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Cartographies of Pathos

If you didn't get a chance to see the train wreck of a Q&A offered up the other night by Miss Teen South Carolina, don't worry, that's what the YouTube is for. Morning Toast offers up the clip for you, along with a useful "tube map" of the answer:

As hard as it is to watch, it's hard not to watch, and hard not to laugh at "the Iraq, everywhere, like such as." Wow.

It's instructive to me, though, as an amazing example of exactly what's wrong with teaching to the test, if you'll forgive my lapsing into allegory here. This young woman was clearly coached on how to generate perfectly vapid and valid answers to the types of questions asked at pageants, and to her eventual (and probably long-term) dismay, she got a question that didn't fit into the "answer machine" in her head. The result is gibberish, made all the more embarrassing by the fact that she refuses to acknowledge it as such. And she may not have even realized it at the time.

You think a body's writing ability can be gauged accurately by a 30-minute, 5-paragraph response to a pageant question? Take a look at the result. Watch it twice if you have to.

I for one welcome our new pageant robot overlords.


what gets me is "the iraq." huh?

do you think she heard the phrase "the iraq war" but only remembered the first part?

clearly she was told to use examples with words along the lines of "like," "such as." she did it right (just forgot the example following "such as").

and finally: HA ha!

I meant to say "Arbitrary national boundaries matter much less given blogalization and its aftermath. Studies of monolithic, Modernist atlases have been enlightened--and supplanted--by postmodern geographies and networked rhetorics. Americans everywhere, like such as, understand this."

I personally think. Unless I'm impersonally thinking, which US Iowanians do because they don't have the Iraq and maps to help South Africa. For the future.

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