Culture Corner – Perez Hilton v. Intellectual Integrity

perez-hilton1I thought I’d add a new feature here at Images and Words called ‘Culture Corner’. In Culture Corner I will periodically grab something that is current and relevant in our American culture and discuss/dissect/analyse it. Discussion, as always, is welcome.

For the first Culture Corner ever, I couldn’t think of a better topic than the recent controversy over Miss California Carrie Prejean’s answer to the question from celebrity gossip blogger Perez Hilton in the Miss USA pageant. Prejean was asked by Hilton, “Vermont recently became the 4th state to legalize same-sex marriage. Do you think it should be legalized in other states? Why or why not?” Her response was, “We live in a country where people can choose same-sex marriage or opposite marriage. For my country, my family, the way that I was raised, I think I believe that marriage should be between a man and a woman. No offense to anybody out there, but that’s what I believe.”

I want to share some comments that Hilton has made over the last two days, and then explain why this story is an even bigger issue than same-sex marriage v. ‘opposite marriage’.

On the Today Show this morning, Hilton was asked about his question, Prejean’s response, and how Hilton thought Prejean should have responded. He answered, “She should have given any other answer! She could have said, ‘I don’t want to bring politics into it…'” The problem is that gay marriage is an extremely political issue, and Hilton is the one who brought it up. If he was expecting a non-political answer, he should have asked a non-political question. Or, he should have posed the question to someone with less integrity.

Later in the same interview, Hilton stated, “She’s a Christian, but I don’t want her talking about Jesus. That would offend all the Jewish Americans out there, and Muslims, and atheists.” If you follow Hilton’s logic, no one should ever be allowed to say anything important about any important issue, because they might offend someone who disagrees. Oh, and nevermind that Hilton himself does that exact thing all the time. It’s okay for him, because he believes in ‘tolerance’. Provided, of course, that you don’t disagree with him.

A day before, on MSNBC, Hilton said in an interview, “I wasn’t upset about her disagreeing with me. I was upset and frustrated with how she answered the question…. A beauty queen should represent all Americans.” Let’s not even worry about the obvious absurdities in this statement (no one can represent all Americans – if Prejean said she was in favor of gay marriage, she would have alienated an even bigger portion of the population than she did). Let’s focus on Hilton’s hypocrisy itself. Later in the same interview, he also said, “I called her the ‘B’ word, and I don’t apologize. I called her the ‘B’ word, but I was thinking the ‘C’ word.” It didn’t even phase Hilton that in one breath he claimed that he wasn’t upset at Prejean herself, and in the next breath he defended calling her profane names.

The real issue in this little snapshot of our culture is the tension between political correctness and intellectual integrity. It is politically correct to state that gay marriage is okay. It is intellectually correct and honest to state your beliefs (whatever they are), even if those beliefs happen to not be politically correct. The voice of ‘tolerance’ in our society cannot stand to be contradicted. Ironic, huh? Perez Hilton might think he’s all over the news because Carrie Prejean made ‘anti-gay’ or ‘divisive’ comments. In reality, he’s all over the news because she answered a question honestly. Honesty is something sorely lacking in our culture. Kudos, Miss California, for stating your beliefs with conviction and not backing down. Score one for integrity.miss-california-carrie-prejean1


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