Should Miss USA be able to string together a coherent statement in English? This important question was put to the test last night during the Miss USA 2013 pageant. Miss Utah Marissa Powell put on a brave face and delivered what may be a spectacular new low in verbal gymnastics. Never before have we seen such a clumsy word goulash uttered with such poise and really nice hair ... um ... since Miss Teen South Carolina 2007, anyway.
To be fair, Real Housewife of Atlanta NeNe Leakes asked Marissa a question with a lot of words: "A recent report shows that in 40 percent of American families with children, women are the primary earners yet they continue to earn less than men. What does this say about society?" Ooh, thinky! Here's what I imagine Marissa was contemplating while she answered the question.
Okay, um, something about women working. Ooh! I know. "I think we can relate this back to education --" 'Kay, where am I going with this? Oh yeah! "And how we are continuing to strive to --" Strive, people like that word. I don't know where to go now. Um, just smile, give yourself a moment to think, and just smile. Haha, okay, I'll blind them with my dazzling teeth and they'll forget all about the question! No? Okay, I'll keep going. Um ... "Figure out how to create jobs now. That is the biggest problem and --" Nailed it! People love it when you say we need more jobs because we do. But why did I have to say "and"? Now I have to keep talking! Oh my heck.
"I think, especially for men, are, umm -- " wait, are we talking about men or women? I can't remember. "... seen as the leaders of this, so we need to try to figure out how to --" SOS SOS SOS "create education better," mayday, mayday, I have lost control of word center of my brain. Mayday. "-- and solve this problem. Thank you."
Oh man, poor Marissa! That was a disaster. I want to believe that away from the cameras, off stage, in real life, Marissa would have been able to answer that question without sounding like a malfunctioning automaton. But I'm probably giving her too much credit. All I can say is, I may laugh, but I can relate. I have been known to space out sometimes when I'm in the spotlight, too -- I know what it's like to find yourself knee-deep in a verbal stew of your own making. It happens to everyone. So I have a little bit of sympathy for Miss Utah. She was probably just nervous and overwhelmed.
But you know what? I'm glad the pageant still does interview questions. Miss USA has to represent our country as an ambassador of sorts (I guess?), and her public speaking skills need to be sharp. She doesn't have to be a genius, but she can't sound like a complete moron, either. And this question should have been pretty easy to answer: Women have more opportunities today than ever before, but we don't value women's work highly enough, yet. The end.
Do you think pageants should just stop asking contestants interview questions?
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