Monday, July 24, 2006

Literary Universe

I've written about the phenomenon of pageants in The Philippines. One academic I met once said that every Filipino or Filipina has a pageant story to tell. Last Sunday, I felt compelled to go to the grandest pageant of them all: Miss Universe. I went sort of as a cultural anthropologist.

I was amazed at the pageant culture encountered. One person pulled me aside and gave me a rundown of who were the top candidates: Miss Ethiopia--"skin to die for"; Miss Puerto Rico--"stunning"; Miss Japan--"spunk, spunk, spunk."

There were vendors selling pageant dolls and pageant jewelry. There was a lot of press. The press seemed to come from mostly Spanish speaking countries. People came from all over the world to attend this event.

I was perturbed with a piece that ran in the LA Times on Saturday almost mocking the pageant. The piece smelled of first-world privelege, almost looking down on Miss Universe, calling it "an old relic." One thing that the article got right was that pageants--Miss Universe in particular--is cherished by many countries in Asia and Latin America. The article neglected to talk about how such pageants are used as tourism vehicles for countries who need the dough or that winning the pageant for some countries is the same as winning the World Cup. There is that much pride attached to it. Below are some shots that I took. These are only a few of the flags that I managed to capture.










7 comments:

Rich said...

I myself will never understand the phenomenon of pageants such as Miss Universe, but that's never an excuse to look down on them. We don't all have to agree, just respect.

Cheryl said...

"Cultural anthropologist." Psh. You know you were there for the tiaras. And whatever those amazing feathery things on that table are.

Bob Hoeppner said...

Great pix! Sorry I haven't been by in a while.

Don Cummings said...

Very cool. Very Nice Pictures. I was a segment producer for Miss Teen USA in 1999. I don't feel above it. The girls warmed my heart. But I do wonder if there is another way to celebrate beautiful, intelligent women?

princegomolvilas said...

Oh my god how gay are you?

craM said...

my parents used to have viewing parties in manila for bb pilipinas and miss universe. it is very similar to the world cup in terms of the pride, sweat and tears asian countries put into these pageants. i think japan was robbed this year.

Liz said...

How amazing that you got to go. Did you get to see Miss Puerto Rico faint?