Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Miss California: And the Winner Is...

Lest anyone think that the Miss California USA organization takes the same view of gay marriage as current Miss California Carrie Prejean, it has issued a public service announcement stating that it believes...in the beauty of California. The "beauty of California" encompasses freedom of speech (spoken respectfully), open and honest communication (communicated respectfully), and diversity of opinion, opined respectfully. Oh, and love.

Employing current and former titleholders, the organization that was unable to determine if Ms. Prejean should be permitted to keep her crown quickly engaged in damage control. "I believe..." the titleholders say, echoing the first two words of Ms. Prejean's infamous statement of personal dogma. As one would expect, the attractive and well-(if shortly) spoken women all believe in the same non-offensive, crowd-pleasing things. Also, isn't California great?

Implied in the ad is that Ms. Prejean wasn't respectful when she joined forces with the National Organization for Marriage, directly breaching her contract, and probably not when she posed topless, either.

You can see the creative minds at work on this exercise: What do the folks at the California pageant organization believe in, anyway? We all know what Ms. Prejean believes in, but what about past winners? For God's sake, what about the nascent and corruptible value system of Miss California Teen USA? Best to come out with a counterstatement to the intellectual path Prejean is ripping over there with the religious libertarians of NOM.

Everyone thinks California is a little kooky anyway. It's home to Perez Hilton, who, had Prejean kept her mouth shut following the pageant, might have found his tiara in the gutter. Hilton treated his role as a pageant judge disrespectfully when he rushed away to video blog his response to Prejean's non-answer about what tack individual states should take on the gay marriage issue.

It's all very confusing.

Round One: At the Miss USA pageant, Miss California Carrie Prejean is asked a question by Perez Hilton, blogger famous for brilliance in self-promotion, if not in syntactic or artistic skill. Hilton asks what tack Ms. Prejean thinks states should take on the gay marriage issue. Prejean, apparently not grasping the question, fumbles through an answer that she (in her country, in her family) does not believe in "opposite" marriage. Aside from a few audience boos, the matter would have dropped off the radar in a few days had not Hilton used the moment to record a scorching video blog in which he calls Ms. Prejean a bitch. That alone resulted in Prejean's being called upon to defend herself on the national stage, over and over.

Prejean could have taken this one simply by staying quiet or by saying she had misunderstood the question in a moment of high anxiety. Hilton took Prejean's answer as a personal attack and the matter quickly devolved into a discussion of Prejean's assumed homophobia. However, given the public distaste for Hilton and the rarity of a pageant judge attacking a contestant ad hominem, Hilton would shortly have run out of steam when Lindsay Lohan or Jessica Simpson was caught going commando or was found to be pregnant by a hunky nightclub bouncer named Manuel.

Although pageant panels have always been of dubious expertise , assigning a seat to the vulgar Hilton was an enormous mistake. Still, Donald Trump has used the blogger as an expert on Celebrity Apprentice, so why not here?

Winner: California, for reinforcing the dumb-blonde stereotype. Both Prejean and Hilton qualify.

Round Two: Ms. Prejean, for unknown reasons, gets into bed with the religious libertarians at NOM, who had recently frightened a good portion of America with an advertisement called "A Gathering Storm."

Winner: The National Organization for Marriage, for the additional opportunity to scare the bejesus out of us.

Round Three: A topless photo of Prejean surfaces, wearing a pair of pink panties that someone at Victoria's Secret can date to the year 2006, sometime after Prejean claims to have taken the photo. Three more photos are said to be floating around, waiting to be loosed upon an eager public.

Winner: Men who keep Victoria's Secret catalogues in the back of their closets.

Round Four: The Miss California USA organization calls a press conference in which it ultimately passes the responsibility for Prejean's fate to Donald Trump, who owns the Miss USA franchise. The organization's public relations firm, Neal Public Relations, pens a press release that shows a literacy level only slightly greater than that of Perez Hilton. Whoever wrote it has evidently never been to the City by the Bay: "From the sandy beaches of San Diego to the beautiful peaks of Yosemite, from the farm land outside Fresno to fisherman's warf in San Francisco..."

Also on the agenda is the reintroduction of a Beauty of California ambassador, a title quickly and cagily given to Ms. Prejean's runner-up. "When our state title holder's are unavailable," it reads, "the ambassador will support our message and hammer home our state's strengths and diversity throughout the state and beyond."

Why was the ambassador program abandoned in the first place? How convenient to have it at hand now.

Winner: Literacy advocates.

It shoujld also be noted that California pageant executive co-director Keith Lewis realizes that Prejean is as dim as Hilton has claimed. Lewis states that Prejean is a victim of NOM, which has encouraged her to violate the conditions of her contract without understanding what she was doing. Lewis provides an apologia for Prejean, who, if she were that dim, shouldn't have been allowed in the contest to begin with. There was the possibility that she was not mentally competent enough to understand that she'd be asked to parade in a bikini. How about the boob job? Did she understand what she was getting into there? Does she know the things can leak and cause autoimmune disorders?

While no one suspects contestants in the Miss USA system of intellectual competence, it is amusing to note that the organization has now fallen back on what it suggests is the outright incompetence of Prejean. Otherwise, they seem to feel, they are held in a bad light for letting a bonehead get that far in the first place.

As it stands, Donald Trump is to decide Prejean's fate today. Trump has years of experience in such matters, including bouts with Apprentices both celebrity and non-. Who better than he to judge morality, mental acumen, flagrant abuse of pretty straightforward contracts and implanted breasts?

Winner: Wanda Sykes, for bumping Prejean out of headline news for a few short hours on an otherwise uneventful day.

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