Miss America Pageant: Embarrassing Train Wreck

Update: Miss Nebraska, who answered a question about Wikileaks, calling it espionage and saying that government security is more important than the public's right to know, wins. Need we say more?

I really had no intention of watching Miss America. It's a cringe-inducing, fake imitation of a Norman Rockwell America.

But I turned it on by accident during the first 15 minutes (in the midst of the introductions, complete with corny one liners for each state, blinding white teeth and overblown hair. ) It's the proverbial train wreck you can't turn away from. I don't think I've ever seen so many unattractive women in the show (although I've probably never watched one from start to finish.) So many had crooked smiles, uneven eyes or noses, and overly long faces. And what was the big deal about the bald contestant, since she wore a wig the whole time?

The swimsuit competition: Three or four had stunning bodies and knew how to move them, but so many looked like a commercial for breast implants, and one had thighs so out of proportion to her body it was embarrassing to watch. She looked like a linebacker. [More...]

Brooke Burke is not a good host. When she ran out of breath chasing two contestants to the wardrobe change room, shouting a question at them, they ignored her. On live TV, so they couldn't cut it. (Chris Harrison, on the other hand, was a good, no complaints.)

The evening wear competition is much better and at least some of the finalists are pretty and have a sparkle that seems genuine though the schmaltz.

As for those who say to give them a break because they're on national TV and it must be nerve-wracking, I don't buy it. These women have been in pageants for years, working their way up their county and state circuits. They've been competing in Vegas all week. They're doing this for the exposure. They ought to be able to handle it by now. (Or how about all their overlays during the talent which showed them performing as little girls?)

And their videos. One talked about the advantages of being "racially ambiguous." Just bizarre. But then so was her talent routine, with double ventriloquist dolls singing a cowboy song that included yodeling. (Actually it was one of the most original performances and pretty good.)

Is anyone else watching?

Update: The interviews. Miss Nebraska was asked about Wikileaks and "how do we balance the people's right to know with the need of government security?" She answers that Wikileaks is about espionage and the security of the nation is more important than people's right to know.

Two that didn't make the finals that I thought were good: Miss Colorado and Miss Virgin Islands. Two that should have been cut at the outset: Miss Delaware and Miss Utah. (Ms. Utah's opening line: "Tonight 53 women share a dream, not a husband." Was she registering a complaint against "Big Love"? ) Or how about Miss Iowa: "Leading the state in ethanol production, my state gives you gas."

Miss Nebraska aka Ms. National Security wins. (She's 17 and was home-schooled until her junior year.) First runner up: Miss Arkansas. Second runner up: Miss Hawaii. Here's a pretty good wrap-up.

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    Excellent point. (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by ruffian on Sun Jan 16, 2011 at 06:30:42 AM EST

    It (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by lentinel on Sun Jan 16, 2011 at 06:53:30 AM EST
    appears that the anointing of this contestant, Miss Nebraska, was all about endorsing and promoting a political point of view - one that both Bushies and Obamabots could cuddle up with.

    The point of view that our right to know is expendable when put next to any claims of national security by our government, bogus or not, is one near and dear to those in power. It is also near and dear to the networks - all of which are controlled by right wing corporate entities who profit from wars, weaponry and oil.

    So, Miss Nebraska will become their poster child for a year, telling us what is best for A mer i ca and for A mer i cans.

    I think we need to (none / 0) (#6)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sun Jan 16, 2011 at 08:23:33 AM EST
    change how we classify our secrets rather than just saying that it is okay for an individual, who is not even an American, to procure them from a person who has stolen them and publish them for the world to see.

    Baby and bath water come to mind.


    I think you're onto something PPJ (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by dead dancer on Sun Jan 16, 2011 at 11:32:25 AM EST
    Miss Nebraska was obviously tossed out with the bath water one too many times!

    At least that would help explain her interview answer.


    Give a 17 year old a break (5.00 / 2) (#12)
    by jbindc on Sun Jan 16, 2011 at 11:53:23 AM EST
    These questions are stupid and designed to be "gotcha".  Remember Carrie Prejean? Now the liberal blogs will talk about this for weeks on end, and it's nothing.  She's Miss America - she's not in any position to make or really influence policy.  It's her opinion (or what she thought the answer would be to let her win).  

    Seriously, is this more outrageous than 20 women giving up their self respect competing to marry one guy on "The Bachelor" or contestants being conniving and despicable to win on "Survivor"?


    please keep this (none / 0) (#7)
    by Jeralyn on Sun Jan 16, 2011 at 09:12:34 AM EST
    about the pageant, thanks.

    And at (none / 0) (#16)
    by cal1942 on Sun Jan 16, 2011 at 12:50:14 PM EST
    age 17.

    Sooooo sorry I missed this (none / 0) (#2)
    by oculus on Sun Jan 16, 2011 at 01:00:25 AM EST
    Wonderful day:  excellent exhibits at Fowler Museum at UCLA and a vocal recital by German bass Rene Pape @ the Music Center in LA.  

    Possibly Miss Utah (none / 0) (#5)
    by the capstan on Sun Jan 16, 2011 at 07:46:30 AM EST
    was registering dislike for the 'state religion,' Mormonism.  I hope so!

    I recall watching (none / 0) (#8)
    by brodie on Sun Jan 16, 2011 at 09:53:02 AM EST
    the pageant as a kid in the early to mid 60s, often with friends as we gathered on a Sat night in front of the tube for some snickering and hooting at the peculiar and often awkward spectacle.  

    For our younger viewers here, back then the Miss America pageant was a huge deal both for the tv network that televised it and as a national cultural event.  Tuxedoed host Bert Parks was a household name.  All contestants were white and wore modest one-piece swimsuits.  The winner made it to the front pages of most newspapers and would go on to guest on numerous popular teevee shows.  

    Typical Qs for contestants I recall as along the lines of:  "Which American do you most admire, and why?"  Typical answer:  "President Johnson/Nixon/Rev Billy Graham, because he's a strong leader blah blah blah ..."

    I think the nature of the increasingly laughable and outdated pageant changed after the late 60s, following loud protests from feminists.

    (Be sure to see this howler in the video archives (#3, from 1961), and Miss Minnesota's answers to both Qs).

    I have video of the 1959 pageant (none / 0) (#15)
    by Towanda on Sun Jan 16, 2011 at 12:21:23 PM EST
    that ran on the late, great Bravo channel a few years ago -- only a few minutes into it, I grabbed a tape to get the rest.  It is such a hoot! and I swear that I must have seen it and been warped by it at the time.  (Yes, I also recall that watching it was required of all Americans then.)

    Every question opens with "when you're a wife" or "when you're a mother."  Every.  Single.  Question.

    And the winning act?  Mary Ann Mobley did a decorous strip tease, I kid you not, to the tune of "There's Gonna Be Some Changes Made."  On the eve of the '60s, that was prescient -- about the pageant, about the society it reflected then (and still, sadly, does so), about the world ahead then.


    And the first runnerup that year (none / 0) (#20)
    by Towanda on Sun Jan 16, 2011 at 02:17:17 PM EST
    by the way, was Anita Bryant.

    Christian fundamentalists and their proselytizing in beauty pageants -- as is evident in her answers even then -- also are nothing new.


    Miss Universe is the only one I watch. (none / 0) (#9)
    by Saul on Sun Jan 16, 2011 at 10:07:05 AM EST
    South American produces some of the most beautiful women in the world.

    The new Miss USA says ... (none / 0) (#10)
    by Yman on Sun Jan 16, 2011 at 11:09:08 AM EST
    ... she will be going to college at the fundamentalist, conservative Patrick Henry College, the first college in the US founded specifically for Christian, home-schooled students, but plans to register as an Independent when she turns 18:

    "I do think I will register as an Independent," Scanlan said. "All the bipartisanship has become ridiculous and it's time to look at issues instead of parties."


    Do you think (5.00 / 1) (#14)
    by jbindc on Sun Jan 16, 2011 at 11:56:04 AM EST
    Many daughters raised in liberal households get into the pageant circuit?  

    Hell No! (5.00 / 1) (#21)
    by Militarytracy on Sun Jan 16, 2011 at 03:00:58 PM EST
    One thing I was not ever ever going to pour family dollars or time into was teaching anyone female in my family how to be even more objectified and dehumanized.  My mother's mom was considered a gorgeous woman all her life, even late in life, and one of the things she taught all of her daughters and granddaughters was beauty is skin fricken deep, it will not fix the aloneness we all feel on a soul level, nor does it make you more lovable or more worthy of love or attention.....it only is

    God, I hope not (5.00 / 0) (#25)
    by Yman on Mon Jan 17, 2011 at 05:04:08 PM EST
    Have you ever seen that show "Toddlers and Tiaras"?

    Makes me seriously consider the need for licenses before people are allowed to have children.


    Yes (none / 0) (#26)
    by Zorba on Mon Jan 17, 2011 at 06:58:28 PM EST
    Makes me wonder if the parents even realize that they're pimping their kids out.

    Sure they do (none / 0) (#18)
    by dead dancer on Sun Jan 16, 2011 at 02:07:01 PM EST
    but they probably don't pimp their answers just to win.

    I would disagree (none / 0) (#19)
    by jbindc on Sun Jan 16, 2011 at 02:08:55 PM EST
    My guess is most liberals hate pageants for how women are portrayed (and the public perception of pageants) and would not subject their daughter (from a very early age) to compete.

    Isn't she the new Miss America? (none / 0) (#13)
    by EL seattle on Sun Jan 16, 2011 at 11:54:00 AM EST
    Miss USA would be part of the parallel dimension that includes Miss Universe.  I don't think the Miss America pageant is part of the mighty and glorious and often rather interesting Trump Empire (yet).

    Of course, the Young American Miss pageant is part of a different realm altogether.  Just ask Big Bob Freelander.


    Hmm...she could have gone (none / 0) (#17)
    by observed on Sun Jan 16, 2011 at 01:11:02 PM EST
    to the Rivendell Sanctuary!

    Could be her ... (none / 0) (#24)
    by Yman on Mon Jan 17, 2011 at 05:02:12 PM EST
    ... "safety" school?

    meowwwwwwwwwwwwww jeralyn! (none / 0) (#22)
    by cpinva on Mon Jan 17, 2011 at 02:12:03 AM EST
    yes, it's schmaltzy. yes, it bears absolutely no relationship to reality as the rest of the world knows it. but then, no beauty pageant does. i must say, i am surprised at the venom of your comments, not about the pageant itself, but the physical attributes of the young ladies. not very classy at all.

    i should think, as a feminist, you would celebrate the fact that each of them is comfortable enough in their own bodies to be willing to display said bodies on national tv, in bathing suits. instead, you make scathing, mysogynistic comments about them. i am disappointed.

    with respect to ms. nebraska, she's 17, home-schooled, and on her way to patrick henry university, an institution of higher learning created specifically for the home-schooled. can we say brainwashed boys and girls? i knew that you could.

    with any luck, she'll grow up and realize, as the founders intended, our government exists to serve the people, not the other way around. or she won't.

    I re-posted (none / 0) (#23)
    by Repack Rider on Mon Jan 17, 2011 at 09:51:21 AM EST
    a paraphrase of this thought, with appropriate credit to Donald and TalkLeft, on an open thread on DKos, to wild uprating.

    Commenter Donald from Hawaii on Talk Left asks the interesting question, why do the contestants for Miss America have to answer tougher questions on international affairs than politicians on the Sunday shows?