Thursday, April 28, 2005

America Is So Hopelessly Puritan

If this had happened in the United States, it's a sure bet that Europe's intellectuals and pundits would be besides themselves in bewailing, mocking, and shrieking about American puritanism and hypocrisy:
Miss France 2004, Laetitia Bléger, on Wednesday was barred from wearing her crown and sash for six months after posing half-naked for Playboy, the committee that runs the beauty pageant announced.
And then, don't forget that there is the fact that so many clueless puritans call in to complain about nudity on television, for instance during the SuperBowl spat with Janet Jackson's breast (check out "There's a few things I know for sure" and "You'll never guess who the complainers are")…

By the way: While I am in a naughty mood, you will forgive me for recounting a risqué joke that is 20 years old (but it has to do — remotely — with Ronald Reagan, so I hope I will be forgiven). If you don't like indecent language, read no further; you have been warned.

Before I begin, remember that the Miss scandal is not new, either for France or America.

Isabelle Turpeaut, Miss France 1983, lost her title after suggestively posing for Paris Match magazine.

US actress and singer Vanessa Williams, the first black woman to be crowned Miss America in 1983, was forced to resign two months before the end of her reign after photos taken of her when she was a teenager appeared in Penthouse.
Which brings us to this: A year after the soft-lesbian photos of Williams with another girl had appeared, it was 1984, and President Reagan was running for reelection with his vice-president, the current president's father. While the Democrats' Michael Dukakis was searching for a vice-presidential candidate, the joke went around that he should pick Vanessa. Why? The answer, they said, was that she would make the Democrats win the election for sure …because it was a proven fact she could lick Bush.

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