Monday, May 11, 2009

I Can't Believe I'm Writing About a Beauty Pagent

Miss California
Let me declare, up front, so there is no lack of clarity about this blog, that I think beauty pagents are among the stupidest things on the planet. The Miss USA contest is a show that is about beautiful women in bikinis, viewed by people who are too repressed to actually just pick up an SI Swimsuit issue (or something more racey) but prefer to have their soft-core pornography couched in the pretense of inane questions about world peace and talent competitions that put the rejects from American Idol to shame. It doesn't matter to me one bit who becomes Miss USA, Miss America, Miss World or any of those other crowns.

Having said all of that, I feel compelled to write about the controversy surrounding Miss California. I'm not particularly interested in the ins and outs of her being disqualified for naked photos (again, these pagents are for people who want to view porn without viewing porn, so out-and-out nudes are a no no.) I'm very interested, however, in the flash point surrounding her answer around gay marriage.

I am repeatedly on record as a strong advocate for gay marriage. I believe it to be a fundamental civil right issue. I've yet to hear a credible, logical explanation for why gay marriage should be illegal (most of my debates on this subject devolve into "God says it's wrong", a basis on which I can't have a logical debate.) Incidentally, if you do have a credible, logical explanation that doesn't rely entirely on religious faith, please drop me a line, I promise to give it due time.

In spite of my own strong pro-gay marriage views, I was frankly shocked by the venom from the left directed at Miss California for expressing, when asked, that she believed marriage should be between a man and a woman. While it wasn't a view I agreed with, it frankly, is a view still shared by the majority of Americans.

My first point of discussion was why she was asked the question in the first place. I couldn't for the life of me, figure out why such a sensitive political topic was fair game in a beauty pagent. Oh, but Miss USA is a role model, my friend replied. We have to make sure that she models, and I quote "the right values". This, my friends, is a very slippery slope. Are we really going to screen all our role models for political acceptability? You can't be a role-model if you aren't pro-choice, pro-gay marriage, anti-death penalty and pro-stimulus? I thought Democrats were the pro-first ammendment party. My friend countered whether I would be okay with a Miss USA who was against interracial marriage. A fair point in that it made me think about it a little differently. I'd be a lot more offended. And I struggle to draw a moral distinction between the two. But, ultimately, I think my answer is the same...her views on marriage aren't relevant to a beauty contest.

My friend then proceeded to go on a rant about not giving podiums to people who are haters. This strikes me as insanely harsh. All Miss California did was answer a question that she never should have been asked with the same answer that Barack Obama gave. The same answer Bill Clinton gave. The same answer Hillary Clinton gave. The same answer Al Gore gave. The same answer John Kerry gave. All these people are heros of the left but Miss California is an evil hater? Please.

So, as much as I'm in favor of gay marriage and as much as I disagree with Miss California, I do so respectfully. She never should have been asked about the topic and her answer certainly should not have disqualified her for winning. If we start to apply group think and politically correct litmus tests across society, we stifle free debate and free speech. Those means are far worse than any progressive ends.

And by the way, doesn't the fact that Donald Trump gets to decide whether she keeps her crown make this whole contest an utter farce?

The Chrysler Mess
CNN and Fortune had an excellent piece today on the long odds Chrysler faces. Having now gone into bankruptcy it has shuttered all its factories and stopped all new product development. Even if it emerges, 2010 model year cars will be late rolling off the assembly lines. Chrysler will face huge transition costs to get its 2009 (and 2008!) inventory out of the system. R&D for 2011 model development will be stalled and the models will likely be late. And it isn't like Chrysler was coming from a strong position to begin with.

Strictly Symbolic Budget Cuts
We have an over $3 trillion federal budget, just passed a $787 billion stimulus plan and we are wasting time talking about $17 billion in budget cuts? Sorry, Mr. President, this one doesn't pass the stink test. Utter symoblism.

Shut Up, Mr. Cheney
We couldn't get him to face the press for 8 years in office when he was designing torture schemes, secret classification techniques and the like. Now we can't get him off the air. Everywhere I look, Dick Cheney is on the air criticizing the Obama administration, continually claiming that the President is "making the country have less safe". Mr. Cheney should take an example from his former boss and shut his mouth President Obama deserves his silence and the opportunity to implement the policies for which he was elected.

You are irrelevant to us now, Mr. Former Vice President. Say what you want, you aren't helping the GOP.

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