Pageantry and puerility: a perilous pair |

Pageantry and puerility: a perilous pair

Todd Hartley
Aspen, CO Colorado

If you’re anything like me, and I think you probably are, you love stupid.

I don’t mean, “stupid me, I locked my keys in the car” absentmindedness. I mean sheer “stupid me, I locked myself in the car” idiocy.

I’m talking about good old-fashioned red, blond and blue American numbskullery. The kind of moronity that gave us “Jackass,” Anna Nicole Smith and the Bush administration. Keanu Reeves dumb. That’s what I’m looking for. That’s what makes me such a stupidphile.

One of the things I love best about stupidity is its inventiveness. Stupidity comes in so many forms, it’s absolutely brilliant. Why, in England alone in the 1980s, you had not only monarchy and the Falkland Islands war, but also Benny Hill, Boy George, Eddie the Eagle and Wham! That’s the whole stupid spectrum right there.

A perfect example of stupidity’s infinite inventiveness is the episode involving Miss Teen South Carolina that many of you have no doubt already seen. (The video has been viewed more than 23 million times on YouTube. This is how I know that you probably love stupid, too.)

For those of you who haven’t witnessed this lovely lass’ defining moment, let me set the stage: It’s the 2007 Miss Teen USA pageant, and the competition has come down to five beautiful, talented young finalists.

Ah, but there is more to these beauty pageants than looks, is there not? One must also be intelligent, which is why the finalists have to face the all-important judge’s question.

Miss South Carolina was selected to go first. Suave host Mario Lopez (Slater from “Saved by the Bell”) introduced her and ushered her forward to a fishbowl containing all the judges’ names on slips of paper. Miss South Carolina pulled out the name of Judge No. 5, actress Aimee Teegarden, and Miss Teegarden posed her question:

“Recent polls have shown a fifth of Americans can’t locate the U.S. on a world map. Why do you think this is?”

Miss South Carolina, who is blonde, or at least was for the pageant, hesitated only a moment before throwing her shoulders back and confidently declaring, “I personally believe that U.S. Americans are unable to do so because some people out there in our nation don’t have maps, and I believe that our education, like such as South Africa and the Iraq, everywhere like such as, and I believe that they should, our education over here in the U.S. should help the U.S., or should help South Africa and should help the Iraq and the Asian countries, so we will be able to build up our future.”


The poor dear even tried to slip in the words “for our children” after the buzzer sounded, figuring that anything that built up our future for our children had to be good, no matter how little sense it made.

Granted, that part of the pageant has been overdone. I wouldn’t have even brought it up again if that’s all there was to it. But it got even better (by which I mean stupider) right after that, because the very next judge, in his own way, practically answered Aimee Teegarden’s question with his own.

The contestant was Miss Colorado, a charming brunette from Louisville, and the question came from Judge No. 8, John Ferriter, who asked, “So who do you prefer, Paris Hilton, Nicole Richie or Lindsay Lohan, and why?”

What kind of insipid, teeny-bopper, US Weekly, take-your-orders-straight-from-the-idiot-box kind of brain-dead question is that?

And they wonder why Americans can’t find the U.S. on a map.

To her credit, Miss Colorado, after rolling her eyes a little, responded calmly, “Well, first of all, I would not say that they’re my role models. But I would have to say Paris Hilton, because she showed that she, in the end, knew what was right and what was wrong.”

It was as good an answer to the dumbest question ever as she was likely to come up with on short notice, and it must have worked, because Miss Colorado ended up winning the pageant.

The question was so stunningly dumb, though, that I had to do a little research on this John Ferriter imbecile. Turns out, he’s a senior vice president for the William Morris Agency, a job that apparently doesn’t require much brain capacity.

But here’s the best part: This Ferriter guy, the talent agent? You’ ll never guess who his biggest client is.

Keanu Reeves. Is that brilliant, or what?