Tue 28 Aug 2007
Apparently Miss Teen South Carolina is the new biggest thing on The Internet. I know this thanks to Yahoo Buzz (which … it sounds like a news from a late ’70s sci-fi novel: “Melvin took a sip from his UltraNutri, then turned on the Holo-vision and took in the latest beat from Yahoo Buzz.” Pleasingly quaint and kooky, but not exactly cool). I guess she flubbed a question about geography pretty badly, and Yahoo Buzz is reporting the fall out:
“Searches on ‘miss teen south carolina’ jumped 831%.” Goodness! That is a LOT of percent! I thought people were ALREADY searching for “miss teen south carolia” a ton before this, but that is like, so much percent that it would get you kicked out of most math classes! 831%. Wow. I hope Miss Teen North Carolina can keep up.
But that’s not all! According to Yahoo Buzz “Her convoluted response also spurred queries on ‘miss teen south carolina video,’ ‘miss teen,’ and ‘miss teen usa south carolina.’”
This is the kind of hard-hitting news you can report when you are a search engine. I hope Google issues a special report soon about whether “USA” or “Iraq” gets more searches, because I bet that it would be really revealing!
Anyway, in case you happen to not be among the 831% who have seen this video, here it is:
I’m almost afraid to comment on it because I know thousands of bloggers have already beaten me to it, so the chances of me saying anything new are one in roughly 831%, but I will say two things:
First of all, as much as I really enjoy phrases like “the Iraq,” and “Everywhere, like such as.” (yes, with a period), not to mention “Aimee Teegarden,” the poor girl really just looks less like she knows nothing about geography and world issues (I mean, she has at least one basically good idea: MAPS! People need ‘em!), and more like she is completely nervous and scared out of her mind.
And I would be, too! After all, as this movie:
(which I saw in the theater) reminds us, behind the scenes of most beauty pageants is someone trying to take of the world or kill a prime minister or … ok, I don’t really remember. But I am sure it is nefarious.
Secondly, and the real reason I wanted to bring up Miss Teen South Carolina 2007, is that I have a story that can one-up her.
THIS IS THAT STORY:
We have student assistants at my office who help us with work that is easy and also boring. Sometimes they are reasonably professional and sometimes they are jaw-droppingly NUTS. One of them is a girl who often visits my desk to use my fax machine (which is the only one in the office). She struck me as a polite, basically competent kid, until one day we were discussing a staff member who started a charity to help kids in Ethiopia (which you really should read about), and she said to me, “It’s really great that he’s doing this, but do you know where Ethiopia is? Because I don’t.”
“Well, it’s in Africa …” I said.
“OK, but … where’s Africa?” she asked, completely earnest.
OH NO! This was not the response I was expecting. For a brief moment I thought, “Oh dang, that is a good question. “Africa” is the name we’ve given to a huge region of land, but is anything separate from anything else? Where does Africa stop and the ocean shelf begin? Is “Africa” truly a place, or only a concept? Does it only truly exist in the minds of those who live there?!” Then I realized this was not what she was talking about.
“Um,” I said, “It is a continent. It’s below Europe and Asia.”
She looked at me and there was no flicker of recognition on her face. I was very afraid that she was going to ask me where Europe and Asia were.
“I’ll draw you a map,” I said.
As I proceeded to draw a not very to-scale map of the world, she said apologetically “I’m just really not very good at history.”
I gritted my teeth and told myself, “She just used the wrong word, you don’t have to say anything. She’s IS a college student.”
“Out of all the people who go to this school, I probably know the least about history,” she said. “The least.”
“The thing is,” I told her as I sketched out a lumpy Cape of Good Hope, “This is geography.”
“Well yeah, same thing,” she said.
“Yes, they are related,” I admitted. “Because when things happen, they have to happen SOMEWHERE.”
This is the sort of thing that makes me fear for our country and our future. Maybe 20 years from now, instead of history and geography, college students will internet study search results and website hits. Who needs a map when you have Yahoo Buzz?
See, Miss Teen South Carolina will tell you that you do in fact need maps. Otherwise, HOW WILL YOU KNOW WHERE YOU ARE?