5.30.2007

The thud heard 'round the world

It wasn't my plan to make any grave commentary on current events on this forum, but I found this particular experience so very unsettling that I felt I had to set it free from my mind:

While I was busy compressing time and space this weekend, a small bit of grist for the YouTube mill was coalescing on TV screens all over the world. Rachel Smith, the USA delegate at the 2007 Miss Universe competition slipped while traversing the stage and fell on her backside. I didn't watch the broadcast myself, I've grown rather weary of beauty pageants lately, and this year's lack of a Trinidad & Tobago delegate all but guaranteed that I would be paying no attention at all to the night's proceedings.

But even I, amid the jumble of boxes and disassembled furniture that have overrun my life, could not escape the news of the (in my opinion) unfortunate event. The general lack of decorum and hospitality exhibited by the Mexican audience was also a source of controversy.

Now, I am certainly not above the odd bout of schadenfreude (who doesn't appreciate the occasional proof that even the beautiful people aren't perfect), but it seemed that I was one of a tiny minority who didn't find the evening's developments all that funny. Good for a momentary embarrassed giggle perhaps, but not gut-busting hilarious by any means. And I most definitely thought the booing was in poor taste. It's a freakin' BEAUTY PAGEANT for crying out loud! Hardly the place for you to express your deeply entrenched loathing for a country that thousands of your citizens are fighting to live in on a daily basis.

But the thing I find most disturbing about this entire episode, is the realization that a lot of people found this entire event uproariously funny, until they learned that Miss USA is black! Lo and behold, the same people who were cackling with glee in between clicks of the 'replay' button are now speaking out in sympathy and regret at 'sistah' Rachel Smith's plight. And they don't seem the least bit conscious of the dramatic flip-flop that they've performed.

Am I so far out of the loop that I've failed to realise that racism and hypocrisy are no longer things to be ashamed of? Or maybe these people are trying to follow in Ms. Smith's footsteps - if you fall down, get up immediately, shake it off, and act like nothing happened. Well, it couldn't win Rachel a crown..
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