Letters

Letters 07-06-2015

Safety on the “Bridge to Nowhere” Grant Parsons wrote an articulate column in opposition to the proposed Traverse City pier at the mouth of the Boardman River. He cites issues such as limited access, lack of parking, increased congestion, environmental degradation, and pork barrel spending of tax dollars. I would add another to this list: public safety...

Vote Carefully A recent poll showed 84% of Michiganders support increasing Michigan’s renewable energy standard to at least 20% from the current 10%. Yet Representative Ray Franz has sponsored legislation to eliminate the standard. This out of touch position is reminiscent of Franz’s opposition to the Pure Michigan campaign and support for increased taxes on retirees....

Credit Where Credit Is Due I think you should do another article about the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund giving proper credit to all involved, not just Tom Washington. Many others were just as involved...

I’ve Changed My Mind The Supreme Court has determined that states cannot keep same-sex couples from marrying and must recognize their unions. This has happened with breathtaking suddenness. It took 246 years for Americans to decide that slavery was wrong and abolish it, but it’s been only a couple of decades since any successful attempt was made to legalize same-sex marriage, and four years since a majority of the American public supported legalization...


Home · Articles · News · Random Thoughts · Where Have You Gone,...
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Where Have You Gone, Miss America

George Foster - September 30th, 2004
My dad would be very disappointed. As someone who has not missed the Miss America contest on TV since Lee Meriwether won in 1954, he has been put on notice about his annual ritual: the 83-year-old beauty pageant may soon be history.
I am told this year’s show pathetically attempted to be a combination of American Idol and Survivor -without success. Despite new celebrity hosts and the most skin ever exposed for the pageant, a record-low 10 million viewers tuned in to the beauty contest last week. As recent as eight years ago the pageant recorded a decent viewing audience of 25 million. In 1960 those who tuned in peaked at 85 million.
For those who say Miss America is a relic of a bygone era or that beauty contests are politically incorrect because of the sexist images they portray, you may be right. Just don’t forget the other side of Miss America.
The pageant used to be a family affair for many of us in its heyday. We all sat around the TV rooting for Miss Michigan to win the pageant. It was fun. “Come on, Miss Michigan. “You can beat that ugly, old Miss Georgia.”
I remember getting misty watching the stunned contest winner begin to walk down the aisle with flowers - from whatever state she came. When Bert Parks sang, “Here she comes, Miss America...” the newly-crowned young woman would begin to cry and I noticed most everyone in our family rubbing their eyes, smiling, unable to speak.
It was a proud moment, like singing our national anthem. That instant seemed to crystallize what America was about. Though we were living in the mid-20th century, women could now aspire for higher education, travel around the world, make decent money - and it was all being promoted by the Miss America
beauty pageant.
It wasn’t all about gawking at women’s bodies (though I’m still not sure about my dad’s motive). Those sexy one-piece bathing suits, showing little more than ankles, did seem risqué at the time. Yet, my parents were watching, too, so it was okay.
Even little girls watched the contest and wanted to grow up and be Miss America. Part of it must have been a desire to look glamorous, but Miss America also represented being confident, worldly, and smart.
Though TV audiences may be saying adios, Miss Americans have gotten better. Remember how some women skated through the talent contest by juggling bowling pins or training animals to dance on stage? No more. This year’s winner, Deidre Downs, proved to be talented enough to pursue a career in singing and excelled at answering the history and current events questions given to the contestants. This aspiring Alabama doctor will deservedly receive a $50,000 scholarship and up to $200,000 in appearance fees during her one-year reign.
Did we just discard other institutions such as baseball, marriage, and Ovaltine when they lost popularity? No, we spiced them up with inter-league play, tax deductions,
and new packaging. Now, they are back, baby, more popular than ever.
Miss America may need just a little tune-up in order to bring the prestige and popularity back to the pageant. What I would do is the obvious - let the people decide. Maybe families would get involved again, one night each year, if they knew the contest was interactive and each viewer would have an equal vote, electing Miss America.
Mysterious judges, subject to bribes and influence, now determine the outcome of most beauty pageants. Through phones and the Internet, we have the technology to allow viewers to vote for the winning contestants. If you could select the winner, wouldn’t you be inclined
to spend a couple of TV hours each year judging some talented, hard-working young women who want to represent our country?
I know my Dad wouldn’t mind.





 
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