Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Thoughts on Miss Teen USA

Did you see the Miss Teen USA pagent on Friday night? Unfortunately, in order to write this blog, I have to admit that I did tune in and saw about the last hour. I started watching in plenty of time to see the final, interview segment. A few thoughts...

1. The Miss USA pagent used to (and maybe still does, I haven't seen it in awhile) ask all of the final contestants the same question, and made it fair by quarantining them in a plexiglass capsule where they danced with headphones on in order to not hear the question in advance of their turn to answer it. Miss Teen USA, headed by Donald Trump with his infinite wisdom of beauty pagents, instead asks each contestant a different question. With questions ranging from "Pick your role model from Paris Hilton, Nicole Richie, and Lindsey Lohan," (which, surprisingly, was answered by the ultimate winner), "What is the biggest risk you've taken and what did you learn from it?," "How do you know you're a grown up?," "What skill is most missing among teens?," and finally "20% of Americans can't find the United States on a map - why?" (more on that one later). How can you possibly have a fair competition with questions as across the board as this?
2. The set for this competition featured comic book type images, with big speech bubbles saying things like "I want that crown!" and "OMG!" as the winner was crowned. Wow. I don't even know what to say.

3. The biggest news story surrounding the pagent was not about the winner, but instead about the terrible answer given by Miss South Carolina in the above mentioned interview segment. She received the question "Recent polls have shown 1/5 of Americans can't locate America on a world map. Why do you think this is?" First of all.... seriously?! Where was this poll taken?! Even without doing my own poll, I can be fairly sure that anyone I talk to can locate the US on a world map. Who are these people they are polling? Second... Here is Miss SC's response to the question. Keep in mind that my first reaction to the question was "What?!" and she had to answer it on the spot. You almost feel sorry for the girl. Get ready.... "I personally believe that, U.S. Americans are unable to do so, because, some... people out there in our nation don't have maps, and I believe that our education, like such, as in South Africa and Iraq, everywhere like such as, and I believe that they should... our education over here in the U.S., should help the U.S., er, should help South Africa and should help the Iraq and the Asian countries so we will be able to build up our future." I'm withholding comments on her answer specifically, and instead offer this... a possible billboard campaign for that 20% of America who can't locate the US on a map.

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