Monday, April 20, 2009

Miss USA Contestant Gives Wrong Answer: "Dumb B*ch" Booed by Audience

An entertainment piece in news.com.au led with this:
  • "Miss California asked about gay marriage"
  • "Perez Hilton calls answer 'worst ever' "
  • "Hilton says contestant a 'dumb b*ch' "
"A US beauty pageant hopeful was called 'a dumb b*ch' by a celebrity judge after candidly answering a question about same-sex marriage." (news.com.au, redacted)

The "dumb b*ch" was asked, by Perez Hilton, for her views on gay marriage.

The International news section of samesame.com gives a bit more detail:

"Perez Hilton was one of the judges of the Miss USA pageant, held on Sunday at the Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino in Las Vegas. During question time, Perez asked Miss California, 21 year old Carrie Prejean, about same-sex marriage. Perez says that her answer was 'the worst answer in pageant history', evoking boos from the audience...."

Miss California, Carrie Prejean: Insufficiently Vague?

That Carrie Prejean person must have said something pretty much awful. And, from one point of view, she did:
  • Hilton:
    " ' Vermont recently became the fourth state to legalise same-sex marriage. Do you think every state should follow suit? Why or why not?' "
  • Perjean:
    " 'Well I think it's great that Americans are able to choose one way or the other,' answered Miss California. 'We live in a land where you can choose same-sex marriage or opposite marriage. You know what, in my country, in my family, I do believe that marriage should be between a man and a woman, no offence to anybody out there. But that’s how I was raised and I believe that it should be between a man and a woman. Thank you.' "

Note to Beauty Contest Contestants: Park Your Opinions at the Door?

There you have it: a beauty contest contestant who said it's "great" that Americans may freely choose who they marry, acknowledging that same-sex marriages are legal, but expressing a belief that this is not correct.

Unheard of! No wonder the audience booed!

That wasn't, we're told, the reason that Miss California did not become Miss USA. Perez Hilton stated, quite clearly, in a video on his blog, quoted by samesame.com:

" 'She lost not because she doesn’t believe in gay marriage, she lost because she’s a dumb b*ch!'..."

Hilton continued: " '...she could have answered the question in a more diplomatic way, along the lines of 'Perez, that’s a great question and that's a very hot topic in our country right now. I think it’s a question that each state should answer for themselves because that’s our forefathers designed our government. The states rule themselves and then there are certain laws that are federal.' " (samesame.com, redacted, but with original punctuation)

Hilton actually has a point. Beauty contest winners are supposed to be world-class diplomats, capable of reacting to situations politely, charmingly, and without revealing an iota of opinion or position.

On the other hand, although I haven't made a study of it, it does seem that beauty contest contestants are free to express opinions about saving the rain forests, ending poverty, and other issues - as long as their opinions are the approved ones, of course.

A "Dumb B*ch's" Response, America, and Abraham

On the other hand the "dumb b*ch" remark, and the reaction of the audience, reveals a great deal about Mr. Hilton, the audience: and possibly about America.

Although many Americans may at least say they accept beliefs of an Abrahamic religion, a rejection of those beliefs is not at all uncommon.

In fact, it is easy to think, based on Mr. Hilton's vehement reaction to what the "dumb b*ch" said, and on the audience's reaction, that there are strong social sanctions against openly expressing beliefs shared by Christians, Jews, and Muslims.
Perez Hilton: Blogger, Beauty Pageant Judge, and Flashy Dresser
Mr. Perez Hilton's reaction to the runner-up's response to his question isn't as impolite as it may seem, by contemporary American standards.

I understand that he's an "openly gay gossip blogger" - and a flashy dresser, judging from one photo of him (Kansas City Star, used w/o permission). Mr. Hilton probably has a personal stake in the same-sex marriage issue, whether or not he wants to have a relationship sanctioned by the state.

With the tacit acceptance of his views that's been enforced in many circles for the last few decades, it may have been a severe shock to hear a dissenting opinion: particularly in the context of a beauty pageant.

Today, he apparently has simmered down and would like to "...take Miss California out for coffee and 'talk.'... " (Kansas City Star)
Back to the "Dumb B*ch," America, and Abraham
America does have freedom of expression to an extent that very few countries do. That's certainly the case with America's laws, as written. However, just as the fifties had its conventions ("The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit," Sloan Wilson, 1955, is a relatively painless introduction to the period); today's America has behavior which is expected, and behavior which is not tolerated.

The dominant culture in today's America encourages activism and social consciousness: as long as it's in defense of the spotted owl, gay rights (and affirmation of homosexual behavior), and other approved positions.

The pressure to conform to a particular world view - or at least to sit down and be quiet - is very strong. Dr. William Gray, in my opinion, discovered this when he expressed doubts over the official view on global warming. The official version of his de-funding gives a different story. And, Dr. Gray backs up his superiors. I don't blame him: He's a career academic, and you don't survive in that game without friends on review boards.

Carrie Prejean violated part of America's social code when she voiced an opinion which was contrary to what Mr. Hilton wanted to hear. That's evident, I think, from the audience reaction as well as Mr. Hilton's initial evaluation of her value as a person.

As a beauty contest contestant, Carrie Prejean should have been blandly vague on all issues except those for which the dominant culture demands a particular position.

As a human being, Miss California showed a level of candor and perhaps courage which few people display. For that, I applaud her.

I try to conform my own views on homosexuality and related conditions to Catholic teachings: which are nowhere near as judgmental and harsh as many seem to believe. (March 13, 2009)

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2 comments:

Brigid said...

Aw man. That's gotta be rough for her. All that nastiness for an honest, kindly worded answer.

Brian, aka Nanoc, aka Norski said...

Brigid,

Agreed. It's far from over. She's well known now as being very stupid. Even by people who claim to have conservative values.

Given the working definition of "intelligent" it today's America, they're right. She doesn't have politically correct attitudes, she's Christian, and she admitted it in public. By contemporary definitions, that's "stupid."

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