Even though it is old news, the events surrounding Miss California and the Miss USA competition deserve a good rewind.
For those of you unfamiliar with what happened, here is a video clip of Miss California, Carrie Prejean, during the question and answer portion of the competition.
The story unfolds from here. Miss California did not go on to win the Miss USA competition, but in the resulting media circus, the fight to win the moral high ground had just begun. But did anyone achieve a moral victory here?
First – Why was Perez Hilton asking such a question? Would a certain answer to the question somehow make a better Miss USA, whose job it is to…uh, be pretty (seriously, what is her job)? Somehow, it seems like Mr. Hilton was trying to be sly. Either he would get an answer to his question that was in support of gay marriage, in which case he could claim some sort of “popular opinion” for the movement, or he would get an answer against gay marriage, in which case he could point to “right wing nuts” all over this country. The less important option is that he would get a nonsensical answer which would be entertaining to the viewers. In any case, Perez’ ongoing claim to the moral high ground on what he considers a civil rights issue is on shaky ground, to say the least. The Miss USA pageant is simply not the place for meaningful interaction with controversial issues.
Next, Miss California. My critique is that she entered a beauty competition for sport in which she did choreographed dance, walked around in a bikini, did some other things, then tries to play it off like her morality, rather than her looks, makes a difference. My goal here isn’t to judge Miss California, since she was asked a question she was required to answer, but rather to judge the circumstances in which she placed herself. If the moral high ground was her goal, doesn’t this seems like pearls before swine? If morality was her goal, what was the purpose of her participation in the competition, which some have labeled as “soft porn”? Not to mention the ongoing controversy surrounding Miss Prejean concerning inappropriate photos and breast implants. No matter the quality of her answer, her very circumstances place the moral high ground far on the horizon.
Lastly, the media gets into it. Miss California becomes the darling of Fox News and James Dobson on one hand, who claims she has been unfairly targeted for her beliefs and her speech censored, and the whipping girl of those like MSNBC and Keith Olbermann, who use her questionable moral choices to show how religion has confused this girl. Both battle for the moral high ground, as if any part of this debate contain loftiness or morality. Both sides seem to be struggling against a phantom.
As I rewind on this story, I continually try to imagine what the moral high ground would look like.
Is there any moral high ground in this story?