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America's Future: Fat Beauty Queens on Red Bull and Mountain Dew

By Gloria Diaz

Check out Gloria's Blog — Edge of Gloria!

Fort Wayne Reader


I recently stopped at the grocery store and flipped through an issue of People. I’ve got a magazine connection, so I don’t have to spend money to indulge my printed word fetish. Soon, I expect to have a recent issue in my hand featuring the jacked-up-on-sugar-and-God-knows-what-else phenomenon known as “Honey Boo Boo.” I didn’t vomit at the store, but I felt an unease that I couldn’t quite describe.

Yakov Smirnov is still around, I guess, and I was thinking of him when I was getting into my car just minutes after glancing through the article on the Georgia train wreck of a family who wallows in mud and bad taste and just doesn’t give a shit. What a country, I was thinking. I live in a nation where wannabe politicians fly their dressage horses to the Olympics, and seemingly ordinary people (well, okay, freaks) get their own shows just being who they are: gym, tan and laundry freaks, or coupon queens and their beauty queen daughters.

I am so poor I don’t even have cable, so I haven’t really been able to watch “Toddlers and Tiaras” or “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo.” But I do have Internet access, and I’ve watched enough interview clips on YouTube about this kid, and I’m getting just a little ill. Where do I even start? The Red Bull and Mountain Dew mixture known as “Go Go Juice”? The mini stripper outfits? The mom wriggling from her seat in the audience? Alana squishing her stomach? Why do we watch this crap?

Because deep down inside, we get to say, “thank goodness that’s not me.” It’s why I occasionally watch “Jerry Springer.” My second digital tuner box broke, and I am so poor, I … oh never mind. I haven’t watched commercial television in months now, and I have to say I don’t really miss it. Not even “Jerry Springer.” I watch it to make me thankful for my life, even though it’s kind of dull and not full of money. I don’t own a dressage horse, but once upon a time, I did compete in a horse show that included dressage, and my borrowed steed and limited riding skills earned me first place in the novice rider division.

However, I’ve never wanted to compete in a beauty contest. With me, I’ve always wanted athletic skill instead of looks. I’ve never wanted to wallow in mud. A pile of money, yes, but not mud.

Somewhere in America, there is a happy medium. Amid the one percenters and the ninety-nine percenters, there has to be families that are NORMAL. People who are not scraping by, people who are not dressing up their daughters in provocative outfits, people who are not okay with teenage girls having daughters and becoming grandmothers before the age of thirty, I hope. We watch trash because we fear becoming it. “Thank goodness we aren’t like them,” we say. We watch rich people and wish we were like them. That’s why “The Simple Life” and “Keeping Up with the Kardashians” and other shows of that ilk clean up in the ratings. We worship the rich and laugh at the…what? White trash?

There, I said it. It’s perhaps the only “acceptable” racial slur that’s out there, and Caucasians seem to be okay with it. And the more we watch these shows, the worse they’ll get. I’m holding out for “Extreme Texas Execution,” where you can vote how the condemned will die. Chainsaws? Hanging? Lethal injection? Torn to shreds by wild dogs? Or perhaps, “What Not to Wear if You’re Obese.” I’d watch that only in hopes of hearing some five foot tall, 325 pound woman wearing a striped shirt ask, “does this make me look fat?”
Trash television. Can “People of Walmart—the Television Show” be far behind? Luckily for me, I don’t shop there, so you’ll have to catch me in my sweats and Hello Kitty slippers somewhere else.

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