Miss Utah? Barely coherent

Whatever she said, Miss Teen South Carolina is still our nation's pride.


  1. I have the impression that part of the prep for pageants is to line up a number of canned responses for the questions, and the lady just chooses her response based on the small handful of categories they always ask about.  Education, diplomacy, etc…

    When a question doesn’t exactly fit with the canned response you get this sort of nonsensical sounding mishmash as the woman tries to tweak the response to sort of fit the question.  It’s like when someone asks a politician a nonstandard question and you get a brief glimpse into how they actually think. 

  2. That was definitely not my favorite answer though, this is:

    When asked about marijuana legalization Miss Iowa said,

    “I think that depends on the situation. I personally know people who have had to go to medical marijuana for their last resort for their health care and I support that. However, I do not think it should be used for anything but recreational use and health care.” 

    I agree, madam. But I think you didn’t mean for me to.

      1.  But aside from the rope and the fabrics and the building materials and the printing inks and the soap and the lotions and the machine oil and the nutritious food, what has hemp ever done for us?!

    1. I judge European culture, politics and education entirely by what I see during Eurovision.

      1. And we judge you both.

        …but don’t think about coming to join our judgefest or we’ll stick you in a prison on an island – especially if you’re a young and impressionable child.

        Oh wait… Europeans and Americans? Come right in, you guys are rich enough.

        1. Sieben, Sieben
          Ai lyu lyu
          Sieben, Sieben
          ein, zwei
          Sieben, Sieben
          Ai lyu lyu
          ein, zwei, drei

  3. A better answer to that question would be: “It says that society doesn’t value women as much as it values men.  I mean, just look at this stupid show we are on, where women are parading around in bikinis, being judged on how hot they are.”

    1. Great answer, now say that but make sure you say the words “job creation,” “education,” and definitely try to mention that men are the ones we have to depend on for answers! You need an appeal to patriarchal traditionalism in there. Fix that and you have a winner.

  4. I personally know how hard it can be to answer questions while in the Media spotlight so I don’t want to give her too much grief, especially since there is no way I could walk in those heels at the same time. She was clearly given the advice to figure out how to bridge whatever her question was to her “platform” which I’m guessing was education. 

    I do find the question interesting. It’s the question that drove Fox News male anchors insane.  Interestingly this is the kind of word salad that we have heard from another former pageant contestant. Sarah Palin.  Maybe Miss Utah has a career in politics. 

    BTW, someone pointed out that Utah spends the least per pupil per state.  (I didn’t look up how they ranked in testing because I don’t believe in testing as the only ranking of achievement. That and I’m  lazy)

    1. Well, standardized testing does mean something. According to nationsreportcard.gov, Utah ranks above the national average in math, science (scoring equal to Massachusetts in science tests) and other subjects.

      But, after this video, I can’t believe those statistics are accurate. I always rely on a single anecdotal data point to confirm all my biases.

  5. “word salad” – nice – wikipedia entry leads to “bayesian poisoning”, “lorem ipsum”, “finnegan’s wake” – there went my coffee break

      1.  Yes, that one’s like the “eat the whole thing and get your picture on the wall of the restaurant” kind of word salad.

  6. Ladies and gentlemen – The NEXT SARAH PALIN !!!

    Applaud, you swine – The NSA is watching.

  7. It’s almost like being intelligent or coherent isn’t the most important qualification for entering a beauty pageant. I wonder why they continue the charade of pretending that it is. Just get a bunch of attractive women, have them walk around the stage in a bikini for two hours. That’s the entire point anyway.

    1. And who needs the bikinis?  Replace those with automatic weapons for ultimate ‘merican sex appeal.

      1. I find a woman who shoots recreationally far more interesting and attractive than one parading around in a bikini for ogling idiots. One’s a fun pastime, the other’s bald sexism. YMMV.

          1. Ah, I see. Of course, it’s not the bikinis or nudity that I find sexist, it’s turning it into a “pageant” where the contestants are passive manikins.

            Now if it were co-ed, the outfits imaginative, the questions incisive and the answers intelligent, I would watch at least once for novelty’s sake.


        1. Precision marksmanship would be an interesting category for a beauty contest.  It would never happen though–the ear protection would mess up their hair. 

      2. Wait – better yet, have them strap American flags to their backs, and dance in straddling assault rifles, while “America the Beautiful” blasts and a giant banner flutters overhead that just says: “AMERICA.” Then they can feed each other hamburgers while writhing on top of a whole fleet of those fake civilian humvees. It will be amazing.

        1. Replace the humvees with writhing, chained Gitmo prisoners wrapped in cellophane and we’re golden.

          1. Yes, and it’s very, very, very important that everyone else know it too. Thank god you were here to provide that service. You may have saved a life today, sir, I salute you. By god, they should give you a medal or something.

          2. You may want to update your “America, Fuck Yeah!” touchstones is all I’m saying.

    2. Unfortunately I understand this from the other side and know just how hard the women push themselves for this, which just actually makes it really sad.

  8. Oh god. I had to pause it twice before getting through it. The “No, Really, We Value These Women For their Intellect, Seriously” parts of these pageants are always schadenfreudelicious. They give me a ‘train-wreck-tion”. Wait, come back to me, I can do better.

    1. It makes me really sad. There are women who are this beautiful who are also intelligent, educated, thoughtful, who sidestep the cultural trainwreck of beauty pageants, because, well, they are intelligent.

      Should we start co-ed intelligence pageants ? The questions section might be profound, but would the contestants fail in the evening wear portion of the competition ? Like fail as hard as this ?

      1.  To be fair, I think the people in this video fail pretty hard at evening wear, too.

        I saw a bunch of gaudy dresses, and that dude in the (poorly sized) black jacket/black shirt/silver bow tie combo was PAINFUL.

      2.  To be fair she might be very intelligent, but an intelligent answer often entails an opinion, and opinions often make people want to argue and get pissed off at you. I’ve never watched a pageant but she sounds like she’s trying to give a politician’s answer, which I’ve always figured is a lot harder than it seems.

        1. Yeah, but there are canned answers for anything that they throw at you.

          “I believe that the Founding Fathers wanted us to do the right thing, and as someone who loves America, I believe that it’s our God-given responsibility to step up to the plate and demonstrate why we’re the greatest country in the world!”

          1.  I’m sorry but that would be a complete non-sequitur. As it is she actually did try to use your advice but you still have to weave it into something that sounds like an answer, she just flubbed it while doing so.

          2. …that would be a complete non-sequitur.

            That’s the point. You can’t critique it without looking like you hate America.

            …you still have to weave it into something that sounds like an answer, she just flubbed it while doing so.

            That’s also the point. She’s interviewing for a job that mostly consists of giving canned answers to inane questions. She failed.

          3.  It isn’t The Simpsons, you can’t get away with a nonsense answer just because you say you love America.

            And I don’t think you can call it an inane question. It explicitly coupled the fact that eliminating the gender wage disparity means a lot of households will have the woman as the primary breadwinner, a fact the right just spent a week freaking out about. It’s pretty hard to answer the question directly without looking a lot more feminist than the audience might be comfortable with.

          4. It isn’t The Simpsons, you can’t get away with a nonsense answer just because you say you love America.

            Other than Mo Rocca, the judges were D-list actors, reality TV stars, pro athletes, fashion designers and people whose claim to fame is beyond comprehension. I’m pretty sure that you can get away with a nonsense answer as long as you sound (and look!!!) good while saying it.

          5. I’ve never watched a pageant

            This is why you don’t know that this happens. You have way too high expectations of the contestants. They, the live audience and the idiots watching at home are generally as stupid as they come.

          6. Miss Teen USA has been held about 500 feet from me on three occasions. They’re pretty dull compared to White Party.

  9. Somehow I think you missed some important parts of that article. Maybe you should read it again.

    1. I’m not sure that even then, “Some Guy” would get any more out of it the second time. He clearly hasn’t taken off his Male Gaze glasses yet.

    2.  Also interesting how a report from the US Census Bureau [www.good.is/posts/women-make-less-than-men-at-every-education-level] shows a pay gap between men and women with the same degree.  Perhaps by controlling for experience you are ignoring why women wind up with less experience?  The article briefly mentions women with children being pushed towards part-time work.  I also read recently that employers are more likely to hire a male over a female with an identical resume.  I would assume that the women-as-caretaker attitude (for children or parents) could also lead to gaps in the resume which make it harder to get hired.

      1. I don’t know what the situation is like in the US, but many of the girls from an evangelical Christian background that I knew growing up ended up in nursing or teaching, or became primarily stay-at-home mothers. While they all seemed to do this out of choice, I’m sure their ‘roles’ as Christian women would have come into it too. What surprised me was that they would often put huge efforts into their studies and end up with significantly higher grades than they would have needed for this kind of career. I mean, they were very caring and probably made excellent and dedicated nurses or primary school teachers, but they could easily have become doctors or university professors, or done something else. I don’t know if they were considering the likelihood that they wouldn’t be able to dedicate that much energy to their career when they became mothers (or that they might be able to benefit from the flexibility of some of these jobs), and I definitely don’t want to dismiss the careers they went into (as they clearly need smart, dedicated people), it just seemed odd to see so many gifted people choosing jobs that they were overqualified for.

        Does anyone else have this impression? On the one hand, I wouldn’t want to criticize too much, as many of these women were pursuing their goals in life, and childcare was a big part of that. Having a demanding career would have put unacceptable pressure on their other priorities, and they wouldn’t have seen full time professional childcare from a young age as an acceptable compromise. From this perspective, the wage (and career) gap was more an example of a different value system than a lack of choice in their case. On the other hand, the whole concept of choice is difficult in this kind of context, so it’s one example of where inequality is evidenced before a girl ever starts her career.

        In any case, I do think it was quite a leading question that would have been difficult to answer properly without making half of the audience mad (and thereby losing the contest).

        1. How is one overqualified for nursing or teaching? Are only people with mediocre grades or mediocre intelligence supposed to be nurses or teachers? Also, admission to nursing school has become so competitive that one really does need excellent grades and an impressive CV. 
          To me, a society that sees nursing or teaching as a “second option” that should not attract the best and brightest- and deserve excellent pay- is the problem. 

          1. Nursing is sold as a sort of science-y professional career, but nurses end up spending a lot of time physically hauling people around and cleaning up shit. Nurses who go into it not understanding how much of it is hard physical labor and poo-wiping don’t do very well.

          2. (Replying to Antinous below)  I don’t think RNs and NPs do a lot of bedpan emptying these days. There are LPNs, assistants, and aides for that, not to mention orderlies.

            Also, RNs are paid fairly well, and unlike teachers they don’t have to take work home with them or pay for supplies out of pocket.

          3. It wasn’t my intention to put nurses or teachers down – I’m actually a teacher and my wife has been both a nurse and a teacher, so I am aware that they require a lot of skill to do well. My question was more that if the main wage difference is actually in the jobs people do rather than being paid less for doing the same job, why would many women choose jobs that are lower paid? Nursing may be well paid in the US, but it certainly isn’t in the NHS. Most of the women I was thinking of could easily get higher paying jobs and obviously have the ambition to get good grades, but they chose more traditional caring and teaching work. Was this because of their conservative upbringing (which would be similar to a statistically significant number of people in America), anticipation of problems with a work life balance (due to unequal sharing of responsibilities at home/concerns about future problems at work?), active discouragement from others, lack of role models or something else? I can’t think of one of them who wouldn’t make a great nurse, teacher or mother, it’s just that seeing the majority going that way surprised me (I also think we could do with more women in politics, business leadership, STEM or other areas).

            One interesting factor that I hadn’t really thought of was that many women marry men who are a few years older than them. Some more competitive jobs require you to travel away from the city where you studied (e.g. finding a research position after a PhD), so the couple might need to decide whose job is more important. If the man is already a few years further along the career path, it might be pragmatic to go with his position, even if the woman’s job shows promise. Once children come along, it’s even more unbalanced in favor of the man’s career. 

            My main issue with the wage gap debate is that it’s often framed as overt sexism where employers are reluctant to hire or promote women into key positions. That definitely exists, but it seems that the answer to “what does the wage gap say about society” is more complex than “we’re a bunch of sexist dinosaurs”. We need to know more about how much of this is women actively or passively being held back (and how this is happening), how much is it that women are choosing jobs they love in spite of lower pay, what percentage would mean that society is equal and so on.

          4. Antinous- I’ve been a nurse for 8 years, and have not been physically hauling people around or cleaning up shit for any of them. Now I’m getting my NP/ doctorate, and ironically will probably have more contact with bodily fluids afterwards (going into psych, you know how that goes). I know that those two tasks are part of many nursing jobs, but in my experience, and that of my nurse friends, it’s hardly the majority of it. Yes, ICU nurses are turning people and cleaning them, but they’re also assessing them every hour, dealing with very complicated machinery, working with the families, and coordinating their care. What you’re describing sounds more like the job of a nursing assistant. At least that’s been my experience.

    3. Somehow I think you missed some important parts of that article.

      What do you mean by this “parts”? There is “headline”, and then there are those columns of decorative squiggly figure below “headline”.

  10. She’ll never be a politician until she can do a better job at turning the question around to give the answer she really wants to give. I mean, she understands the concept, the execution is just off…

  11. Just to pretend I’m exhibit C for the Devil’s advocate, I do remember what it’s like to really be put on the spot.

    I am the son of a former preacher, and whether I liked it or not, it was always assumed by the congregation (and perhaps by my father) that I would follow in his footsteps because I was the outspoken and affable son. This was the last thing I ever would have wanted, yet I always found myself thrust into situations where I had to read the bible verses or do the interpretation.
    Well, one day I found myself preparing to read a verse when the speaker before me read the very same passage I had intended to read that evening. I had about 30 seconds, and had to scramble, and I think I picked out a passage that dealt with what was clean or unclean. I was young, and never considered that I would ever be in need of a “backup verse”.

    Lucky for me, it was enough to help the elders to decide that perhaps I wasn’t meant to lead services when I grew up. Well, you know what they say about the Lord and mysterious ways.

    As silly as this contest is, I still feel for those who find themselves in a bind on stage.

    1. And the flipside of that is not so intelligent politicians like Reagan who have acting skills and utter confidence in a world view divorced from reality that allows them to speak complete nonsense in a completely convincing fashion.  

    1. Dangit, corrected you but then found out you got the name right after all (I thought it was “..for kids who don’t read so good.”)

      1. Actually, it´s abbreviated. The full name is “The Derek Zoolander Center For Kids Who Can’t Read Good and Wanna Learn to Do Other Stuff Good Too”

    1. It’s just makeup. If you stenciled that much paint onto your face, you’d be unrecognizable, too.

  12. I love the idea of an intelligence pageant that highlights both specific knowledge and a general understanding of issues in our world.

    So there would be places for the people who can rock out with math or biophysics or 17th century Lithuanian poetry, but also some room for general ideas and mixing of concepts.  Throw in some cooking and hardware hacking and it would be really fun.

    Winners get scholarships and a round the world backpacking ticket.

    That I would watch.

    1. Look at the host’s smirk at the end…. it says it all. This video is pure torture, but at least she has the excuse of being a teenager.

      1. That’s what I was going to say, but without the 700-odd extraneous words!

        Condensed: I don’t think of BoingBoing as being 100% Bully-Free, but I do suspect that many of the residents have been on the receiving end — at least to some degree — and are reasonably careful to avoid such behavior. In any case, many of the critical comments have contained caveats regarding a certain amount of empathy for people flailing on stage.

        Mockery does not automatically equal bullying. Self-aware, somewhat cringe-y mockery definitely doesn’t. And then there’s the voluntary public figure angle…

        1.  True.  Anything said about or to Rob Ford at this point would hardly qualify as bullying.

    1. If someone has a sincere interest in gaining or improving knowledge then yes, yes it would be bullying….. but while she’s trying to fake it to win a who’s hottest competition then fuck THAT. I’ll ridicule every singe one of those contestants purely based on the fact they’re willing to participate in such a waste of electricity.

      Competitions like this fuck the self esteem of many more women than the number of contestants in the competition, women who freely allow themselves to appear like fucking idiots by choice. I do feel embarrassed for her, but I’d rather the 10s or 100s of girls reading this page know that some people respect intelligence and that while some appreciate physical attractiveness it comes second to intelligence.

      I judge proudly stupid people and treat them accordingly.

      1. Intelligence and attractiveness are both qualities that are doled out unfairly though. I guess making fun of people because they’re ‘stupid’ feels wrong to me. She failed to be eloquent or smart on stage, but I bet if she had time to research and plan a good answer to that exact question she’d have come up with something unobjectionable.

        1. You are right, but these days education is as free as it’s ever been. I’m not expecting Shakespeare, just coherent sentences that respect the rules of the English language would be a good start.

          Rote-learning or preparing an answer would make her appear smarter, but it would not make her smarter.

      2. I suspect we all fall into the category of stupid at some point or another. I’m no fan of these sorts of contests by any means, but what possible good comes from highlighting her failure? If she were to take her own life as a result of all the online dog-piling, would you feel just as justified in “judging” her? 

        1.  I think of myself as a smart person – and I’ve lain awake at night on many occasions regretting the many stupid things I’ve said and done in my life.

        2. We all most certainly fall into that category once in a while, the only difference is I’ve never stood on a pedestal and entered a competition to determine that not only am I the most awesome person of my state, but also the USA or the universe.

          If she were to take her own life because of this I would feel sorry for her, but her choice to enter the competition should have been weighed against the possibility of such public ridicule. She stood to benefit as the winner, the risk of which was looking stupid in public. So though you might think I’m mean I’d feel just the same as now.

          I cannot speak accurately on the subject because I’ve never been in the position but I’d like to think I’d be pretty immune to what people would say about me because I’m comfortable within my own skin and proudly live by my principles and actions. If someone says something that is a constructive criticism I will consider it, while if someone is trolling I am the trolliest trollface to ever troll the Troll Bridge in Trolltown.

          Bottom line: if someone offs themselves because of legitimate criticism of things they are able to change then I am 100% meh.

          What possible good comes from pointing out her failings? A respect for intelligence that is dominant over the covergirl bullshit that marketing sells girls (and increasingly guys) today.

  13. One wonders what a winning display of this talent would look like, and whether it has any real world use. It does resemble the prattling of politicians in its bull dozer refusal to be pushed off point or to say anything of substance. In this case, though, it seems more like the whole enterprise is a tangle of compromised desires. No one knows what is at the heart of it anymore and each year is a slightly more nervous mimicry of last years event. 

    What does come across is that you can fake the look, but once you open your mouth you are going to reveal the real you.

    1. I think that the point is to eradicate the “real you”. Whoever is most completely fake wins.

  14. Why do they put them through this? It’s like asking the winning Olympic Weightlifters to play a piano concerto before they can receive a medal.

    1. They actually have to do a job for a year. They’re supposed to be functional. Some of them are quite bright and interesting.

    2. Since a lot of winning Olympic Weightlifters are Chinese I wouldn´t summarily count out their ability to do so.

    1. As a former San Franciscan, I would vote for the long lost Miss Haight Ashbury Pageant (anyone remember “Sissy Picks a Winner”?) or the Miss Bondage-A-Go-Go Pageant.

  15. Right on.  Everyone hates public speaking for exactly this reason. I felt more empathy than superiority watching this video.  I am ashamed of boingboing for the playground style taunting.

  16. Seems more like she couldn’t believe the crap the ear mic to the shows producer was telling her too say. But gosh oh geez, its money honey so run with the gag. And she did admirably. 

    Not every thing is as it seems, sheeple.

  17. There’s a moment when she looks up, when she realizes she’s totally tanking, as if she wants to say something like, “This is for you, YouTube!”

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