Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Swing-and-a-Miss South Carolina

Hello there. I know, I said I was going to make an effort to update this more often, and then I dropped the ball for about two weeks. Last week I had intended to write a little ditty about Karl Rove's resignation, the legacy he leaves behind, what it says about the future of the Bush White House, etc, but such a post really required more focus and overall brain cells than I was willing to commit, so it sort of fell by the wayside. I'll just do the Cliffnotes version real quick: brilliant strategist...no commitment to morality...gave us the equivalent of political pornography = all message, no substance...West Wing quote: "Don't we want leadership to sound and feel like [vision], instead of appealing to our least expensive - however legitimate - desire to feel good about ourselves?"

But today I want to talk about South Carolina.



Have you seen this clip? By now you should have. Everyone's getting a kick feeling smug and superior to this bumbling beauty queen. Really, though, isn't this how we want our attractive people? To be incoherent and uninsightful? To appeal to our least expensive - however legitimate - desire (see above) to feel better than them in some way, shape, or form? I know I do.

In Miss South Carolina's defense, it was a pretty stupid question. Why can't 1/5 of Americans locate the U.S. on a world map? What possible answer could you give to that? One-fifth of Americans can't locate the U.S. on a world map because the moon is made of cheese. Because the terrorists hate freedom. Because Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers. Obviously the only answer is because our education system has failed them, because we don't place a satisfactory emphasis on international affairs.

And I'm sure that's the inherent problem with Miss South Carolina's answer. I don't watch beauty pageants, but I'm pretty sure they're coached to always be bright and upbeat. Positive energy wins you that crown. And there's no positive answer you can give to that question. Even the Bush Administration couldn't put an optimistic spin on that statistic. It's because America's education system sucks. That's the only correct answer. And who wants a Miss America who thinks our country sucks? I think poor Miss South Carolina got sandbagged.

What I really like about the clip, though, is her bizarre focus on South Africa. Clearly someone just learned about apartheid in school. Her focus on the maladies of the South African education system specifically seems to imply that the rest of the Dark Continent is doing okay. Somalia, Rwanda, Nigeria, Zimbabwe...their educational systems are chugging along nicely. It's just that darn South African one that's problematic. If only we could fix it, everything else would fall into place.

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