Miss USA Gets Nerd Representation, Sensible Policy Ideas

The new Miss USA, Alyssa Campanella.

Beauty pageants like Miss America and Miss USA are anachronistic and a little silly, but they’re also a useful measure of the moment when ideas become not just mainstream, but blandly uncontroversial. The fairly generalized disapproval when Carrie Prejean said she didn’t support equal marriage rights in the 2009 Miss USA competition was a harbinger of the tipping point we’ve just fallen over, where homophobia is finally, truly, radioactive.

And so this year, it’s nice to have a Miss USA who is firmly in support of teaching evolution in public schools (though it’s pretty scary that she was one of only two contestants to take that position), believes in the legalization of medical marijuana (though she stops short of full legalization), and is a Game of Thrones fan. It’s not like any of these competitions are major drivers of social change, but any affirmation of the values of scientific inquiry, sensibly drug laws, and the greatness of fantasy in an incredibly middle-American setting is useful.