In the latest pop culture dust-up over California’s Proposition 8, a pair of queens at a beauty pageant this weekend touched off a media firestorm when one of them asked the other for their opinion on gay marriage and that person dared to speak her mind. The queens in question were celebrity blogger Perez Hilton (the self-proclaimed “queen of all media”) and Miss California, Carrie Prejean, and the pageant in question was Miss USA. If you haven’t seen the video clip, you can watch it here. But essentially it goes like this: [during the judges’ questions stage of the competition]
Perez Hilton: “Vermont recently became the fourth state to legalize same-sex marriage. Do you think every state should follow suit? Why or why not?”
Carrie Prejean: “You know what, in my country, and in my family, I think that I believe that a marriage should be between a man and a woman. No offense to anybody out there. But that's how I was raised. And that's how I think that it should be: between a man and a woman. Thank you.”
[massively shocked, disappointed look on Perez Hilton’s face]
Prejean’s response was honest. She answered the question. But for Perez Hilton, it was the wrong wrong wrong answer. He gave her a score of zero for the answer.
Hilton, who is openly gay, could hardly contain his venomous anger. On his blog on Monday he fired back by calling Miss California a “dumb bitch” and saying “She gave THE WORST ANSWER IN PAGEANT HISTORY.” Really? What about that “The Iraq” girl? On Tuesday, Hilton told The Today Show that he had expected Prejean to be “better prepared” to answer a question on gay marriage. Because apparently being against gay marriage means you don’t know what you’re talking about? He also said that he wished she had “left her politics and religion out” (even though he asked her a thoroughly political question) and that in his view, Miss USA should be “politically savvy, saying things that will make everyone feel comfortable. I don’t want her to be talking about Jesus Jesus Jesus…”
When asked by another interviewer how he thought Prejean should have responded, Hilton said, “A very simple way she could have answered it is, 'as a future Miss USA it is my job not to be a politician, but to be someone who represents and inspires the women and the troops, and I think it's great that the states get to decide for themselves.' Something like that… she would not have had to insert her own personal politics into it." But wait, wasn’t Hilton inserting his own “personal politics” into it—forcibly putting Miss California into a situation that pretty much demanded a political response? And wasn’t the answer that he was no doubt hoping for—“Yes, I think gay marriage should be allowed in every state, for all people”—just the sort of political answer he supposedly thinks should be left out of pageants? Perez, my friend, logic and consistency are not your strong suit. Stick to drawing outrageous scribbles on pictures of Britney Spears.
I guess the most alarming thing about this is that Prejean was demonized and scorned for DARING TO TAKE A POSITION. Hilton asked a specific question. Prejean gave a specific answer. It’s absurd to immediately dismiss someone’s point of view just because it isn’t your own point of view. If discourse has truly been reduced to this sort of “you better agree with or you’re a dumb bitch” kindergarten close-mindedness, then the world is in worse shape than even I thought.