How Is This Not A Good Thing?

….on oh so many levels??

MissUSA.jpg

I’m flabbergasted by the right-wing pundits who are beside themselvesBESIDE THEMSELVES – that a young woman whose family is from Lebanon was chosen as Miss USA.

First, as the above photo amply testifies, it was a damn good decision. Second, beauty pageants share their reputation for probity with state fair weight-guessers.

I’m not shocked that Debbie Slussel has blown a gasket – gasket-blowing is her stock in trade. I’m kinda disappointed in Daniel Pipes; he’s got far better things to put under his name than this column.

Look, this is what our goal is – to support an Arab and Muslim culture that fits into American culture…the tawdry parts and all. Get a clue, folks.

And if there are other stunning young Arab women out there…I’m looking forward to the pageant photos.
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21 thoughts on “How Is This Not A Good Thing?”

  1. How is Daniel Pipes blowing a gasket? Because he asks if beauty pageants might harbor political agendas? Because they single out some of the contestants with pointed political questions?

    I have a better question: is it necessary for some people to have political reassurances – about stuff like immigration law and gay marriage – before they can be attracted to a female? Is politics just a sexual fetish, like sucking other people’s shoes?

  2. Pipes had a pretty good line about the Nobel Prize.

    As for affirmative action in beauty pageants, perhaps there is in some cases; but this young lady is surely lovely enough to be said to have won on the merits. There may have been other candidates as lovely, but surely not moreso.

  3. You think some guys on the right are going nuts, imagine how insane the Islamo-fascists are going seeing that picture. Watch- European pageants will be Burkha friendly before you know it.

  4. Maybe it’s just that I’m from a younger generation, but I really wish we could get past our cultural obsession with race and culture.

    Marc said:
    “Look, this is what our goal is – to support an Arab and Muslim culture that fits into American culture…the tawdry parts and all. Get a clue, folks.”

    No, respectfully, it’s not. There is no reason to support any culture, or background, or race, religion, etc. — we aim to support everyone because that’s part of who we are. Bring on your sick, your weak, etc.

    Try getting that anywhere in Europe. You won’t, because Old Europe is obsessed with “where you came from.”

    We’re certainly not perfect, but focusing on culture to avoid focusing on culture is counter productive because though (sometimes) well intentioned, it always moves our field of vision off the target. Like on a motorcycle, look where you want to go.

    What Marc wrote reminds me of something I read yesterday from the LA Times:
    “In contemporary America, we tend to think that demography is destiny. We fixate on population percentages as the be-all and end-all of cultural and influence. We forget that culture can trump mere demography, and that has always been the case of the Yankees in American society.”

    Some of the older generations think this way, and most certainly liberals have this worldview. But it’s losing grip with my generation and I’m glad for it.

  5. Maybe it’s just that I’m from a younger generation, but can we get rid of the pageants already? I mean seriously, why do we hold these people up as idols? I’m less concerned about her heritage than her stunning lack of intellect….

    or maybe she’s just faking stupid, which may be even more disturbing. This is definitely a strategy for these competitions… where not rocking the boat is more important than intellect.

    Chris: _We’re certainly not perfect, but focusing on culture to avoid focusing on culture is counter productive because though (sometimes) well intentioned_

    Which culture are we avoiding focus on? (just to be clear before I comment)

    I really like culture. I find it fascinating how people are shaped (both historical and present). That’s one of the benefits of working in science labs, is you really get access to different ways the world looks at the same problems. You start to realize that things you think of as normal are often distorted to those outside of “us”. It’s been very “Gulliver’s Travels-esque” at times.

  6. I could have been more clear.

    Here we’re certainly is not perfect, but focusing on supporting certain cultures to avoid societal cultural bias is counter productive. Sometimes it’s well intentioned, but it always shifts our focus off the target. Like on a motorcycle, look where you want to go.

    In other words, advocating that people look at society and see groups will cause people to look at society and see groups.

    It’s (sometimes) well intentioned to bring “minority” or “downtrodden” cultures up to speed, but it’s far less effective than evolving society to treat culture/religion/race/background as secondary to begin with. That’s one of the things America has going for it, particularly in the younger generations.

    Alchemist: For what it’s worth, I find culture interesting too, and we shouldn’t ignore or pretend it’s not there. But an interest is what it should be, not a basis for government policy or social priorities.

  7. if you’re worried about integrating Muslims and people of Arab descent into the post-Enlightenment West, this is a pretty good thing.

    Yes. And based on the swimsuit competition, I see no reason to believe she didn’t win it fair and square. Alhamdulillah and Hallelujah and Praise the Lord.

    (Agree with Mark Buehner that Rima Fakih is going to get all the right people infuriated. Go Rima!)

  8. She’s Hawt and she’s Win and I have no reason to believe she shares the attitudes of some of her relatives in Lebanon. In any case she’s the best American exemplar of Lebanese advancement in America since Klinger on MASH, and she looks much, *much* better in (and out of) an evening gown than he ever would.

    Plus she’s not fictional.

    Her in that bathing suit: We’re all winners!

  9. Not only will that picture blow the Islamic fundamentalist minds but the young lady also participated in a radio show strip contest (I’m assuming she kept most of her clothes on) and won. I’ll have to look at the picture some more to figure out why she won ;)

  10. The whole concept of ‘judges’ of beauty pageants is itself silly. The whole Perez Hilton episode shows this.

    Get 1000 men to rate all the contestants, and the girl with the highest average score wins.

    Simple, and fair.

    Now, the ‘politically incorrect’ reality is that relatively few black girls would win under such poll-based judging, but if people have a problem with the reality that different groups have quite different frequencies of producing 9s and 10s, too bad for them.

  11. Politics are OK, but give me a picture of a beautiful young girl anytime.

    If this is what the Islamic radicals are offering, they have won me over!!!

  12. Get 1000 men to rate all the contestants, and the girl with the highest average score wins.

    We tried that around these parts, but we found that we needed experienced judges for the technical events, like Mounted Sharpshooting (both from horseback and moving vehicle) and Close Combat Drill with Knife and Iron Skillet.

  13. The idea of quantifying a beauty contest is hurting my brain. Of course its arbitrary. The whole practice just leaves a bad taste in my mouth, I think its an activity whose time has passed.

  14. I dunno, most of the righties I read seem happy. On “Hot Islamic women in bikinis can only be a good thing” grounds. Which seems sensible to me.

    Make beauty contest winners, not bombers…

  15. hey, what’s this about MUSLIM? Lebanon is not a Muslim country. Perhaps the young lady is one, but she has as much chance of being a Christian, Druze, Jew, and all combined, a few other religious types. Perhaps I missed her personal declaration somewhere re her religion. But the immediate reference to Muslim country, background, and goodie, goodie, seem a bit childish staanding alone. Dick

  16. Perhaps the young lady is one, but she has as much chance of being a Christian, Druze, Jew, and all combined, a few other religious types. Perhaps I missed her personal declaration somewhere re her religion.

    Yes, indeed you did, because she is a professed Muslim.

    BTW, the clue to her religion was not Lebanon. It was Dearborn, Michigan. Dead giveaway.

  17. Glen, that’s like being deeply – deeply – upset that the 3-card monte dealer on your streetcorner might not be playing with a straight deck…

    Marc

  18. How is Daniel Pipes blowing a gasket? Because he asks if beauty pageants might harbor political agendas? Because they single out some of the contestants with pointed political questions?

    I think that Pipes was actually talking about whether recently there has been a deliberate attempt to find more ethnically and culturally diverse winners on the part of the pageant judges. I don’t necessarily agree with him but given his measured post, it doesn’t rank as “blowing a gasket” to ask the question in my book.

    I think that the issue you bring up is a better one. It used to be that a beauty pageant was just a beauty pageant but now it seems to have gotten to the point where it’s now a referendum on whether one has the “right” (that is to say “left”) views on hot-button political issues like SSM, immigration, health care, etc. While some may dismiss your concerns by likening them to being upset that a three-card Monte game is rigged, there is a price IMO to over-politicizing what used to be, at least generally perceived as being, non-political fares.

  19. Chris – while I’m not in Sam Huntington’s camp, I do think that one point of friction in the modern world is between the West and the Arab/Muslim world (I’m thinking these days that the issue is mixed between culture and religion). I don’t see it in Manichean terms, and get pretty upset at people who do…but it’s an issue.

    For the folks who do see it in Manichean terms (the ones this point was poking at), it seems that wow – if you’re worried about integrating Muslims and people of Arab descent into the post-Enlightenment West, this is a pretty good thing. So why are they flipping out, claiming AA, and generally acting all frowny?

    For you – who doesn’t necessarily see things in terms of racial or religious distinction, it’s a “what? what’s the big deal?”

    That’s a goal to be fondly pursued, in my view. You’re where I’d like everyone to be…

    Marc

  20. Marc-

    For the folks who do see it in Manichean terms (the ones this point was poking at), it seems that wow – if you’re worried about integrating Muslims and people of Arab descent into the post-Enlightenment West, this is a pretty good thing. So why are they flipping out, claiming AA, and generally acting all frowny?

    I think this is more or less a good example of my point. I suspect that it’s a kneejerk reaction precisely because of all the “support” certain subgroups get. People are used to specific subgroups being elevated, not always because of merit. While this elevation (e.g. Affirmative Action) may (sometimes) be well intended, the side effect is that the real merit based accomplishments of these subgroups is called into question. “Did they really earn it, or were they given a boost because of their background?”

    When you boost the results of groups with programs like Affirmative Action, the accomplishments of minorities become suspect.

    Long term, the bigots are still bigots, and now you have people who don’t trust the accomplishments of various subgroups.

    Note: My whole suspicion re: the pageant is assuming there isn’t evidence of an AA-style attitude on part of the judges; I’m not aware of any.

    Marc, for the record, I think it’s a wonderful thing to have people from other cultures melt into our culture. True integration makes us all richer, and stuff like this does make me happy. Stuff like this generally makes me very happy; I wish people didn’t make it harder by sculpting their worldview through the lens of group and identity politics.

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