Miss South Carolina is one smart blonde
Quick: Who won the Miss Teen USA pageant? See? Miss South Carolina isn't as dumb as you thought. Because of 19-year-old Caitlin Upton's rather dramatic brain malfunction during the Q&A portion of the pageant last weekend, everyone knows who Miss South Carolina is, but nobody can actually name the first-place finisher.
So it was Miss Upton sitting next to Matt Lauer on the "Today Show" the other morning, not Miss What'shername. (I could take a second and look up the name of the young lady who won but, you know, who cares?) It's pretty, blond Caitlin who has become the star. She'll get the same booking agent as William Hung, the most famous loser from "American Idol," and make a million bucks. Maybe she and Hung will even release a duet of his famous version of "She Bangs." It would give the tune new meaning.
We live in a time when winning isn't everything. It's not even anything. Fourth place is where it's at, baby.
I think Miss South Carolina had this planned all along. She's a lot smarter than you think. On the "Today Show" she named all the state capitals, figured pi to the 2,356th digit and correctly pronounced Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's name. Though only 19, she's in her third year of med school, specializing in micro-neurosurgery, while donating much of her free time to trying to broker a U.N. truce between the warring tribes in the Sudan.
So when she was tossed that trick question at the Miss Teen pageant, she counterintuitively decided to act like she was a dumb blonde, thereby making a biting social commentary on American gender and hair-color stereotypes and issuing a harsh indictment against the entire beauty pageant industry. Don't you know satire when you see it?
The question she was asked was so contrived that she treated it with the disdain it deserved. She was asked why, according to a recent poll, 20 percent of Americans can't find the United States on a map. She knew it's because 10 percent of the population is under 5 years old and can't even find the doodie in their diapers. Another 5 percent are over 95 years old and don't know what planet they're on. (Now THAT's going to generate some e-mail.) That leaves just another 5 percent who can't find the nation on a map because, as Miss South Carolina could have pointed out, most maps are made in China, and they hide the United States somewhere in Upper Mongolia.
It was a dumb question, and Miss South Carolina decided to use it to cut herself out of the herd of pageant contestants so she could meet Matt Lauer, a guy she's had a crush on since she attended Oxford, where she studied theoretical physics, specializing in the dichotomy between the string vs. particle theory of quantum gravity.
All I can say about Miss South Carolina is: She bangs! You GO girl! All the way to the bank!
Buy Charles Memminger's hilarious new book, "Hey, Waiter, There's An Umbrella In My Drink!" at island book stores or online
at any book retailer. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org