Thursday, May 14, 2009

What is WRONG with Me?

In the immortal words of my favorite old west pioneer, Buffalo Springfield: “There’s something happening here. What it is, ain’t exactly clear….” I just bought twenty books (I lie. Probably closer to 50), and there are dozens of things going on that are keeping me awake at night—and that’s only counting the stuff on Bill Moyers’s internet site. But what am I obsessing about? The 2009 Miss (sic) USA Pageant. I mean—this isn’t even MISS (sic) AMERIKA (sic)! Do I need to start wearing aluminum foil inside my hat?

Ms. Carrie Prejean: "god loves illiterates
and forgives bigots."
But I can’t help myself. Here’s the scoop. On April 19, Miss (sic) California (nom de reality Ms. Carrie Prejean), a tall, skinny blonde with a big smile (they all look like that) was a contender/ finalist/top model/whatever, and (to hear her tell it) odds on favorite to have Bert Parks sing to her “There she is…..Miss YOU ASSS AAAAAAIIIIEEEE!” (so it’s been awhile since I’ve watched the program). Then notorious troublemaker Mr. Perez Hilton asks la belle California a very straightforward question about same-sex marriage. Ms. Prejean looks Mr. Hilton square in the eyeball (again I lie. She probably looked the camera in the eyeball) and says “We live in a land where you can choose same-sex marriage or opposite (sic). And you know what, I think in my country, in my family, I think that I believe that a marriage should be between a man and a woman. No offense to anybody out there (sic), but that’s how I was raised.”

Later, some other tall (or tallish) skinny woman with a big smile was crowned, and Bert Parks sang. 

Ms. Prejean then hit the cable television circuit, insisting she lost the contest, because she affirmed her “Christian” views. Then, someone named Keith Lewis told Fox News “As co-director of the Miss (sic) California USA, I am personally saddened and hurt that Miss (sic) California believes marriage rights belong only to a man and a woman. I believe all religions should be able to ordain (sic) what unions they see fit. I do not believe our government should be able to discriminate against anyone and religious beliefs have no politics (sic) in the Miss (sic) California family.”

Ms. Joyce Holden, from the film "Girls of 
the Night." You can tell she's a night-
time gal, because she smokes while 
wearing a beret.
Wait—there’s more! Ms. Shanna Moakler, apparently another co-director of the Miss (sic) California USA, hit the rounds of the cable shows herself, and hotly denied that her gal Miss (sic) California didn’t cut the muster because of the “gay marriage” question. There was some other reason (unspecified) for Ms. Prejean’s non-crowning. Too late! Here come the big guns: noted actress Ms. Angie Harmon weighs in. Ms. Harmon tells Scientific American magazine: “If someone is standing up for how they feel and talking about their beliefs, why are we punishing her for that? I just don’t understand how we’ve gotten to a place in America where, if someone doesn’t agree with everyone, then they are punished for it . . .I find it incredibly disappointing. I mean, that is what she thinks. That’s what she believes. I’m not going to punish anyone for that. I don’t know if she lost because of it, but if she did, I think that is very disappointing. In the (sic) Miss (sic) USA, she can’t stand up for what she thinks or what she believes in? I don’t understand that . . .People say she had to be PC—no, she’s standing up for what she believes in. She didn’t come out and say ‘I hate gay people.’ That’s not what she said at all. I think it’s sad. I really do.” (Again I lie. Ms. Harmon really told it to She said this while they both happened to be at “the opening of the Malibu Lumber Yard in Calif. (sic)” I am not making that up). Dag!

But then, a few photos of Ms. Prejean WEARING NO PANTS (but wearing underwear of a style that while my grandmother would probably not choose to grace her grandmotherly rear end with, she certainly would not disapprove of anyone else wearing said underwear) surface all over the internet. All the usual suspects leap up to say how they are shocked SHOCKED to discover that a young woman aspiring to be a model would pose for pictures with no pants on. 

Ms. Elke Sommer (hanging on back of
door). Very few women can look as good
as Ms. Sommer can while wearing no
Well, there is nothing left but to bring in bigger guns: the OWNER of Miss (sic) USA is Donald “The Donald” Trump. Noted class war criminal Don Trump calls a press conference, to confirm that Ms. Prejean will remain Miss (sic) California, and that he believes Ms. Prejean “will do a fantastic job” as same. The Trump then ended the conference with the plea “Can’t we all just get along?”

I guess not. The very next day, Ms. Shanna Moakler resigned her position with Miss (sic) California: “I can not (sic) with a clear conscious move forward supporting and promoting the Miss (sic) Universe organization when I no longer believe in it, or the contracts I signed committing myself as a youth. . . I want to be a role model for young woman (sic) with high hopes of pageantry, but now feel it (sic) more important to be a role model for my children. I am sorry and hope I have not let any young supporters down, but wish them the best of luck in fulfilling their dreams.”

My head is spinning! A story filled with sex and drugs and rock & roll, just like we loved back in the day. And just like back in the day, the story has no rock & roll, drugs, or sex whatsoever. But what DOES it have? Everything else, that’s what! 

Ms. Barbara Eden. Pants or no pants, the
woman knew how to work it.
Here are my burning issues:

1) What about FREEDOM OF SPEECH, huh?

Hello. My name is Bill, and I’m on a mission from god and John Marshall. 

Your right to free speech is protected by the first amendment of the federal constitution (against attack by the federal government) and the fourteenth amendment (against attack by your state government). You may have additional protections from your state constitution. For example, while “obscene speech” is not protected under the federal constitution, obscenity IS protected speech under the Oregon state constitution (or as we say here: “Fuckin’ a!”). 

For there to be a violation of your right to freedom of speech, some governmental authority—or state action--must come into play. For example, all those guys who demanded my lunch money, and threatened to beat me up if I told: there was no state action, so no violation of free speech. On the other hand, the public university professor who wrote me a letter, telling me if I came back to class again, he’d have me physically removed by campus security: that was a state action, and a violation of my civil rights.

Ms. Cleo Moore. Back in the day, Ms.
Moore was one of the more renowned
"scream queens," famous for her ability
to look good while screaming. She also
was "Miss Contractors' Safety Assoc of
1951" (I am not making that up).
So, Ms. Prejean’s free speech claim fails on two grounds. First, “Miss (sic) USA” is just a brand name, and not a true governmental position. No state action. Second, the purpose of the “question part” of pageants is (I guess) to help distinguish between women with virtually identical big hair. I can see judges grading Question Time based on poise, speaking voice, coherence of thought, and aptness of response ie content. Is it fair that a judge base their decision on that judge’s personal opinion of the substance of a Miss’s (sic) answer? Sure—just like it’s fair for a judge to grade a Miss (sic) on the butt-ugly nature of a costume that supposedly represents the Miss’s (sic) home state.

2) So what you’re saying is that everyone has freedom speech, except Christians?

This is by far the most common defense of Ms. Prejean that I have seen—a classic for two reasons. First, it demonstrates Christians’ almost complete inability to listen, and their almost pathological determination to preface every comment with “All I know is . . .” as in “All I know is, everyone gets freedom of speech except Christians!”

Second, this response also shows that self-identified Christians know nothing whatsoever about the teachings ascribed to Jesus of Nazareth. Nothing, as in “not a damn thing.” Worshipers of Baal know the Gospels better than those who claim the King James Bible is the literal word of god. What do the Gospels (Synoptic, Gnostic and otherwise) say about same-sex marriage? Hint: it’s what a fat boy ought to have for lunch. Where does “god” say god hates fags (to coin a phrase)? Right next to the section where god says he hates shellfish. As The Daily Show’s Jon Stewart said after Maine Governor John Baldacci signed legislation recognizing same sex marriage in that state: “Now Maine’s annual Lobster Festival is that state’s SECOND biggest violation of Leviticus. . . . It’s true. God hates gay people—and scallops.” 
The congregation of the reverend Fred Phelps get a message from god--just not the one they expect from Leviticus.

3) What IS it with you and Angie Harmon?

I do not like Angie Harmon. It all started when the Jill Hennessy character died on the American television program, Law & Order. I KNOW Jill played an assistant district attorney—but I couldn’t help it: that Jill Hennessy just got to me. Then Angie Harmon steps in, and played the lying, corner cutting, aggressive, ambitious, conservative assistant DA. I hate those jerks. But what really split the proverbial sheets between me and Angie was that Law & Order episode, where the show started investigating the old murder of a “student radical” who was part of a television version of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), and maybe Weather Underground. The murdered “student” turned out to be an undercover policeman, who was part of an illegal surveillance program, targeting political dissidents. The television show showed Sam Waterson’s struggle to uncover the extent (surprisingly and accurately) of the illegal operation. At one point, Angie Harmon tracks down and interviews some of the former undercover police. One of those policemen tells Angie how he managed to work his way into the highest levels of some secret, terrorist wannabe group. The next year, he was shocked to see virtually the entire “terrorist cell”—and all of the most outspoken radicals—in his class at the police academy. Angie doesn’t get the point: there was no terrorist cell, just undercover policemen spying on each other, not knowing that everyone else was also policemens (sic).

Ms. Allison Hayes. This is a still from a
movie called "Mohawk" something or
other. I have no idea what that means.
Later in the same show, Sam Waterson is telling Angie how pissed he (Sam Waterson) is about the illegal police surveillance, and Angie says “Listen—all I know is how I felt when I saw those planes crash in the twin towers of the World Trade Center on September 11.”

I completely agree with you, Angie: You don’t know anything.

Today, the Divine Ms. Harmon is a self-identified card carrying member of the Grand Ol’ Party, and frequent denouncer of the Unrepresentative Eastern Liberal Media Establishment (the UELME)—no, not that one. I mean the Anti-god, Anti-Jesus Democratic Hollywood, Where All Good Republicans are Gagged and Blacklisted (the AGAJDHWAGRGB). 

In response to Ms. Harmon’s above spirited defense of all things Prejean, I posted the following on Yahoo!’s OMG! site: 

“Next on FOX News: “Actress” (as opposed to “Intellectual” or “Informed Person” or “Not a Moron”) Angie Harmon Defends Klan’s Views Against Inter-racial Marriage: “They’re just standing up for what they believe in!” Additionally, Harmon opposes anti-miscegenation laws: “I wouldn’t even be here today, if first cousins couldn’t marry!” Harmon also insists she was not born a bigot or an embarrassment to the genus primate: “I worked hard to be what I am today!”

Ms. Frances Gifford. Here she is in a
Tarzan movie, tied to a pole in full
make up, for reasons no doubt vital
to the movie's plot.
In case you’re wondering, no “readers” at the OMG! site paid the slightest attention to what I had to say. 

4) But what about the pictures of Miss (sic) California wearing NO PANTS?

Surprisingly, lots of attractive young women have their picture taken sans pants avec underwear. Have you seen those pictures of Ms. Prejean? They’re not even lewd enough to be Christian porn (cf “Christian” romantic fiction). What is more troubling is that no one connected to these “pageants” even sees the hypocrisy in getting their panties (no pun intended) in a double wad over photographic depictions that ostensively objectify women in a bad way—and the idea that a “beauty pageant” is somehow different…..

5) But what about Ms. Moakler? Will her resignation let down her young supporters, and keep them from fulfilling their dreams? 

Screw that. What about fulfilling the dreams of Ms. Moakler’s OLD supporters, and not letting those old supporters down? Forget it, Jack: Ms. Moakler’s got a ream of restraining orders in one hand, a handgun in the other, and she’s equally good with both. You best go back to Jiminy Cricket, and find yo’ self a new star to wish upon.

Ms. Shanna Moakler. If you're looking for
a picture of her with no pants on, you'll
have to find it yourself.
But why DID Ms. Moakler resign from Miss (sic) California? It had to be because The Don allowed Ms. Prejean to stay Miss (sic) California—but was Ms. Moakler protesting Ms. Prejean's anti-gay bigotry? Or was it Ms. Prejean really soft-core Christian porn? I want to say it is because Ms. Prejean’s an ignorant bigot—but Ms. Moakler’s statement refers to her (Ms. Moakler’s) disillusionment regarding the “contracts [Ms. Moakler] signed committing [Ms. Moakler] as a youth.” That certainly suggests the “no pants-no picture” rule, because I doubt that Miss (sic) USA aspirants contract not to be idiots.

Which is another wrinkle that makes this story so interesting. While Ms. Moakler’s “young supporters” know her as a leading lioness with the Miss (sic) California crowd, her old supporters wear raincoats and know her as Miss (sic) December 2001—when Ms. Moakler was photographed conspicuously not wearing pants, FYI.

Now, how can an organization on the one hand get excited about young women having their picture taken with no pants on, but at the same time have a co-executive director famous for pantless photography? And nobody (but me) notices this?

6) But why don't you tell us what you REALLY think?

People say this to me all the time, like it's supposed to be funny. The implication is that I have no self control, and just blurt out whatever I happen to be thinking at the moment. That would hurt my feelings—except for the fact that I DO have lots of self control, and very carefully edit everything I write. Which goes to show what I really think is just plain whack. 

Ms. Yvonne Romain. If your mom catches
you--just claim you were looking at the
Be that as it may:

A) Donald “The Don” Trump is a hypocrite, an economic war criminal, and an all around despicable human being. This has nothing to do with the controversy, but one should never miss an opportunity to point out just how awful of a person he really is.

B) Ms. Prejean should be fired as Miss (sic) California, but not because she is an ignorant bigot. She should be fired because she is both an ignorant bigot AND unable to hide it. 

If Ms. Prejean intends to have a career in the public eye, she needs to learn from all the other closet bigots: be a hypocrite. You can say “we live in a land where you can choose same-sex marriage or opposite (sic),” as Ms. Prejean said, and only sound like an idiot. But you cannot remove all doubts as to your idiocy by saying the benefits of marriage should be extended only to “a man and a woman.” Go back to Ms. Prejean’s statement, and imagine the question was about inter-racial marriage. What if Ms. Prejean was raised to believe that—no offense to anyone out there—white people should only marry other white people?

I would argue a disturbingly large percentage white Americans feel that way…but they know better than to say it out loud.

Ms. Jan Sterling. Just to show you that 
back in the day, women also knew how 
to not wear pants.
C) In terms of both Ms. Prejean and Ms. Moakler’s propensity to be photographed with no pants on, I have to say from an aesthetic perspective, they both look good with no pants on--as opposed to say how I look with no pants on. As for any broader moral judgment about their character: I personally believe having your picture taking with no pants on does not reflect one way or the other on your moral or personal integrity (unless you look terrible with no pants on. In that case, your ethics are more than a little suspect).

D) I’ll believe that “religious beliefs have no politics (sic) in the Miss (sic) California family” the day a Miss (sic) California aspirant not only has her picture taken with no pants on, but is also non-judgmental in regards to bestiality and cannibalism--and no one at the Pageant cares.

E) I am more than a little disappointed that no one in this whole episode feels obligated to use good grammar.

F) I am sick and twisted green jealous at Mr. Perez Hilton’s seemingly effortless ability to cause such trouble. I really hate that.

7) A certain niece who will go nameless but lives in San Diego California USA ventures to ask “Wow. This is a lot of effort you’re putting in, all about a topic that has nothing to do with Sarah Palin. What is up with that?”

FINE. A Sarah Palin flack sent out a press release, defending Ms. Prejean from what Governor Palin called “the liberal onslaught of malicious attacks (sic):”

Ms. Sarah Palin: "I can relate to Ms. Prejean:
I'm an ignorant, barely literate bigot
“I can relate, as a liberal target myself . . .What I find so remarkable is that these politically-motivated attacks fail to show that what (sic) Carrie and I (sic) believe is also what President Obama and Secretary Clinton believe – (sic) marriage is between a man and a woman . . . I applaud Donald Trump for standing with Carrie during this time. And I respect Carrie for standing strong and staying true to herself, and for not letting those who disagree with her deny her protection under the nation’s First Amendment Rights (sic) . . . Our constitution protects us all – not just those who agree with the far left and a moron says what?”

Okay. I made up that last part. But see also, supra, re bad grammar. This was a press release, for goodness sakes.

8) Do you really read OMG!?

Oh, and like you don’t.
Ms. Yvette Vickers in the film "Hud." She may not have had a large part, but she was the best advertisement for fast living that I can remember.

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