The Passing Parade: Cheap Shots from a Drive By Mind

"...difficile est saturam non scribere. Nam quis iniquae tam patiens urbis, tam ferreus, ut teneat se..." " is hard not to write Satire. For who is so tolerant of the unjust City, so steeled, that he can restrain himself... Juvenal, The Satires (1.30-32)

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

MISS CALIFORNIA, OR THE PERILS OF PAULINE, A TOUCHING MELODRAMA WITH LIONS, ELKS, AND THE KNIGHTS OF COLUMBUS: Continuing our theme about meaningless kerfuffles, I should point out at the beginning of this screed, in the interests of full disclosure, that no member of my family has ever entered a beauty pageant. There are many reasons for this, a case of the congenital fuglies being one of the more prominent reasons, from which we can also extrapolate a certain lack of familial interest in the proceedings. There are simply more interesting things to waste good TV watching time on than half-naked animate Barbie dolls parading across a stage. In short, beauty pageants are simply dull, especially in the age of pay per view television, where the interested male can find equally attractive young ladies doing what comes naturally and unnaturally at all hours of the day and night.

I am sure that all of the young ladies involved in the beauty pageant of your choice are perfectly wonderful human beings and a credit to their families and their sponsoring organization; I do, however, find a desire to be Miss Pig’s Knuckle a bit odd, but if this makes some young woman happy, then who am I to criticize; but however idiosyncratic the contestants may be in their private lives, in front of the television cameras they exhibit all the color, dash, and personality of a half-empty bowl of slightly melted raspberry Jell-O. In addition to the young ladies’ lack of any discernible personality, the viewer must also suffer through their relentless physical sameness. Mr. Hefner’s blonde California girl aesthetic has become so pervasive throughout our culture that even the African-American contestants in these pageants are spiritual blondes. Such relentless physical sameness has, almost by definition, more to do with modern surgical skill than with genetic coincidence, and so it comes as no great surprise to me to learn that at least some of these would-be California girls, including Miss California herself, carry enough silica on their chests to start their own beach.

Beauty pageants generate their own special set of scandals, which usually center on just how much of the All-American Girl is the original equipment and how much her surgeon imported from overseas or from the All-American Girl’s backside. Such controversies tend to be as vapid as the contests themselves, unless you’re talking about Latin American beauty contests, where the intrigue is positively Machiavellian in its intensity and where the interested viewer can, if he is lucky, hope to see the adherents of one criollo beauty going after the acolytes of another with guns, knives, and clubs hand-carved from hunks of frozen flan if need be. But this controversy wasn’t about any of the run of the mill pageant controversies. No, it wasn’t.

Mr. Perez Hilton, a gay man and a well-known blogger of celebrity gossip, was one of the judges at this year’s Miss USA contest, and in this capacity he asked Ms. Carrie Prejean, this year’s Miss California and a stunning example of the eponymous aesthetic mentioned above, whether or not she supported gay marriage, a touchy subject in California these days since the public voted down a proposition authorizing gay marriage back in November. This is not the sort of question one usually hears at a beauty pageant; the political philosophy espoused at most beauty pageants, as Sandra Bullock pointed out some years ago, does not extend much further than a desire for world peace, said desire being expressed as innocuously as possible in order to avoid annoying offending the sensibilities of anyone in the audience who might enjoy warmongering for fun and profit. One must wonder why Mr. Hilton chose this particular venue to ask his question, but it is a free country and Mr. Hilton has as much right to ask whatever question he chooses as anyone else has. In response, Ms. Prejean said, sorry, no offense, but no, she did not. Miss Prejean lost the pageant, largely, it seems, on Mr. Hilton’s blackballing her, and then Mr. Hilton then went online, ranting that Ms. Prejean was a “dumb bitch.” He later apologized for the slur, but the apology was too little, too late: with his words, a star was born.

I have to admit that I find this barely recognizable blip on the radar of our Great Republic’s history absolutely fascinating, for reasons I’m not sure I fathom. I think it’s because of the absolute hysteria amongst the liberal cognoscenti on either coast. The idea that this dumb blonde might actually have an opinion of her own seems to offend them no end. Having created what, to their eyes, can only be a monstrous Galatea, the outraged Pygmalions of the left have been busily trying to draw a mustache on their creation; no sooner had Ms. Prejean signed to become the spokeswoman for a conservative Christian group than somewhat saucy pictures of her turned up on the Internet, the pictures’ arrival coming complete with the usual charges of hypocrisy. You know, a telegraphed punch is almost always less effective than a surprise punch, and the left telegraphed this punch from a mile away; I don’t know anyone here in the vast right wing conspiracy who didn’t figure that the moonbats were going to find mud to hit Ms. Prejean with sooner rather than later, even if they had to make the stuff up themselves. If we learned anything at all from the late presidential campaign, it is that the left in this country has the best interests of the people at heart, spending just about every waking moment of their day thinking of new ways to help the poor and oppressed better their lots, and as a result of all this beneficence the left will not suffer impertinence from the helots; it smacks too much of ingratitude. As for the charge of hypocrisy, well, that depends on your definition of what is the more hypocritical act, doesn’t it: doing something stupid when you are young, learning from your mistake, and not doing it again, or betraying something you believe in deeply so that you may profit from the betrayal? There seems to be no end of people who think that the first scenario is a sheer pit of horrors, requiring a lifetime supply of sackcloth and ashes, while the latter is no big deal.

I must also admit that I do not understand why Mr. Hilton is so upset. Mr. Hilton asked a straight question and he got a straight answer. If he did not want a straight answer, he shouldn’t have asked the question, but that point is now moot. He did ask, and she did answer, and Mr. Hilton first used his power as a judge and then his access to the Internet and the media to conjure a conservative heroine out of the most improbable soil. Thank you, Mr. Hilton, we couldn’t have done it without you.

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