That is not the headline I envisioned when I decided several busy days ago to write on this topic, but seeing yet another reference to it topping Willie Geist’s list on Morning Joe today, I was moved to change my view just a little. If you still haven’t guessed what I am writing about, it’s the seeming tempest in a teapot set off by the answer given by Miss California USA to a question posed by Perez Hilton during last Sunday’s Miss USA pageant. The entire incident ignited a firestorm of media coverage that was probably not warranted on the basis of the two “queens” involved. But as a gay guy, I feel that the entire incident cannot go without comment in my blog.
First of all, who really cares what Miss California USA has to say on one of today’s hottest and most divisive issues? My guess is that it only has major impact among those of the Religious Right, the inventors of the “gay agenda,” and gay people who are struggling to get equal civil union or marriage rights across the country. Everybody else, I would posit, is probably just watching the “show.” And what a spectacle it turned into thanks to the back and forth between a bitchy queen, that would be “Mizz” Perez Hilton, and a less-than-gracious beauty queen from California. Whatever the extreme advocates from either side may think, they were both wrong, and their stubborn defense of their “opinions” and ill-chosen words only makes it worse for the real people caught in the crosshairs—gay people with a legitimate cause.
I will begin with the beautiful Miss California USA. And please don’t say that she isn’t beautiful in the physical sense. She is stunning when her face lights up with her dazzling smile atop her statuesque body. What Miss California USA obviously doesn’t know is that one of the mainstays of beauty pageant audiences is gay men. Don’t ask me why. We just love beauty pageants. Maybe it’s the clothing or the hair or the jewelry, or maybe beauty queens are the last remnant of that which inspires the stereotypical big-haired drag queens that are, like it or not, part of “our” culture. But whatever the reason, it is the gay man who keeps beauty pageants in business or not. I don’t think it’s a mere coincidence that the more right-wing rhetoric that came from the participants in the Miss America pageant, the lower its ratings plummeted, forcing it to go on a cable-channel hunt for a television audience. Country Music Television obviously didn’t work, despite all the “God, guns and country” gushing engaged in by the contestants. So in its latest incarnation it has launched a pre-pageant exercise calling on the talents of obviously gay hosts to “help” the contestants hone their skills.
So, my dear Miss California USA, what you stumbled into on Sunday evening was an exercise in biting the hand that feeds you, regardless of your good “Christian-girl” intentions. I have been willing to give the girl a pass on the whole issue due to her age and probable lack of life experience, but her follow-up interview was troubling for me at a gut level. I know she was baited into joining the fray by the bitchy Mizz Hilton, but in falling for the bait she only made her situation worse.
What bothered me the most was her attempt to minimize her position as an “opinion.” This just highlighted her lack of understanding and compassion for a group of people she doesn’t have any regard for as individual human beings. I know that the mantra of the Religious Right on the “gay agenda” is that it’s a choice to be gay. Well, I’m living proof that nothing could be further from the truth. But the assertion by this young woman that this amounts to no more than a difference of opinion is ridiculous. It is not a mere difference of opinion when a group of religious people impose their “opinion” on a minority population by working vigorously to pass laws to make it all right to discriminate against them. And as the recruitment of black Christians to join the “hate agenda” against gay people grows, I would point out to those folks that, had there been state by state elections on the civil rights of African-Americans back in the 50s and 60s, you would have been up against a constitutional amendment that kept you from your civil rights to this day. So think about that as you jump to impose legally binding constitutional bigotry on any group in America.
Now, that’s all I was going to say about Miss California USA’s role in this whole mess as of this morning, but I saw something else that made me feel that perhaps she needs a little more tutelage on graciousness. When informed of Perez Hilton’s scathing, uncalled for, and rudely over-the-top remarks about her, she said “I will pray for him.” Now, I don’t know if you watch it or not, but one of my favorite new programs on television is “Lie To Me.” It chronicles the work of a team of facial expression readers as they help various law-enforcement agencies in DC solve crimes. It’s absolutely fascinating although I will admit that it is a bit chilling to my paranoid side, but that’s another matter. I say that only in reference to something I noticed this morning as the clip of the beauty queen was played on Morning Joe. When she said that she would “pray for him,” a look of utter contempt and disgust came over her face. It wasn’t a very “beauty-queen” moment for the would-be Miss USA. In fact, her expression was downright ugly. I could be wrong, but I don’t think she was planning to pray for anything good to happen to Perez Hilton. That said, the bitch had it coming. And by bitch, I mean the mean spirited Perez Hilton.
As a blogger myself, and a gay man, I have long been an admirer of Perez Hilton. After all, he gives a voice – albeit a nelly/queeny one – to the gay movement for civil rights in America. So, just as I admit to loving beauty pageants, I also admit to loving Perez Hilton. But, Baby, what a bitch you were to that poor girl. You, too, snarled and bit the hand that feeds you, and that would be the hand of Donald Trump, who has brilliantly kept the Miss Universe Pageant on a solid financial footing while moving it from second place behind Miss America to the pre-imminent position it enjoys today, including a prime-time spot on NBC on Sunday night. Mizz Hilton, please, don’t mess things up. The Donald, in choosing you as one of the judges, recognized the contribution to audience share that gay men give to the world of beauty pageants.
And how did you pay him back? By unleashing a firestorm of controversy and then beating it into a media frenzy. If you were unhappy with Miss California’s answer to your question, you couldn’t have done a more stupid thing than to give her days of television coverage to promote her narrow point of view. That’s just bad message management, Mizz Hilton. On top of that, to resort to vicious name calling was a low blow all the way around, and caused the rest of your brothers and sisters who are struggling to obtain their civil rights in horrible states like mine, Texas, to suffer yet another public relations setback. Guhl, you were way too bitchy for primetime!
And let us not overlook the “forgotten queen,” Miss USA, formerly Miss North Carolina, who is being overshadowed by the girl she bested in the competition. I saw her on television also this week and she seemed nice enough and gracious enough for both sides, but I fear she scuttled any chance she might have at becoming Miss Universe when she glibly wished that she would win that international crown thus leaving Miss
California as the new Miss USA. Now, that would likely set off a whole new tempest and possibly break the teapot. But I believe the tough, you’re-fired guy will know exactly what to do to keep the ship afloat through any controversy. I only have one suggestion for The Donald, and that is: Don’t let NBC put you up against Desperate Housewives again. As much as I love the Miss USA Pageant and even more the Miss Universe Pageant, I am absolutely unwilling to give up a new episode of Desperate Housewives for anything. Sorry, Donald, it’s just a fact.
And following up on that, I will admit that I did a very manly thing while watching television Sunday, flipping the remote control back and forth during commercials on ABC to check out what was going on in the pageant. I missed Mizz Perez’s question, but I did see the countdown of the finalists to the winner. Due to not watching the whole thing, and missing the gay marriage question, I admit that I thought that the judges had made a mistake in not picking Miss California as the winner. I calls them like I sees them, but beware all you would-be beauty queens, beauty is only skin deep, and when you make grimacing faces when you talk against gay guys—or anybody else for that matter—you don’t look very beautiful. So no matter how tired and sore those cheek muscles get, keep smiling!
And Perez Hilton, YOU’RE FIRED!
And all of this doesn’t mean we shouldn’t –