READER REVIEWS came pouring in Monday, after they read my take on the Miss America pageant, which you can find here along with yet more reader responses:
I really enjoyed your commentary about our new Miss America.
Maybe, we need a Las Vegas Museum for the history and pictures, sculptures, etc., of former Misses …
I was very impressed by your article. I feel now I’m not the only one who was in shock by this year’s Miss America Pageant. I thought it was pretty ruthless and shameful. It was like watching strippers during the swimsuit wear.
Many women that compete in that pageant nowadays are your stereotypical type. This means change is in affect, which is a good thing. Even our new Miss America is a little on the "dumb" side. I liked her but she did not have the best presentation.
To me the entire pageant was a moneymaking business, with the new show on TLC "Countdown to the Crown" and having Mario Lopez as host. Miss America is supposed to be a representation of smart women who will represent our country. What a shame!
Great column today. Just the right amount of social evaluation, cynicism, and critical perspective on what is truly an anachronistic tradition. Thanks. It made my day.
This article is a very good reason not to read the Journal today. Why does everyone continue to bash the Miss America Pageant? If this young woman, Katie Stam, has inspired one young woman, just one of the many high school pregnant dropouts, drug addicts, 30 pounds overweight etc. etc., then what is wrong with the concept of having a Miss America? Let young women see that education, determination, awareness of your appearance has it’s rewards … most of all to yourself.
So when the crowning of Miss 2010 comes around next year, please try to find something else to cover instead of bashing this event and ruining any hopes that it may have a positive impact on young women.
I was hesitant to read your column, because I too am not interested in beauty contests, but did. You expressed what I felt … so deftly. Especially about God taking over. I’ve never really understood how he singles out people, but like you said ignores Holocausts, tsunamis, droughts, etc. So the whole column was a pleasure to read. Thank you.
– Name withheld
Has the American press become so jaded about the world and they can’t allow a little fantasy into their lives? Today’s youth have so few heroes. Many of the athletes they revere are into steroids, fast living, and fast loving. The movie stars they can look up to are either having babies before or without marriage, and are into casual relationships or drugs. I read your article about the new Miss America with interest, because I know firsthand the benefits this program and others like it have and will continue to afford young women. You stated in your article that Miss America and her victory caused no stir in the media, and yet I picked up two rather large newspapers here in California and the story was on page 2. A rather large story, too. You go on in your article to ask the question if "Americans care about Miss America anymore." Well, probably as much as they care about watching golf on TV, figure skating, a college basketball game, or a movie on cable. Some do and some don’t. Americans have far more choices on the tube these days than the 5 channels we had when I was a kid. At last count, my TV had about 900! My favorite didn’t win. The winner was lovely, though, and like any competition that is subjective you can have a different winner on any given day. Nowhere in your article was the FACT that the Miss America Pageant remains the largest source of scholarships for women in the world. Did you know Miss America travels over 200,000 miles a year, making personal appearance on television shows local and national, visiting schools, and even has gone abroad with the USO? Did you know that in addition to the $50,000 college scholarship she wins, she can make upwards of $200,000 making personal appearances? This is pretty nice for a young lady in her 20’s. My bottom line is this. With all the ugliness in the world with wars, famine, and our nation’s economy, I think it’s refreshing to find that an institution like the Miss America Pageant remains a viable source provider of scholarships and portrays young women as energetic, attractive, college educated, and goal oriented. You can be as cynical as you want to be, but facts are facts. We probably won’t remember who Miss America is by tomorrow morning, but ask Americans of any age who their Lieutenant Governor is of their state, and they would probably draw a blank on that one too.
Others posted right onto the bottom of my story. Here are some of those, as of noon Monday:
Dee wrote on January 26, 2009 10:36 AM: I remember as a little girl watching Miss America Pagent and all the glamor and excitiment that led to the crowing and my father saying "Right there is the most beautiful and talented girl in America." And I thought wow, I want to be her. I don’t think most little girls even know that this pagent exists anymore and now they have Britney, Miley and the likes as their role models, yikes, it’s no wonder that girls are dressing like their 20 at 12!
Vegasjess wrote on January 26, 2009 10:05 AM: One could say the medium in which I read your column this morning, my daily newspaper, is passe. Yes, Miss America is campy, wholesome fun and there are many Americans who will never understand the pageant mainly because the press chooses to not let Americans know that all of the contestants were competing for scholarship money to futher their eudcations. And that Miss America raised over 1 million dollars for the Children’s Miracle Network last year and the new Miss America will spend her year traveling on behalf of the CMN – raising money and awareness.
So an excited, young woman does her first national press conference and glorifies God? What about the countless sports figures, actors and musicians who thank God after receiving awards or winning a big game? I’d much rather have my young daughter look up to a "passe" pageant winner who will spend the year as a champion for numerous charities than the many "pop tarts" and starlets that take up so much space in columns like Mr. Elfman’s.
GladK wrote on January 26, 2009 09:26 AM: The home page of the Review-Journal invites us to check out the blogs of its important editors, columnists, & reporters. All 12, except one, are men. The LV Weekly advertises everything from casinos to physicians with pages & pages of almost-nude large-breasted young women. Yep, isn’t it great that women are no longer pieces of meat in Las Vegas & American society.
casinocon wrote on January 26, 2009 07:28 AM: I don’t know which was worse — her dress or her song. And yeah, I saw those big noses too . . . Miss Georgia had some real singing chops and the girl in the red evening gown was stunning. The judges must be deaf, dumb, and blind — praise Jesus for a miracle!
Luann wrote on January 26, 2009 07:12 AM: Tee hee! GREAT column, so right, and so right on. You are a wicked, wicked man and I love you for it.
Kenny Thorpe wrote on January 26, 2009 06:19 AM: This is a typically political response to anyone expressing their belief in God. I watched all the contestants talent presentations and thought Ms. Stams’ was as good or better than any of them. I did not know of the throat problem at that time, but I guess God did bless her! Now that we have a President who is going to use our tax dollars to abort (kill) babies, and promote gay and lesbian agendas, and still claim to be "christian", I guess a little Christianity on TV wont’ kill you Mr. Elfman.