Stranger Fruit

Some people don’t have maps

This made my head hurt. The following question was asked of Miss Teen South Carolina at the recent Miss Teen USA pageant. The answer (below the fold) is mind-blowingly incomprehensible and serves as a testament either to the problems with our public education system or the vapidity of pageant contestants (or more likely, both).

Question: Recent polls have shown a fifth of Americans can’t locate the United States on a world map. Why do you think is?

Answer: I personally believe the U.S. Americans are unable to do so because, uh, some…people out there in our nation don’t have maps, and, uh, I believe that our education like such as South Africa and, uh, the Iraq everywhere like, such as and…I believe that they should, our education over here in the U.S. should help the U.S., err, uh, South Africa and should help the Iraq and the Asian countries, so we will be able to build up our future for our…

Video is here should you not believe me. (Seen @ Fark.)


  1. #1 kemibe
    August 25, 2007

    South Carolina, eh? I’ll be charitable and chalk this up to nerves.

    By the way, please don’t do this again.

  2. #2 Will
    August 25, 2007

    I can’t comment on the education system (not being American, and knowing some very smart Americans, but that was just painful.

    I’m going to put it down to a combination of nerves, not having a clue, and having been trained to sound like she has a considered, thoughtful (and pro American) opinion on whatever she’s asked. Oh, and being one of that one fifth of Americans. 😉

  3. #3 mark
    August 26, 2007

    The talent scouts for the “Are You Stupider than a Fifth Grader” quiz show will be knocking at her door. However, she can probably tell you quite quickly what Paris Hilton’s favorite salad dressing is, or who the last 6 semi-finalists on “American Idol” are.

  4. #4 Anne-Marie
    August 26, 2007

    She had obviously been coached to drop in hat tips to a few key issues (help the South Africans, acknowledge Iraq, etc) no matter what, but she hadn’t been coached on how to do it effectively, this seems like a very good display of not being able to “think on your feet.”

    Although reading/watching her did make my head hurt, I guess she did make the point she was attempting to spit out about our educational system, if you use her as Exhibit A for what school systems are producing…

    What prize are they competing for, out of curiosity?

  5. #5 Paul
    August 26, 2007

    Please make her use birth control!! She obviously comes from the rural midlands area of SC, where they don’t like “them bookwurms”. She is also obviously a member of Babes Involved in Mindblowing Bimboism all Over the South.
    She does point up the fallacy of having Ed degrees in charge of schools- scholarship is darned near regarded as misbehavior.

  6. #6 Paul
    August 26, 2007

    She may be our next president, because she sounded like a speech from the White House.

  7. #7 Jim Thomerson
    August 26, 2007

    That strikes me as a difficult question to answer right off the top of my head. I notice than none of the responders have attempted an answer. After some consideration, I would have said it adjoins Texas.

  8. #8 PaulM
    August 26, 2007

    As a South African I’m not sure I’m comfortable with my country being an “issue” to be mentioned in contests like this. If people don’t understand something, don’t talk about it in a situation where you’ll get caught out. I’m reminded of the Bad Old Days when I’d encounter people who were against apartheid but didn’t actually know what it was. Got some funny stories about that one…

    As for answering this particular question off the top of my head I wouldn’t have had any problems (assuming I didn’t get caught by a stage fright-induced brain-freeze). My answer might not have been correct, but at least I would have sounded reasonably bright.

  9. #9 Ms. S
    August 27, 2007

    My favorite part is the token “for our children” she throws in at the end – definitely going for the sympathy vote there!

  10. #10 ScamHunter
    August 28, 2007

    Well, trying to be incredibly charitable, we could assume it was nerves, but I guess I’d like to know whether she ever utters a coherent thought. Clearly she was trying to avoid being an “ugly American” thinking only of the United States and so in the stream of random words coming out of her mouth, she mentioned “South Africa” and “Iraq”.

    I guess I’m inclined to charity to anyone who has been laughed at on Leno before the age of 21.

    With any luck maybe she’ll get the point that she needs to actually engage her mind now and then. Can you really blame her? I’m guessing that there are many occasions when she talks when the people ‘listening’ are unaware what words are coming out of her mouth. They are just thinking “Damn, she looks good.”

  11. #11 M
    August 28, 2007

    Come on. (A)It’s a BEAUTY contest. (B) Have you ever listened to the junior senator from South Carolina? Now you’ll know who elects these guys. His opponent was too smart, too female and (just perhaps) too “liberal.”

  12. #12 bama
    August 28, 2007

    umm and she is pregnant!

  13. #13 Bert Chadick
    August 29, 2007

    HA! Letterman ran the clip TWICE! Halfway through the second time I had to turn away.

    The correct answer was, “We are so ignorant because we go to schools like the ones I went to, and that’s all the public is willing to pay for.”

  14. #14 mark
    August 29, 2007

    Apparently they gave her another chance to answer the question. But “they” was not the Pageant, but some celebrity gossip show. I didn’t quite catch the whole answer (I wanted to change channels quickly) but it seemed like she had special coaching and was slightly more coherent. But still did not give the correct answer.

  15. #15 Don
    August 30, 2007

    If you listen really closely as the question is being read aloud, you can hear Miss South Carolina’s mom backstage screaming “Ohhhhhhh, Dear God, Noooooooooooooooooooo!”


  16. #16 Don
    August 30, 2007


    “some people out there in our nation don’t have maps” ?

    (and that’s when Miss Teen Antoinette said “then let them read Atlases”.)

  17. #17 Sean
    August 31, 2007

    The optimist in me would like to think that she was just temporarily flummoxed. Heck, I biffed it in the first round of a game show that aired on IFC a few years back. (I didn’t know that “He’s Gonna Party Like It’s 1985” was the tagline for “The Wedding Singer” and I haven’t watched an Adam Sandler movie since).

    There have also been plenty of instances where I simply should have “put a sock in it” but I kept right on talking.

    Some co-workers and I were wondering if the situation would have turned out any better had Ms. Upton “applied the brakes” and re-started her answer. I guess we’ll never know.

  18. #18 Reynold Hall
    August 31, 2007

    If you want the truth, I think that she was nervous, and didn’t want to say something like: “Are you serious? Did you just pull that statistic out of you rear end?! I want to see some confermation of that! There’s no way that we could be that sodding ignorant!”

    Instead she chocked, and, in trying to sound polite, came up with what she actually did say.

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