5/29/2007

Ugliness mars beauty celebration

Confession: I love beauty pageants. I’ve never found anything wrong with celebrating beauty.

And, I do not shy away from pointing out ugliness when it arises.

Last night when Miss Japan, Riyo Mori – my pick - was crowned Miss Universe in Mexico City, something so incredulous happened that I called my sister and emailed two friends to see if I really had heard what I thought I heard.

None of the three had watched the pageant, and it was not until the Associated Press story moved around 12:30 a.m. that I discovered that, indeed, what I had heard was the huge pageant crowd booing Miss USA.

I’ve watched pageants since I was a teenager, and this was a first.

Miss USA, Rachel Smith, had slipped and fallen to the floor during the evening gown competition, but this was not what the audience booed. She was booed after being named to the top five and during the final Q&A of the pageant.

It was not enough that the gorgeous Miss Smith had fallen on her beautifully bedecked backside, the poor young woman was “booed” for things beyond her control.

I find that very painful.

Here was an audience made up of persons from all over the world, gathered for a competion owned by NBC and American Donald Trump, and they were jeering our representative en masse.

I pray Miss Smith does not take it personally. I have.

This was a reaction, plain and simple, to our unilateral and pre-emptive foreign policy – the big bully protocol of George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and the neoconservatives who have peopled their inner circle. Of this, I am certain.

Adding to the tarnishing of America’s image around the world:

* A foreign press which is not afraid – like our own – to report facts about this administration and its policies - in a timely manner.
* A growing disdain in this country for venerable and respected institutions and persons who have criticized Bush’s policies. Fox News is at the forefront of disparaging such institutions as the United Nations, the Nobel prizes and noted publications, and such individuals as the pope and former U.S. presidents, vice presidents and other public servants.
* Amnesty International has just released its 2007 report focusing on human rights concerns around the world, and now the right-wing pundits are slamming this humanitarian organization.

The Associate Press coverage of this report, which I hope you will read for Amnesty International’s criticisms of nations, its reasons for doing so and its hope for a better world, began:

“The United States is treating the globe like a giant battlefield in its war on terrorism, eroding rights worldwide, a leading human rights group said Wednesday (23 May 2007).

“Amnesty International’s secretary-general, Irene Khan, said the United States’ and its allies’ behavior was setting a destructive example for other nations, and that other countries were using the war on terrorism as an excuse to violate human rights and stifle dissent.”

AP quotes Ms. Khan:

“One of the biggest blows to human rights has been the attempt of Western democratic states to roll back some fundamental principles of human rights — like the prohibition of torture,”

AI’s report, AP continues, “condemned the United States’ response to international terrorism, saying it had done little to reduce the threat, while deepening mistrust between Muslims and non-Muslims and undermining the rule of law. The Bush administration’s policy of extraordinary rendition — the alleged practice of secretly flying terror suspects to countries where they could be tortured — came in for particularly scathing condemnation.”

“The U.S. administration’s doublespeak has been breathtakingly shameless,” the report said. “It is unrepentant about the global web of abuse it has spun in the name of counterterrorism.”

Now, dear reader, I don’t know how that makes you feel, but for me it’s devastating.

My fervent prayer is that this country will elect leaders who are dedicated to restoring our image in the world and can bring us back to Ronald Reagan’s “shining city on a hill.”

And, thank you, Miss Smith, for representing our country.

***

Associated Press report on the Miss Universe Pageant: LINK

Associated Press article summarizing the Amnesty International Report – a must-read: LINK

Amnesty International’s 2007 Report (PDF format): LINK

7 comments:

airth10 said...

One of your best posts Sir Cumspect. I feel your pain.

Anonymous said...

Boy, you really nailed this one. Beth

Anonymous said...

Frodo missed this pageant. Although he understands the position and the interest shown by Sir Cumspect, it is simply not his cup of tea. Besides if it wasn't Miss Mississippi, it was Miss Tennessee, and Frodo could hit it dead on without even watching any beauty pageant. By the way, Frodo is reminded that his late Aunt Rhea was "Miss West Virginia." A very interesting story. In any event, Frodo agrees with Beth, you hit this one right on. It is similar to a couple of track stars raising their arms in silent protest a few years back. There is a time to celebrate our differences, and there is a time to emphasize them. Jesse Owens did it right, and so did Ms. Smith. Audiences do not impress Frodo, from their disapproval with thumbs down, to those who booed Jackie Robinson, Frodo learned that cowards seek the anonymity of crowds.

Sir Cumspect said...

DRAT! Hardball's Chris Matthews can be so damn naive! He's attributing the jeering of Miss USA to the Mexicans and the illegal immigration issue. Thankfully, one of his guests pointed out that there is a general disgruntleness against America. Now, someone point out to him that the audience was not entirely Mexican.

Wait a minute! There might just be a pinch of conflict of interest here as to how MSNBC reports or doesn't report this story. NBC is co-owner of the Miss Universe Pageant.

Anonymous said...

I have to agree that you hit the nail on the head again. But I would like to add one thing re: a Bush comment on immigration that I heard just a few minutes ago.

Bush quote: "It takes more courage to do what's right than what's comfortable."

Sir Cumspect, Jan's hat is off to you for your courage to do and tell what's right.

George W. Bush: We know you have no courage or morals to do or tell what is right. And the world audience boooooooooos you! Furthermore, your ugliness does indeed mar the beauty of
truth.

Anonymous said...

When I first read that the Mexican delegation booed, I also thought it had something to do with immirgration policies. drakesix

Sir Cumspect said...

Did you see any of the replays? It was not a delegation that roared, it was the entire audience - loud and clear. I was stunned. What is interesting is: 1) what I see and hear for myself, then 2) how the media/talking heads INTERPRET it for me. Only a few got it right. Some tried to link the booing with her fall. Some tried to link it to immigration (namely Pat Buchanan). One or two said it was because the world does not like our policies, one being pageant co-owner Donald Trump. He told Miss Smith, "They are not booing you; they are booing the United States." Direct quote.