We can't all sound good on TV
Published 8:20 am Wednesday, August 29, 2007
Surely by now, if you own a computer with a connection to the Internet or have come in contact with a television in the past few days, you've seen her.
Miss Teen South Carolina gave a rambling and nearly incoherent answer to her interview question during last weekend's nationally televised Miss Teen USA pageant.
In answering why many Americans cannot find the United States on a map, 18-year-old Caitlin Upton looked into the camera and said this:
She became a nearly instant YouTube celebrity, with the clip played on millions of computers and aired on news channels from CNN to FOX to MSNBC.
Of course, she sounded stupid. But she's also just 18 years old, and she was nervous on national television.
Caitlin got a do-over of sorts on the Today show Tuesday morning. And while her answer still didn't exactly make her sound like a genius, she sounds a lot smarter than most of us would on national TV:
No matter who the target, we seem to like to make fun of others' misfortune. Caitlin's nervous and rambling answer made her an instant poster-child for the dumb blonde.
But guess what? Caitlin's no dummy. She's an honors student and talented athlete who traveled to Germany with a soccer team that placed second in a tournament involving European teams. She's been involved in a number of volunteer activities and student groups.
Compare her to any number of her so-called role models these days - the pop princesses and socialites who land on the covers of magazines and get talked about on news programs because they got their second and third DUIs and have been admitted to rehab for the millionth time.
The teen and twenty-something brats whose tales of woe populate the tabloids are the same people inspiring most young people today to say they want to be famous. Not talented, just famous. And they don't care why.
Maybe Caitlyn Upton took part in the Miss Teen pageant because she just wanted to be famous, too. Maybe she wanted some scholarship money. Maybe she just thought it would be fun.
Whatever the case, she's been pretty good-natured about her newfound fame. And I doubt we'll see her in court or in rehab anytime soon.
So lay off the poor girl. We've had our fun; now let's let her live her life.
Kerry Whipple Bean is publisher of The Brewton Standard. She can be reached at 251-867-4876 or by e-mail at email@example.com.