Study Guide

Beauty Queens Foolishness and Folly

By Libba Bray

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Foolishness and Folly

"Miss Florida was the only one who had bangs and she's de—um, she's no longer participating in the pageant system. So you'd really stand out."
Miss New Mexico stared, dumbfounded. "Stand out? Stand out? I have a freaking tray stuck in my forehead!" She broke into fresh sobs.
Taylor clapped for attention. "Miss New Mexico, let's not get all down in the bummer basement where the creepy things live. There are people in heathen China who doesn't even have airline trays. We have a lot to be grateful for." (3.58-60)

How amazing is it that no one really cares that Miss New Mexico has an airline tray permanently lodged in her forehead?

"Or—ooh! I know: 'Safe Tween Crush'?"
"That one is so awesome!" Tiara began to sing. "Wanna rock you, girl, with a butterfly tunic. / No, I'm not gay, I'm just your emo eunuch. / Gonna smile real shy, won't cop a feel. / 'cause I'm your virgin crush, your supersafe deal." (8.52-53)

This joke is so meta. Lyrics to a boy band song about the appeal of boy bands for little girls. Ironically its attempt to avoid sexual content makes it seem almost as raunchy as some of those subtle innuendo songs (does anyone else remember "Liquid Dreams"?).

"I'm dockin' you another twenty-five cents for your potty mouth and bad attitude, Miss New Hampshire."
"Fine. Let me just go to the JUNGLE ATM TO GET A WITHDRAWAL!" (9.53-54)

Taylor is really big on overly PC clichés. Leave it to Adina to bring out the weirdness in Taylor's basically nonsensical ways to keep everyone on their best behavior.

"Soon, we will have our weapons. I will release the videotape, and we will be famous on American TV. Sing along, General Good Times."
General Good Times did not respond. (10.99-100)

…Because General Good Times is a stuffed animal.

DiscomfortWear, shapewear designed to eliminate rolls, ripples, and muffin tops. In some cases known to eliminate circulation and breathing. If you're not uncomfortable, it's not DiscomfortWear. (11.F.24)

If shapewear commercials decided not to lie, this is how they would go.

"Anyway, after my mom flipped out, my dad went off to rehab to heal his wounded chi and he got this spirit guide named Astral, who was kind of annoying because my dad would be all, 'Let's ask Astral about that,' even if it was just about whether or not to have Hamburger Helper for dinner, and my mom said she would personally kick Astral to the curb if he didn't shut up, so he went to Jesus rehab instead, and my mom sent me to sleepaway camp for the rest of the summer." (11.32)

Uh, wow. Also, poor Tiara's mom. Her dad sounds like a hippie, spirit-world sort of stereotype gone (even more) insane. P.S.: This whole story is just leading up to Tiara saying that she thinks they should dig a ditch to capture water.

The bespectacled good girl with the nice rack plunged the jousting lance—constructed in Latin club—through the hot alien cheerleader's stomach in a deeply Freudian display. "Hasta la vista, b****." This is perfectly acceptable language. After all, that bad, bad girl IS stealing her boyfriend. (15.76-77, F.27)

This is one of The Corporation's "alternate scenes" to the empowered displays of sexuality in Chapter Eleven. And also the definition of irony.

Shanti sat next to Harris. "So let me get this straight: You booted the indigenous people off this land. You screwed up the environment. You tested products on helpless animals. Your 'Made in America' label is really made offshore. And now you're dealing illegal arms to a country we've levied sanctions against and you plan to murder us and then frame them for it so you can go to war and take over their resources? Any rights you didn't violate or laws you didn't break?" Harris thought for a second. "Our coffee is fair trade." (31.66-67)

Sometimes Bray's jokes hit too close to home. If a company makes a big deal out of its fair trade coffee (or other little features that aren't so relevant to what it actually does), it might be a good idea to check out the company's other labor practices.

Your Blood Is, Like, So Hot, the premium cable TV series about small-town predatory hemophiliacs who lie around looking anemic and sexy while trying not to bruise. Based on the French drama Le Monde C'est La Miemme (rough translation: Life is pain. Here is some soft cheese). (32.F.46)

A vampire joke and a France joke all in one. Oui, le twilight.

"See them, New Mexico?"
"Not yet, Miss Ohi—do you think we could just call one another by our names?"
Miss Ohio nodded. "Sure thing, Caitlin."
"Thanks, Caitlin," Miss New Mexico answered. "Caitlin, I see them. They're coming from your right."
"Which Caitlin?" Miss Montana asked. "Me or Caitlin Arkansas?"
"Um, Caitlin Montana.
"Ugh. That just makes me sound like a porn star," Miss Montana complained.
"Do you have a middle name? Maybe that would make it easier?"
"Yeah. It's Ashley," Miss Montana said.
"That's my middle name too," Miss New Mexico said.
"And mine," Miss Arkansas shrugged apologetically.
"Mine's Ashlee with two e's," Miss Ohio offered. (37.39-49)

It's like the Beauty Queens version of the Who's on First comedy sketch. Someone needs a new "baby names" book.

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