We're in mourning here today, as news flashed around the world that Miss California USA Carrie Prejean has been stripped of her title, with the approval of none other than pageant owner Donald Trump.
It's all purely contractual of course:
Miss California pageant director Keith Lewis said on Wednesday Prejean's dismissal was solely for "contract violations''.
"After our press conference in New York we had hoped we would be able to forge a better working relationship,'' Lewis said.
"However, since that time it has become abundantly clear that Carrie is unwilling to fulfil her obligations under our contract and work together.'' (Miss California loses her crown).
It happens to come at a time when a valiant Emma Tom had taken to her podium in The Australian, to denounce the tormentors of poor hapless Carrie Prejean in Stripped of credibility by the media's eros of judgment:
Depressingly enough, the exposure of shameful, strumpety pasts has become a bog-standard technique for undermining high-profile women. "The pictures," American comedian Jon Stewart said tiredly on a recent edition of The Daily Show. "Always the naughty pictures."
He was referring to the ridiculous and pharisaical depths plumbed by the US media last month when the latest Miss California found herself at the centre of "a completely made-up shitstorm" because it emerged that she'd once posed for racy photos.
"The pictures came as a devastating shock to pageant officials who threatened to take her Californian crown away because apparently these photos would take away from the dignity of the bikini walk that she's required to do to win their competition," Stewart said sarcastically. "Sexy photos slut!"
Eer, Carrie Prejean a high profile woman? You sure you don't mean bubble headed, booby brained bimbo?
You know, you shouldn't go hiding behind John Stewart's skirt on this one Emma, because the completely made up shitstorm owed a lot to the inventiveness of Ms Prejean herself.
First came her decision to enter the pageant, then her answer to a question on gay marriage by a clown you'd only find in a pageant contest, then her whining about losing the contest solely on the basis of her answer to the question about gay marriage, then sundry breaches of contract (with the photos really only the icing on the cake the cream on the coffee or the nipple on the brief bikini), then a revivalist moment where all was forgiven and Trump announced she could keep the title and go on being Miss California, and now, belatedly, the final farewell.
It's the perfect American trajectory in a fifteen minutes of fame story, compounded by Prejean's desire to extend her fame to twenty minutes by partaking in some grubby anti-gay marriage commercials put together by NOW. She made herself a talking point, a lightning rod for an issue going down in the United States. Boob job yes (though god forbids bodily alteration), gay marriage no (because the same god forbids it and selectively following god's orders is one of the greater christian privileges).
If she'd wanted to, Prejean could have kept her head down, weathered the storm - nobody sensible cared about the photos - and become a dull spokesperson for worthy Miss California type causes.
But like many a moth, she loved to get close to the light. And like many a flakey moth, she got caught out by the amount of heat generated in the process.
So it gets hard to run a hard luck story about a sexy photos slut caught in a fake shitstorm when it's actually about a flake caught up in a scandal she's proactively cultivated.
In much the same way as Sarah Palin being a flake trumps (by an ace to a two of clubs) her credentials as a feminist battling glass ceilings. It was after all Palin who hailed abstinence as a policy, berated pro choice types, and then did a perfectly executed backflip when her own daughter produced visible evidence that abstinence was one of the dumber proposals emanating from the fundie Christian conservative branch of the Republican party (whereas they couldn't make stick a sensible proposal that preachers who get stroppy about homosexual encounters should stay away from popping amyl nitrate in sleazy motel rooms with male prostitutes).
Follow Sarah Palin down the rabbit hole of righteous indignation, and the next thing you know you'll be reading Tim Blair getting upset about feminists not getting upset about David Letterman smearing Palin's 14 year old daughter, with Blair apparently still embittered about the way Palin got caught by the media in front of a turkey killing machine.
The Letterman joke's about the 14 year old Palin getting knocked up by Alex Rodriguez aka A-Rod during the seventh inning, which has suddenly turned into a monstrous pedophile rape joke of the ugly kind only posturing Democrats and tired liberal poseurs would find funny. Which is funny for Blair, calling on the feminists in his hour of need when he can't wait to knock the shit out of them most of the time. (You can catch that storm in the teacup, colonial republican indignation branch here).
Meh, Tim, go get indignant about doctors getting shot dead in churches. Or women made to go off to backyard abortionists. Or young women knocked up after failing at abstinence and not realizing a governor's mansion is a handy fallback if you do get knocked up.
But back to Emma Tom, who doesn't have much better luck with her other examples - one being the murky world of Tony Stewart versus Tina Sanger, which first of all she denounces as a slutgate scandal in which Sanger should be taken at her word, only to conclude that much of the information that has come to light since Stewart's sacking suggests a judicial review of the case is required ASAP.
Huh? So we should trust Sanger's word against Stewart, except we shouldn't trust her word because of the evidence that's come to light? So instead let's just slag off the media for dwelling on the secret striptease life of Tina Sanger? Which is to say to remove the debate from questions about the facts of the matter, to making it time for a feminist non-sequitur:
Why should work in a perfectly legal corner of the steamy industries make someone less believable when it comes to harassment complaints? Are we to conclude that such women are intrinsically untrustworthy or - far worse - somehow asking for it?
You know, sometimes you shouldn't move from the details of a specific case to a general principle, if you've already established that the specific details are murky and not susceptible to general pronouncements about the difficulties women face.
Sure it's all unfair, sure it shouldn't matter if Tina Sanger had a private, previous life as a stripteaser. But this is NSW state Labor at its finest, and if you step into that grinder, expect to come out mince meat.
But I'm guessing that there's an inversion at work here as well for Emma Tom. It's so much more interesting to whip up a column about eros industry workers and their predicament going straight, than writing a dull column about Piers Akerman beating the shit out of Quentin Bryce as a Labor party governor general stooge with a vindictive malevolence that makes NSW Labor look like followers of St Francis of Assisi.
And lordy lordy did you see that dreadful bird broach Bryce draped over a bright green bit of gear to swear in the latest batch of Ministers? Oops, I'm so sorry, there I go again with stereotypical perceptions of women. But while we're at it, just what are they doing to Jaunita Phillips' hair at the ABC. Are they trying to work out some new prototype for beehives? Oh I'm so sorry, I'm just a bubble headed booby.
But I guess when it comes to berating the media for double standards vis a vis men and women (a slam dunk lay down misere), be careful of the examples you select. I'm not going to the barricades for Carrie Prejean or Sarah Palin. In fact I wouldn't mind tossing them over to the barricades to the slavering, slobbering horde of Murdoch journalists on the other side ...
The trouble is, the likes of Tim Blair and Andrew Bolt actually think they're heroines and ideal role models for women. Pass me the bucket, I feel a queasiness coming on ...
Never mind, as a result, I can run a fetching shot of Carrie Prejean in a bikini, in what is a legitimate, honest, exposure of flesh in a great cause. A Donald Trump pageant! Always with the pictures, the naughty pictures .... and always a pleasure.
(Below: and as for Quentin Bryce, talk about a brightly colored canary surrounded by a flock of very dull birds).