu merasa lebih hebat, dan lebih baik karena menang di pemilu legislatif.

"Kita jangan merasa lebih hebat, lebih tepat, lebih baik, kita lebih ini dan itu. Itu takabur namanya. Allah tidak menyukai orang takabur," tambah SBY.

lawblack said...

as for racism here, you have touched on that before.... but I say its not a deep racial hartred - its more born out of fear of the unknown and a form of shyness - more benign in my opinion...

Rob Baiton said...

Lawphee...

SBY? A great man? Not an SBY fan myself.

Lawblack...

We can each have our own opinions on racism in Indonesia and whether it is more benign than in other locales around the world.

Perhaps, you might want to ask some Indonesians of Chinese ancestry about how benign racism is in Indonesia, particularly the institutionalized nature of it.

lawphee said...

sorry i forgot to include the relevant forgiving and kind-man paragraph....

SBY pun mencontohkan falsafah jari tangan. Ketika orang menunjuk orang lain buruk, maka empat jari lainnya menunjuk diri sendiri.

lawblack said...

I was not thinking of the chinese victim - perhaps you are right here.... I was thinking about attitudes to Papuans or Africans...

Rob Baiton said...

Lawblack...

I am not convinced that the attitudes towards the Papuans or Africans are quite as liberal as claimed.

However, I accept that each persons experience of Indonesia is unique to themselves. I guess if we mix in different circles then it is likely that our experiences of racism in Indonesia could conceivably also be different, and perhaps very different.

olsonsfoodemporium said...

Thanks for this post, pretty effective piece of writing.