Miss Teen contestant meltsdown

Miss Teen USA contestant, Lauren Caitlin Upton (17), was asked why one-fifth of Americans couldn’t find USA on a map. What followed was a bumbling answer that would make George Bush proud. Think Miss Congeniality and “Describe your perfect date” (see answer below*)

Now before we get into the details, keep in mind that this is a 17 year old girl, who was asked an unbelievable question in a deliberately misleading way. She also seems to be under a time limit so she has to answer a complex issue in a matter of seconds. Now if you were to start off on the wrong foot, how well do you think you’d recover? Think back to your first job interviews.

Question: ?Recent polls have shown a fifth of Americans can?t locate the U.S. on a world map. Why do you think this is??

Answer: ?I personally believe? that? 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, ah, education like such as? in South Africa, and, uh, the Iraq, like everywhere like?such as? and I believe that they should, uh, our education over here in the U.S. should help the U.S., or should help South Africa, it should help the Iraq and the Asian countries? so we will be able to build up our future?for our children.?

Upton told South Carolina’s The State newspaper she “completely misunderstood” the question and “didn’t do anything wrong”. “I wasn’t expecting (the question). I lost my train of thought.” Despite the fumble, Upton placed third runner-up in the Miss Teen USA competition.

Upton had a second chance to answer the question when she appeared on The Today Show. She said she “went into complete shock” when she was asked the question. “Everything came at me at once. I was overwhelmed and I made a mistake…I am sitting here laughing at myself because I feel like ‘is that really me standing up there answering that question?”

Rather than make fun of Miss Upton, I’d like to ask you to answer the question. Why do you think a fifth of Americans can’t locate the U.S. on the map?

*April 25th. Cause it’s not too hot, and it’s not too cold. All you need is a light jacket!

8 thoughts on “Miss Teen contestant meltsdown

  1. This all comes back to the same thing: We don’t value knowledge enough in this country anymore. We elected a “C” student president rather than one the smart guys because the majority of Americans resent people that are smarter than they are.

    The founding fathers may have had it right when they set up the Electoral College. They didn’t feel like the American public was intelligent enough to elect a proper president.

    We need to encourage learning and knowledge. And stop teaching kids to standardized tests that only measure reading and writing. They are, of course, very important, but there’s so much more to education than that.

  2. As you know we wrote very similar posts. Yes, just a coincidence. However, it does prove that great minds think alike, correct? This is where you nod your head in agreement. Please say you are doing that.

    Of course, you already know my answer to this question.

  3. I have to admit that I felt really bad for her — I don’t like these pageants, but can safely ignore them 99% of the time: but she’s been all over the news this week.
    I think that there are a ton of reasons why Americans are unable to locate the US on a map (and by “Americans” I mean US citizens: I am sure most Canadians could locate it, and they live in America too!) first and foremost, I place the blame on a culture of mediocrity, an idealization of the illiterate, an election of the uneducated: the fact that we can appoint, as leader of the free world, someone as incoherent as the current holder of the office, sends a powerful message to the country about whether you need to study: of course you don’t, you just need your daddy to have been president, and your granddaddy to have been senator!

    Oops. Didn’t mean to rant. Sorry!

  4. I was glad that she didn’t use the opportunity to spout something about world peace or childhood poverty.

    Seriously, I’ve been under the bright lights with the camera’s unblinking red eye staring me down, and it IS disconcerting. Sometimes, your brain just freezes and you can’t say anything, despite the fact that you KNOW the answer and your inner voice is screaming to get things rolling again.

    I feel for her.

    As for the map thing, they can’t find the U.S. on the map for the same reason they have no clue about Canada: they never take the time.

    Too busy playing their PS2s, I guess.

    Dropped in from Michele’s today. Great to e-see you again. I hope you have a wonderful long weekend!

  5. Luke, admittedly, it was hard not to laugh. But I could see how one could freeze up at such moments. Beauty pageants are truly strange things.

  6. Personally i think it’s just unbelieveble. I live in Europe – in a way smaller country than US(which make even harder to find it for you on map). Despite that, absolutely noone here have problem with find motherland on map. What is that mean? Your society that give a shit about it’s education. You have pretty good educational system, great univesities. The knowledge is out there waiting, but you’re not so interested to gain it. Here, when someone can’t locate own coutry – it’s not called the lack of time, it’s called stupidy and laziness.

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