It is with complete confidence that I assume regular readers of “The Broad Side” are fully up-to-date on the details of the Miss USA Pageant. For those newbies out there, here’s a summary: Miss Utah, Marissa Powell, made it to the final rounds of competition and landed herself in the question-and-answer portion. The inimitable NeNe Leakes, she of “Real Housewives of Atlanta” gravitas, hit Powell with a question about female breadwinners and income inequality. Powell stumbled through an answer that essentially boiled down to America needing to “make education better.” In retrospect, it was a great answer, because it helped explain Powell’s wandering, confused response: no one had made her education better.
Powell was not the only speaker who might be wishing for a magic eraser this week. Read on.
1. Sen. Lindsey Graham and the “Demographic Death Spiral.” As Congress works on crafting and trying to pass comprehensive immigration reform, Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) has stated that the Republicans need to sign on to more “pro-immigrant” policies because it’s the right thing to do. Just kidding! He said the Republicans needed to pass legislation that impacts actual, human lives because the GOP is facing a “demographic death spiral.” By passing laws that are friendlier to immigrants, the calculus clearly appears to be that minority voters will cast ballots that are friendlier to Republicans. Perhaps it’s a positive that politicians have done away with all artifice of good intentions, and now just say the very first thing that comes into the cold, calculating place where their brain might be.
2. Sarah Palin Reminds Us She is Fertile. Speaking of immigration, former Florida governor Jeb Bush has voiced his support of expanded immigration policies. Part of his support is grounded in the, um, notion that more immigrants are good for the economy because they tend to have larger families. Whatever you might think of that logic, Sarah Palin took issue with Bush’s statement. She reminded us of her rightful place as a critic here, noting she is “someone who is kind of fertile herself.” Cue the image of the Palins procreating. You’re welcome.
3. Portland, Maine Redefines “Underwhelming.” City leaders and a business team in Maine’s largest city – Portland – spent time and money on coming up with a new slogan for the city. The goal was a zippy tagline that would really “put the city on the map.” The new slogan, part of a fancy branding campaign, was unveiled earlier this week. Get ready for it:
“Portland, Maine. Yes. Life’s good here.”
I live five minutes away from Portland, and that lukewarm endorsement doesn’t even make me want to go out of my way to enter the zip code.
4. Paula Deen Admits to Using Racial Slurs. The celebrity chef who has never met a stick of butter she didn’t like, Paula Deen, was sued for discriminating against a former employee. In a deposition, she admitted to “of course” using the “n” word. She tried to save some face by remarking that it had “been a very long time” since she had last done so. She was also asked to explain her past suggestion that only black waiters be hired for her brother’s wedding in 2007 – a touch Deen thought would give the whole affair that lovely “pre-Civil War” feel. Lovely, until you remember about the slavery part of pre-Civil War America.
5. Serena Williams Half-Admits to Victim-Shaming. “Rolling Stone” interviewed tennis star Serena Williams, and asked her for a reaction to the Steubenville rape case, in which two teenaged boys were convicted of raping a teenaged girl when she was clearly, extremely drunk. Part of Williams’ response included the following: “[I]f you’re a 16-year-old and you’re drunk like that, your parents should teach you – don’t take drinks from other people. She’s 16, why was she drunk like that where she doesn’t remember?” The comments prompted some to accuse Williams of voicing a variation of the “she asked for it” defense. Which prompted a new statement from Williams, in which she notes that what she “supposedly said” is insensitive and hurtful. If Williams doesn’t understand why that apology isn’t really being received as such, someone should illustrate by telling her that she is supposedly a good tennis player.
6. Kanye West Fully Admits He’s the Best Person in History. Kanye West is out with a new album, and he gave an extended interview to “The New York Times” about his music and his general mastery of everything. Alternately referring to himself as the “Michael Jordan of music” and making pronouncements like, “I’m so credible and so influential and so relevant that I will change things,” he summarized his life as “complete awesomeness at all times.” If there’s one thing his baby with Kim Kardashian will not need, it’s confidence.
Check back next week for the “6 Things” you need to know right now!