June 2nd, 2007


Hey, Mexico City, Boo This!

I keep meaning to write about what happened to Miss USA, Rachel Smith, during the Miss Universe pageant in Mexico City.

The booing by the audience -- which had nothing to do with her slip and fall during the evening gown competition, as some of the news outlets thought at first, and everything to do with international perception of the U.S. as increasingly imperialistic and xenophobic -- was a complete disgrace, not just to those who did it, but to Mexico City itself. If I were the mayor of Mexico City, I would write an op-ed piece for the next day's newspaper that used the words "mortified" and "laughing-stock" numerous times in every paragraph.

I've seen the clips on the news. No one should have to deal with something like that, but Rachel Smith handled the situation with dignity, grace and poise. Ultimately, she didn't win Miss Universe, but for handling the audience's abysmal behavior as well as she did, she should immediately be crowned Miss You-Made-Us-All-Proud and given a ticker-tape parade.

Look, I don't give a damn about beauty pageants. I'd call them objectifying and patriarchal if I gave them two seconds' worth of thought. But this situation really hit a nerve for me. I felt terrible for Rachel Smith and angry at the audience. As I said, no one should have to deal with something like that.

But at least this time no one was chanting "Osama! Osama!" like they did during the U.S. vs. Mexico 2005 World Cup.

Now that I think about it, I don't think I used the word "disgrace" enough in this post.