Look, I swear to you, I tried not to care about the Miss California deal. I did. A flap between a sparkly beauty queen and a sparkly internet drama queen is not something I want to admit I care about . . . . but today I caught some of Perez Hilton's comments on video, and it jogged some thoughts loose, so here we go.
First, I was struck by the way the whole thing was presented. If you haven't heard yet, the Miss USA pageant was held recently, and "Perez Hilton" (get it?!?) was one of the celebrity judges. I didn't watch it, and for a few days afterward, I heard over and over on sources from NPR to local radio to TV news and the internet that there had been a repeat of the " . . . and such as!" incident from a year or two ago. Nobody actually quoted what the woman said; I didn't even find out that she'd said something about gay marriage until a few days after. When I finally found out what she'd said, my first thought was that she was wrong, but . . . . where was the stupid? Where was the idiocy we were all supposed to mock? I just wasn't seeing what was so idiotic about a woman giving her opinion on the issue.
Later, when I saw Hilton's statements, I could only sigh and wish that he and I were on opposite sides of this issue. Unfortunately, we're not. I agree with him; if two adult people say they both want to commit to a marriage, everybody else should butt out. And I disagree with Miss California; her opinion is her opinion, but I think we all know gay marriage is coming, and it's not going to hurt anybody else's marriage when it does. If you're not buying that, you're entitled to your opinion, too, but keep me updated as Iowa's family structure falls apart in the coming years, because I may miss it.
Still and all, sharing Perez Hilton's side of anything is uncomfortable. Here he is blathering on at length and in detail about how Miss USA has to "represent everyone" and Miss California was "being divisive" with her answer. Really? Who asked the question, Pez-head? Was that you? Did you notice that you asked a simple, binary, yes-or-no question? She couldn't answer your question honestly without alienating someone. Your trouble is that you're defining "represent" as "agree with" and alleging that if she doesn't agree with you, she isn't representing you. That's a problem for two reasons, the first of which is that you think Miss USA is supposed to represent you. In what body or proceedings are you ever going to be represented by Miss USA? I'll tell you right now, Miss USA doesn't represent me. Ever. Actually, I probably shouldn't throw stones, since my federal representatives include Barry "Barack" Obama, Roland "Tombstone" Burris and Dick "Dick" Durbin. Maybe I should look into being represented by Miss USA and Miss America in future, actually, but that's neither here nor there.
I promised you two reasons, didn't I? Well, the second reason is that Hilton asked the question and thus set Miss California up to make a choice. The only choice he left her was between "representing" (in his parlance) either the people who want to prevent gay marriages or the people who want to allow gay marriages. That was it. Since he defines representation as slavish agreement, it's not possible for her to represent both sides--for one side to get what it demands, the other side has to lose what it wants. There really isn't a middle of the road. He could just say "Obviously, I disagree, and here's why gay marriage is important . . . " But that would require thinking his position through and considering whether it's really what he believes, and that's a lot like work. I shouldn't expect more than that from someone who snarks celebrities for a living, but apparently I did.