Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Beauty-contest qualifications

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I’ve been mulling over this peculiar comment that I got on this post on how Rima Fakih won Miss USA and promptly sent the Right into hysterics. Here’s the comment in its entirety:

If that bomb in Times Square didn’t fizzle last week, do you think she would have won the pageant?
If hundreds were killed, would you use the word ‘paranoia’?
If mommies and daddies didn’t come home from work, would you still laugh at anything using the word ‘Terrorist’ in its title?

I want to focus on the "thinking" that goes into believing that a terrorist attack by a Pakistani immigrant would disqualify a Lebanese immigrant woman from a beauty contest.

Since Lebanon is distant from Pakistan—and since Miss Fakih has resided in the US since she was 7 years old—it’s VERY unclear to me why the two are connected in any way. I suppose it’s because she’s a Muslim, but al Qaeda is Sunni and she’s Shi’a and the two sects are at daggers drawn.

Still, assuming that the religion is the reason, I’m wondering about contests held when the IRA was actively into terrorism, setting off bombs not only in Belfast but across England. Suppose that the Miss USA winner was Irish—and Catholic, like the IRA. Would she be thought an inappropriate winner?

Somehow I don’t think so. Like ignoring the terrorist attack on the mosque, the situation reveals a huge ugly amount of religious bigotry in our country. And bigots are bigots because their thought processes don’t work very well.

And I still HIGHLY recommend the hilarious comedy Terrorists, available as Netflix Watch Instantly. One thing I particularly like about the movie is the progression of security-theater as the police chief gradually realizes his opportunity to enhance his position and privileges.

It’s also funny how literally no one listens to what the "terrorist" says—instead, they seem to supply from their own internal fears and beliefs what they think he must have said, from the stoner store clerk (who clearly hears the guy say that he wants to party) to the guy running the souvenir shop at the giant stool (who hears the guy say he wants to climb up on top of the stool and have a party), everyone is playing out the drama in their own head.

It’s not a movie that punches you with the jokes—most will slip by if you’re not paying attention. But it’s a very funny movie, and it’s based on the silly aspects of how the US has responded to terrorism: security theater.

Written by LeisureGuy

19 May 2010 at 11:25 am

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