Sunday, November 19, 2017
Human Interest

Is it okay to laugh at Miss Utah?

RECOMMENDED READING


The ritual of sitting down at night to watch a nationally televised beauty pageant is becoming a relic in American culture, usurped by the ritual of sitting down the morning after to watch the video of the pageant contestant who gave the dumbest answer the night before. This year's Miss USA winner of the unofficial Derpiest Beauty Queen prize goes to Miss Utah, who metaphorically face-planted when asked to register an opinion about the coming lady apocalypse of female breadwinners.

Judge NeNe Leakes asked Miss Utah, whose real name is Marissa Powell, "A recent report shows that in 40 percent of American families with children, women are the primary earners, yet they continue to earn less than men. What does this say about society?" Powell answered:

I think we can relate this back to education, and how we are . . . continuing to try to strive to . . . figure out how to create jobs right now. That is the biggest problem. And I think, especially the men are . . . um . . . seen as the leaders of this, and so we need to try to figure out how to create education better so we can solve this problem. Thank you.⅛

This ritualized rooting out of the biggest bimbo at the beauty pageant is tough to reconcile. On one hand, it's kind of a cultural protest against the fact that beauty pageants, which feminists famously protested more than 40 years ago, continue to stick around in all their sexist glory. On the other hand, cackling at bimbos is not exactly progressive either. Hard to say which urge any random person is expressing when they pass along these videos.

Of course, the real problem here is that the question-and-answer period at beauty pageants is set up so the contestants really can't win. As ever, pageant contestants know they have to project an image of bland inoffensiveness, which precludes having political opinions beyond a moderate support for sunshine and, in this case, education.

Powell was put in an untenable situation here. On one hand, she really can't go full Fox News and denounce those evil salary-earning women without both offending large numbers of people and also causing the audience to wonder if she aspires for nothing more than trophy-wife status. On the other hand, if she applauds sisters doing it for themselves, the relatively conservative audience for beauty pageants will turn on her. You try coming up with a coherent 30-second sound bite while your brain frantically processes the no-win situation you're in. It's harder than it looks.

Then again, all that empathy just went out to a woman who participates and supports the beauty pageant industry, so maybe it's misplaced. What a dilemma! Clearly, the only solution here is to bring an end to this sordid practice of both beauty pageants and the Monday morning stupidity quarterbacking of them.

Comments
Forget the Pizza Rat. Meet St. Petersburg's Pizza Squirrel

Forget the Pizza Rat. Meet St. Petersburg's Pizza Squirrel

New York, it seems, doesn't have a monopoly on pizza-chomping rodents.
Published: 11/17/17
The Volunteer Way strives to fight hunger in Pasco

The Volunteer Way strives to fight hunger in Pasco

PORT RICHEY — On the second Monday of the month, Joseph Scagliozzi lines up early for a box of food at The Volunteer Way warehouse on Congress Street. It’s a modest offering — a godsend of donated canned goods, peanut butter, rice, pasta, sweets, bev...
Published: 11/15/17
This Scout earned every possible merit badge. Then came cancer.

This Scout earned every possible merit badge. Then came cancer.

LAKE WALES — Ron Cain strolled lakeside at a Boy Scout camp on a crisp November day, the exact spot where he finally earned all of Scouting’s 137 merit badges."I had to survey this field, which was ridiculous because there were hurricane winds," he s...
Published: 11/09/17
Updated: 11/10/17
Wisconsin man got locked in a walk-in beer cooler. He had ‘everything that he needed,’ police say.

Wisconsin man got locked in a walk-in beer cooler. He had ‘everything that he needed,’ police say.

Ten minutes to midnight on Tuesday, Jeremy J. Van Ert stepped into a walk-in beer cooler at a Kwik Trip convenience store in Marshfield, Wisconsin.When the doors locked behind him at midnight, he decided that rather than shout for help, he would just...
Updated one month ago
Last-minute Halloween '80s costume idea: Bruce Springsteen's 'Born in the USA'

Last-minute Halloween '80s costume idea: Bruce Springsteen's 'Born in the USA'

The last-minute mania to find the perfect '80s Halloween costume continues. You can thank Adam Sandler for this one. In the movie Grown Ups 2, his gang of friends from childhood throw the wildest '80s costume party I've seen to date on film.  Bu...
Updated one month ago
Last-minute Halloween '80s costume idea: The one-armed violin player

Last-minute Halloween '80s costume idea: The one-armed violin player

The stress is real. Every year. What are you dressing as for Halloween? Will it be an '80s costume? Because, you know, you've been writing a blog about the '80s for 13 years now, so we figure you have some good ideas.  I do. Sorta. And I'll try ...
Updated one month ago
New Orleans celebrity chef John Besh steps down after sexual harassment allegations

New Orleans celebrity chef John Besh steps down after sexual harassment allegations

Celebrity chef John Besh became a symbol of the rebirth of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina leveled the city. Now he faces a storm of his own. On Monday, Besh stepped down from the restaurant group he founded and co-owns after more than two dozen ...
Updated one month ago