For about 30 seconds during this video of Carrie Prejean on “Larry King Live,” I felt a twinge of sympathy for the gay marriage-opposing, sex tape-making, boob job loan-defaulting dethroned beauty queen-cum-author. King presses her to explain why she chose to settle with the Miss USA pageant, rather than move forward with her lawsuit against them (and their countersuit against her), and she says there’s a confidentiality agreement that prohibits her from speaking about it. Larry’s all, “But surely, that can’t stop you from telling us why you chose to settle!” and she’s all, “Confidential. Don’t wanna talk about it. Move on, jerk.” (I paraphrase.) They repeat that basic exchange a couple of times. And at this point, I am firmly on team Prejean — her previous comments about Sarah Palin’s awesomeness and everything else, ever, aside — because it really doesn’t matter whether she can legally answer the question or not; she’s made it abundantly clear she won’t. Occasionally, badgering a recalcitrant interviewee can be a slick journalistic move, when said interviewee is actually an important personage hiding something worth digging for. But when she’s a conservative beauty queen whose 15 minutes should have been up months ago, nobody really cares, and relentlessly pursuing the same question just makes you look like a bully who can’t roll with the punches. “Larry, you’re being inappropriate,” Prejean keeps repeating, and while that’s not necessarily the word I’d use, I can respect her for refusing to take the bait.
Fortunately, the world has not completely turned upside down, so my respect for Carrie Prejean is a short-lived thing. Because Larry does move on, to a caller, and that’s when she throws a tantrum, removing her microphone and threatening to walk out. Except she doesn’t walk. She just sits there all, “What? Can’t hear you!” and “LARRY, YOU’RE BEING INAPPROPRIATE!” which has by now become a serious pot/kettle issue.
So I give her an A for the “stubbornly refusing to answer a question I don’t like” maneuver, but a D for the “storming off in a huff” one. To pull the latter off successfully, you need to A) pick the right time and B) follow through, or else C) have such a dramatic meltdown the context becomes irrelevant. She and her handlers need to work on that a bit more. But then again, the half-assed meltdown she did have was enough to get our attention, and here I am writing about it, so her natural knack for prolonging those 15 minutes can evidently still overcome any lack of artistry. Dammit. Enjoy the video.
Kate Harding is the co-author of "Lessons From the Fatosphere: Quit Dieting and Declare a Truce With Your Body" and has been a regular contributor to Salon's Broadsheet.