By now, anyone that has not been hiding under a rock has heard something about a pretty little Miss Teen South Carolina spewing out sentence fragments and haphazard ideas that somewhat form a coherent answer, to an otherwise simple question.  Lauren Caitlin Upton, Miss Teen South Carolina, was asked a 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?”

“I personally believe that U.S. Americans are unable to do so because some people out there in our nation don’t have maps and that I believe our education, such as in South Africa and 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., or should help South Africa and should help the Iraq and the Asian countries so we will be able to build up our future.” — Miss Teen South Carolina

Ok.  So as you can see, her answer doesn’t make that much sense and she refers to Iraq as “the Iraq”.  Twice.  That is not what my problem is.  Obviously teenage girls are dumb, and that’s why I was single through high school.  (That’s how I see it!  Not that I was pimply and awkward, but because girls were dumb.)  And I could go into the lack of education in high school causing kids to come into the “real world” unprepared. 

What disturbs me is more than five million people have viewed the clip on YouTube, she has been on NBC’s Today Show to let the world know she’s not really that dumb, she has a geography quiz on, and there are now talks about future dollars to be made by exploiting her answer.  One reader went on to say that if her manager plays his cards right, she’ll be making lots of money doing spoofs on TV shows and possible endorsements from places like MapQuest or Google Maps.  And that right there is the power of spin.

As soon as she opened her mouth and started babbling on about the Iraq, and the map-less U.S. Americans, her manager was wondering how to spin this their way, and he has.  To be put on the Today Show and have a major magazine make a humorous geology quiz based on stupidity is exactly what spin can do.  Only in America can we turn someone’s flaws into fame. – Andrew Smith