Monday, August 27, 2007

Poor Little Dumb Girl

1/5 of Americans may not be able to locate the U.S. on a world map, but they have surely seen the clip of Miss South Carolina at the Miss Teen U.S.A. pageant. In case you've somehow missed it, you can find it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lj3iNxZ8Dww and the U.S. can be found here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Location_United_States.svg

This video has been passed around and it has been used to support the point of view of many critics. Some use her to support a feminist argument, others use her to show the flaws in the educational system, and I even heard Sean Hannity used the education argument as a segue into how Democrats are going to ruin the health care system. Then, of course there are the more simple arguments: blonds are dumb, beautiful women are dumb, South Carolinians are dumb. I have yet to hear anyone give voice to my reaction, so here's my take.

At first, I laughed, then I felt sorry for the poor girl. She was obviously nervous and clearly had prepped for the humanitarian question rather than the education question. Then I watched it again and looked into her vacant eyes as she struggled through it. It was like she didn't even hear the question. Her mind was so filled with, "bright lights- huge audience- everyone looking right at me- Mario Lopez- oh krap, what was the question?- Mention Iraq and starving children- I am totally blowing it- big smile- look pretty- time's up." Her rambling reminds me of an essay test that I took in High School where I hadn't read the material and tried to make my rambling b.s. sound intelligent. It didn't work any better for me than it did for her. Her question was easier, though.

So, is she dumb? After I was done being amused by her, I heard all of the critics talk about the problems with the educational system, the pageant process, etc. All of these things may be true, but there's something else that the Miss Teen SC video clip demonstrates. When I watch that clip, I realize how much we truly value bullshit. I don't know how intelligent Miss SC is, but she is certainly lacking in b.s. skills. That will get her nowhere.

I don't think it's unfair to criticize her performance- it was part of the pageant process and she blew it. But as the entire country watches and calls her stupid, we're surrounded by successful people who are stupid- perhaps even more stupid than Miss SC- every day. Sure, the pageants are all about physical appearance- so why is it so funny when this contestant fumbled? Intelligence may not be of much value in the contest, but is intellectual facade is an expectation? So, the entire country continues to talk about how stupid this girl is, and eventually she will fade away and at some point re-appear on a reality TV show. But, I guarantee you that there are many people, some in very powerful positions, with a lower IQ than Miss SC that is hidden beneath a talent for bullshit.

2 comments:

Kathleen said...

I was wrong.

I saw Miss Teen South Carolina on the Today Show this morning and I change my position to say that she is in fact dumb. She was interviewed in studio & given the opportunity to answer the question again. I'm sure she was nervous this time too, but she's had a long time to think about this. Here's her final answer: "Well personally, my friends and I, we know exactly where the United States is on our map. I don't know anyone else who doesn't. And if the statistics are correct, I believe there should be more emphasis on geography."

I also amend my statement that she will probably end up on a reality tv show somewhere. I now believe that they will actually create a reality show for her. Someone has to fill the slot that Jessica Simpson and Nicole Richey have left open.

Tyler said...

Well, if you think about it, the average show dog is not nearly as intelligent or well adjusted as the average Heinz 57 mutt. I'm not saying that pageant winners are the result of selective breeding...wait, maybe I am? Anyways, her clock is ticking... 14:54...14:53...14:52...