Koos Kombuis

Stop the Child Pageant Madness!

2013-07-17 11:32
These days, many people criticize American president Barack Obama for various reasons. They criticize him for not taking firm action in Syria. They criticize him for ruining the world economy. They criticize him for supposedly being a Nigerian Muslim.

I used to defend Obama with all my heart. I’m not so sure any more. It has come to my attention that there are things going on in the United States that should not be going on. Some of these things are just wrong, wrong, wrong.

No, I’m not talking about Mitt Romney’s hairstyle. Nor am I talking about the way people dress when they go to Walmart. I’m not even talking about the fact that any young bored unemployed youth with a history of hating society and hearing little voices in his head can walk into almost any retail shop in that country and purchase a Uzzi submachine gun and matching ammunition, without a background check, with a credit card swiped from his mother’s handbag while she is out on the tennis court networking with her divorce lawyer.

That’s pretty bad. But it’s not as bad as the child pageant shows they do over there.

Anyone watched Toddlers and Tiaras lately? The last time my wife watched this ghastly TV show, I begged her to switch to Noot vir Noot. I know my wife watches the show for all the right reasons – she sees it as a kind of satire on obsessive parenting – but I simply cannot understand why this kind of atrocity is still legal in America. Why doesn’t Obama do anything about it? Forget about Iran’s nuclear bombs! Forget about Afghanistan! Forget about global warming, just for a moment, and put an end to this madness! Right away!

I will say it once, and I will say it again, and will keep on saying it until Ms Ramphela and Mr Malema finally decide to join forces for the 2014 elections or, failing that, agree to at least swop hats: child peagants, the way American people do it, are bad, and harmful, and evil. Not just because they have spawned freak sideshows like Honey Booboo and her depraved family. But because it is a form of sheer unadulterated abuse. It is as terrible, if not worse, than the choirboy scandal in the Catholic Church. And the new Pope seems to take that problem seriously; but child pageants, believe it or not, are a socially acceptable part of the American cultural landscape, and has been for years, in spite of the fact that these programmes are watched on TV only by demented low-IQ parents and pedophiles (or, of course, people like me and my wife, who can grasp the irony of it).

Not long ago, my son read a book called The Hunger Games, and raved about it. It was with some trepidation that I sat down and watched the movie with him when it screened on M-Net. I liked it, because it was a bit of intelligent social commentary on things like child pageants. It was less horrible than the real thing, but there it was, actual proof that there are people out there, even in Yankeeland, with artistic integrity and some kind of mature perspective on the dark side of competitive youth games.

If anything surprises me, it is the fact that there are relatively few voices of dissent against child pageants in America itself. Some experts have warned that the practice may be psychologically harmful. But so far, to my knowledge, no-one has taken to the streets with placards proclaiming "JAIL ALL PAGEANTS PARENTS!" or "7 YEAR OLD GIRLS SHOULDN’T WEAR MAKEUP!!!".

Strangely enough, the most vocal protest so far has come from the father of murdered child pageant contestant Jon Benet Ramsey, a 6-year-old beauty queen who was killed in 1996 (her murder has never been solved). In The Week Magazine of March 14th, 2012, Dad Ramsey regretted letting her compete in beauty contests, and called Toddlers and Tiaras "bizarre".

Ramsey says that "pageants encourage young children to develop problematic levels of competitiveness, and focus too much on their appearance". According to the editors of The Week, Ramsey's warning "brings to light an ongoing debate about the detrimental effects that pageants can have on children".

However, all that happened a year ago, and nothing has been done about it! The farce is still going on!

Thank goodness we here in South Africa have more interesting (if equally bizarre) pastimes than that. Like throwing  poo around on airport floors. Whatever.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.