Friday, May 08, 2009

You get a badge and a membership card, as well.

I read with interest the latest Andrew Bolt article, regarding the scandal surrounding Miss California USA Carrie Prejean.

Firstly, Bolt claims he was urged to join "The Left" as a boy.

Um, Andrew? You are aware "The Left" isn't a club, aren't you? That you can't actually join it? The Left and Right divide is quite often nothing more than a convenient label when you're trying to pigeon-hole someone.

Then Bolt can't understand why Perez Hilton is asked to judge:

"Prejean last month competed in the Miss USA final, where she was inexplicably asked by a judge, celebrity blogger Perez Hilton, what she thought of gay marriage.

Hilton, not incidentally, is dye-my-hair-blue gay, but such is the official tolerance of these times that he was naturally asked to judge a pick-a-chick show for hetero fantasists. "

Dye-my-hair-blue gay? What the hell? I've known many people with blue hair, and many who identify as gay, and I can't say I've ever seen a cross-over.

It might be a pick-a-chick show, Andrew, but it also has a very large gay following, and Perez Hilton is - just like everyone else in the world - not just his sexuality. There's always a celebrity judge. That's he's gay has three-fourths of fuck all to do with it. Are we excluding women from judging as well? Is the most important qualification in judging a beauty pageant whether you want to have sex with the contestants?

Next, the point where I agree:

"Indeed, even President Barack Obama - a hero of the Left who has "inspired millions", according to this same Hilton - said before the election that he was against gay marriage, too, because "I believe marriage is between a man and a woman".

Just what Prejean said."

That's correct. And we didn't see Perez Hilton come out before the election and declare Obama a "Dumb Bitch" or anything similar for expressing that opinion. But Prejean was taking part in a beauty pageant, so the gags and condemnation came thick and fast.

"Yet the punishment of Prejean had barely begun. Organisers of Miss California issued a statement saying they were "saddened" by her response to the judge's direct question because "religious beliefs have no place in politics in the Miss California family".

They then cattily announced that not only did Prejean have breast implants, but the pageant had paid for them."

If religious beliefs have no place in politics in the Miss California family, why was she asked the question? And what would the organisers (or in fact, the public), have had her do? Lie? And what, apart from demonising her further and giving the public and certain commentators more fuel for their pyre, does who paid for her implants have to do with anything?

"I said that feminists, whatever their politics, should have denounced this savage and sexist put-down of a woman for merely having expressed a personal opinion, particularly when that same opinion is excused when expressed by a man that's now the President."

To be honest, I agree with that. Not that Andrew Bolt should be telling feminists what to do - particularly when he's usually so scathing of them - but why are we okay with a woman being attacked about her appearance, her breast implants, her hair colour, only when she disagrees with our point of view? When by-and-large, Obama got through saying the same thing with nary a backward glance?

Next, Andrew points out that the pageant organisers are considering stripping Prejean of her Miss California crown:

"Now they're even checking if they can take away her Miss California crown, on the pretext she broke pageant rules by posing topless at 17 - even though she'd merely auditioned for Victoria's Secret with her back to the camera and an arm shielding her breasts."

Aaand, this is where we cease to agree. Firstly, there are many precendents for stripping beauty pageant winners of their crown for similar rule-breaking, and contenstants are specifically asked on their application if they've ever had nude, or partially nude photographs taken of them. Prejean didn't declare the photograph.

That could have been a legitimate error - not seeing a topless shot that shows nothing as partially nude - or it could have been a deliberate oversight. I don't know, so I'm not going to judge that.

Secondly, Andrew was up in arms in April of last year with Vanity Fair "exploiting" a then-fifteen Miley Cyrus.

Let's compare the pair, shall we?



There's two years difference between them, granted, but in Miley's shot, you see nothing but her back. Prejean's shot, particularly the full length shot where all she's wearing is a pair of boy-cut panties, is far more provactive.

Wherefore your indignation at adolescents and their sexualisation, Andrew?

Personally, I see nothing wrong with either shot, but that's my personal opinion. Nor do I see why with Miley, Bolt had an issue, but with Prejean he's donned his armour and he's galloping around on his white horse rushing to her defence.

Then we move on to Sarah Palin, and the media's treatment of her:

"No slur was too outrageous or false to be flung in Palin's face by writers who'd swear blind they were warriors against intolerance, sexism and snobbery.

Cult filmmaker Michael Moore even claimed Palin's Down syndrome baby, Trig, was actually the son of her eldest daughter, and prominent gay campaigner and writer Andrew Sullivan demanded to see the birth records of a boy the Huffington Post mocked as "the runt of the litter" and the editor of Australia's far-Left Crikey website unforgivably called "a mongrel".

A few things. Calling Trig a "mongrel" was absolutely unforgivable. Problem is, Andrew gets it wrong when he says the Editor of Crikey was the one who called Trig a Mongrel, He didn't. It was reader submitted. Still unforgivable, and should have been picked up. Considering it was first short-listed and then made it on to a poll, there were at least two opportunities to do so, and that it wasn't is pretty unbelievable.

Michael Moore is an idiot for taking that rumour (Anyone remember where that started?) at face value and not investigating it properly before making public comment on it.

Additionally, I lose a little bit of the sympathy I have for Palin - and I do have sympathy for the way she was treated by the media - when she herself uses her baby to further her Pro-life, anti-choice stance. It's distasteful to thrust your infant son into the media spotlight like that.

"Even Palin's pregnant daughter, just 17, was held up and mocked as a symbol of working-class depravity."

Here's another case where Palin loses my sympathy a bit. She was more than happy to use her daughters circumstances as a political point-scoring tool, but not so happy when others did the same. And I do not agree with - or defend - anyone who calls Sarah Palin's daughter a "slut", but when you preach an abstinance-only stance and your 17-year old, unmarried daughter gets knocked up, it kind of takes something away from your message, know what I'm saying?

Bristol Palin was not held up as a symbol of "working-class depravity", she was held up as an example of Abstinence-only sex-education doing what it does best - NOT WORKING.

Of Pauline Hanson, Bolt has this to say:

"This year she was falsely assumed by some papers to be just the trash who'd have posed for porn pictures, too, and deserved to have those fake pictures run without proper checking."

Andrew, your own paper was amongst those "some". Are you now claiming that News Limited is a Leftist organisation? Or that the editor who let this one through was? Or are you just trying not to piss off your bosses by mentioning that the organisation you write for was one of those who ran the story without the appropriate checking?

Basically, I have two issues with this whole Prejean thing. Firstly, when are we going to stop insisting that women (and men, for that matter) who are in the public eye are perfect? No-one is perfect. Teens go out and have pre-marital sex. Young women let their partners take photographs of them in compromising positions. Mothers sometimes DON'T have total control over what their children do. That doesn't make them bad people.

Personally, I don't agree with either Palin's policies, or Prejeans gay marriage stance. But that doesn't give me, or anyone else, the license to start picking Prejean apart on the basis of her appearance. Or her boob job. Or her blonde hair. Or even the fact that she's taking part in a pageant. It doesn't give anyone the right to pick Palin apart on the basis of her Downs Syndrome child, her pregnant daughter or the amount the McCain campaign spent on her wardrobe.

The fact that she also broke pageant rules by appearing on behalf of NOM, an anti-gay pro-fear organisation (Also, incidentally, against the rules), does piss me off a bit, but everyone is entitled to align themselves with whomever they chose. Just because I think NOM are a bunch of lying crazies with the worst weather predicting capabilities in the world doesn't mean Prejean shouldn't sully her name by her association with them. If that's how she wants to roll, that's fine.

Basically, what I'm asking for is that people take on Prejeans arguments and prejudices on their own merit. If what she's saying is so wrong (And it's my personal opinion that it is), then the counter-arguments will stand up on their own measure. There's no reason to be bringing blonde, boobs or brains into it.


Michelle said...

I love that Bolt thinks that he knows so much about teh gays, neglecting the fact that if it weren't for them these contests would pretty much fall on their face.

I don't think Prejean should be vilified either. While I despise her opinion, I think by harping on and on about her, critics are just giving her the publicity she doesn't deserve.

Kartar said...

Don't all the "teh gays" have blue hair? OMG!!!! If they don't have the blue hair, how am I going to tell them apart from the normal people? I could meet a gay person and not know!

The horror! The horror!

Jayne said...

Gee, last time I looked Colin Miller, former test cricketer, was far from gay and he famously dyed his hair blue.
Perhaps Bolta knows something Colin doesn't?!

Keri said...

Jayne - Perhaps so.