Thursday, December 21, 2006

The Conner Controversy...

Miss USA, Tara Conner, survived the wrath of The Donald- here it is in his own words, along with her pathetic responses:

MSNBC- Trump’s Press Conference

The above link includes an opening by Trump, comments by Tara and Q & A with both. Below is her first phone interview after the press conference:

MSNBC- Tara’s First Phone Interview

In both Tara talks about going on to be “the best Miss USA ever;” this to me is funny and after this scandal with only four months left in her reign, highly improbable. In both interviews Tara denies being an alcoholic, while Donald thinks she is, but is confused about it.

On a random note, Trump kept pronouncing her name “Tara” rhyming with “par” rather than T”air”a, as I thought it was.

Neither Miss Conner or Trump and the pageant organization would specify which of the allegations against Tara were true or untrue. I’m sure much of it was blown way out of proportion by the media and I doubt Tara did anything out of the ordinary for a person of her age. I have to say it folks- underage drinking is a reality. If you’re convinced the sweet college student you know hasn’t had an underage drink or that this offense is reprehensible and unforgivable- I’m sorry but that makes you way out of touch!

Does it sound like I’m on “her side?” Not quite. While I don’t think underage drinking warrants scandal status I am appalled that someone given her title and opportunities would ever jeopardize it by being so stupid!

My boyfriend and his coworkers used to go to a local pub every Monday after work; after I won Miss Maumee Valley I remember thinking “I can’t go to Frog Town’s anymore… I might get recognized.” If I thought that as a local titleholder, how could it escape the mind of a NATIONAL representative? I am an extremely aggressive driver, but now that I’m the Face of FOX Toledo my horn and finger use has dropped 95% (5% of other drivers on the road are still too dumb for me to handle!) My point- the number one thing you must learn about being a pageant titleholder, celebrity, politician, clergyperson, teacher, etc… is that you are that person 24/7, everywhere and always.

Tara mentioned something to that effect in one of her interviews, but apparently she didn’t really understand it. Here’s another admission- I always felt it was unfair that alcohol was served at the Miss Ohio after party, but it would be “unacceptable” for contestants of age to have A glass. Last year at the Bowl-A-Thon the announcer even made a joke to that effect. Titleholders must endure an undeniable double standard in our society. We’re expected to be unrealistically perfect. Making sense of that in your own mind and wisely choosing your own actions is all part of a titleholders JOB. In an interview yesterday morning I was happy to hear former Miss Missouri MAO and Miss USA, Shandi Finnessey, say that as Miss USA she was at the type of appearances and formal parties where she would have a glass of wine, but she was of age.

Shandi obviously realized how to be appropriate; I don’t know what Tara did, but it seems to me she must have done something to draw so much attention to herself that then the age became an issue. So the question I’ve been asking more than whether or not she should be dethroned is how did it get to this point? In his press conference, Donald defended his use of chaperones for the three titleholders living in NYC’s Trump Towers most of the time, but admits the women are responsible for their personal time. However, wouldn’t she have been disciplined the first time a chaperone or her roommates noticed her coming home drunk or hung over the next morning? Did these allegations really go straight to the media, completely bypassing Trump, the pageant organization, NBC or the police?!

These very questions have some wondering if the whole thing was a publicity stunt since a new season of The Apprentice is quickly approaching. I personally don’t think it was. Tarnishing the pageant image and perpetuating negative stereotypes isn’t going to increase viewership. However, I feel the developing conflict with Rosie O’Donnell is for PR. I was actually watching The View yesterday morning as “the ladies” discussed their opinions of Trump’s decision to keep Tara. As Amy Allen mentioned on her blog, some people, as usual, are confusing Miss USA with Miss America. (This is ironic, considering Miss America, Jennifer Berry’s, platform is MADD!) Rosie O’Donnell knew the difference and defended Miss America. On one hand, I thought it was great that they differentiated the pageant systems, as Miss America shouldn’t be hindered due to Tara’s inability to make decisions. However, as someone who has competed in both systems, I don’t think it does any good to continue making these systems rivals.

Donald struck back quickly, berating Rosie, her looks, career and character on Entertainment Tonight and he’s threatening to sue her. Click below for articles:

People- Rosie Slams Trump,The Donald Fires Back

MSNBC –MADD Severs Ties with Miss Teen USA

That’s all for now, time to take the new puppy, Hanz, to his second vet appointment...

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