April 20, 2009
by Jay Michaelson | The Huffington Post
By now, both the story of Susan Boyle — the unlikely record-holder for most YouTube views during a single week — and the moral(s) of that story are well-known to all of us who follow sites such as this one. Her rendition of “I Dreamed a Dream” on the television show Britain’s Got Talent can still knock our socks off (here’s the link in case you’ve missed it), and, yes, we have now been reminded that you can’t judge a book by its cover, that even not-so-attractive people over forty may still be wonderful, et cetera.
Trouble is, we always judge a book by its cover. That’s what covers are for. As Malcolm Gladwell reminded us all in Blink, and how teams of neurologists and psychologists have shown, we human beings excel at snap judgments, and at decisions so intuitive we don’t even know we’ve made them. This talent has, over the aeons, ensured our survival in a perilous world. If our caveman ancestors had to think about whether that hairy beast over there is friend or foe, they’d get eaten.
April 20, 2009
by Frank Rich | The New York Times
What would happen if you crossed that creepy 1960s horror classic “The Village of the Damned” with the Broadway staple “A Chorus Line”? You don’t need to use your imagination. It’s there waiting for you on YouTube under the title “Gathering Storm”: a 60-second ad presenting homosexuality as a national threat second only to terrorism.
The actors are supposedly Not Gay. They stand in choral formation before a backdrop of menacing clouds and cheesy lightning effects. “The winds are strong,” says a white man to the accompaniment of ominous music. “And I am afraid,” a young black woman chimes in. “Those advocates want to change the way I live,” says a white woman. But just when all seems lost, the sun breaks through and a smiling black man announces that “a rainbow coalition” is “coming together in love” to save America from the apocalypse of same-sex marriage. It’s the swiftest rescue of Western civilization since the heyday of the ambiguously gay duo Batman and Robin.