Miss Universe, Really?

When flipping through the news headlines this morning I noticed two things:

1. Miss Universe was crowned last night.
2. Bret Michaels hosted the pageant.

Of all the things that make you go "Hmmm...", I wouldn't expect this to be more than a tiny blip. There are much more newsworthy head-scratchers (involving mosques and stem-cells to name a few). However, these two pieces of information collided in my brain and caused me to stare for a full minute at my screen--not reading the article, but just staring in awe.

What had me so perplexed? The truth is, I'm not entirely sure. But I have a few theories.

First of all, I've had a problem with the Miss Universe pageant for as long as I can remember knowing that it existed. Not in the sense of it exploiting women or being a huge waste of time, but rather in who is asked to be the representatives. Sure, the women are all lovely in that pageant sort of way, and they have important ideas to share with us about the need for family values and world peace. But the thing that the pageant creators seem to not realize is that all of the contestants are from one planet.

One planet in all of the vast universe. Doesn't it seem like we shouldn't call it the Miss Universe pageant until we find contestants from at least one other place in the universe? Until that happens, wouldn't a Miss World title be sufficient? (And, if there's already a Miss World pageant, then wtf is the difference between that and Miss Universe?!?!)

What I'd really like to know is if the Miss Universe pageant officials make any effort to solicit contestants from other galaxies. Do they send an invitation via SETI? Were open calls for applicants tacked onto the Mars probes, just in case? Until Miss Universe officials get serious about opening the doors to non-Earthlings, I really think they should modify the title.

Second, Bret Michaels. Not exactly the clean-cut pageant host that I would expect. Of course, I've never watched the pageant, so maybe that's their usual approach. You know, lay the whole exploitation angle right on the table.

I may have loved Poison back in the day, but Bret Michael doesn't exactly class-up a swimsuit competition. And, linking a beauty pageant to Bret's search for a skank in Rock of Love (however loosely) probably won't help people think of it as a "scholarship program".

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