The 49th Annual Miss Universe Pageant

The wank parade of inflato-chested international hose bags that won't go away.

Published May 17, 2000 4:00PM (EDT)

The Miss Universe Pageant, the annual wank parade of inflato-chested international hose bags, once again infected our TV screens Friday night, live from the tourist-starved isle of Cyprus -- "the island where beauty was invented!" -- of all Godforsaken places.

It was hosted by loudmouthed diphthong Sinbad. Frankly, I can't think of a more suitable fate for that intolerable, polka-dotted blowhard than to be the hapless horny bastard making mildly sexist, semi-illiterate commentary at a lowbrow T&A beauty pageant extravaganza.

"Athenus [sic] was the goddess of wisdom, and let's hope she gave the judges a good dose of it," slurred Sinbad, displaying his Big Gulp-size grip on ancient mythology.

In between ads for supermarket shampoos and CBS's "Jesus" miniseries, we were introduced to the 10 finalists who made it past the arduous tit weigh-in the week before. We got to meet these "movers and shakers in the new millennium," in all of their plastic glory, while listening to moronic commentary from two Maria Shrivers-in-training displaying midriffs and shouting unlikely comments like, "Half of these ladies are doctors and lawyers, and they're only 18!"

Miss Spain wants to be an actress or a model on TV, or a model or a spokes-model, but her real passion is animals, which is why she also wants to be a veterinarian, and also a model-detective, specializing in crimes against little animals!

Miss Colombia loves babies and children and baby animals and cake and pie!

Miss Zimbabwe loves to clean her room! She wants to practice politics in her spare time, after being a model and an astronaut, an economist and a paraplegic!

Miss Catatonia is a whore! She loves ice fishing, BASE jumping, 'N Sync and heroin.

Cut to more miniseries ads: "The Linda McCartney Story." "Jesus," OK, but Linda? Is nothing sacred?

Back to the girls being cute in the tourist outlets of Cyprus. Screaming and frolicking like little children with big teeth at the water slide! Where were the shots of them parasailing without panties? Or eating big piles of sugar-whipped jism? Or happily rubbing plankton on each other's nipples while tantric swimming with manatees?

Then the judges were introduced: clearly a klatch of those caught in the desperate celebrity death rattle, like choreographer-of-shame Debbie Allen, who appeared to be wearing an extra 15 pounds' worth of breasts for the occasion, and monstrously acromegalic-looking motivational speaker Tony Robbins.

Judging by his irrationally high scores for Miss Canada, Robbins is a tit man -- his horrible secret is exposed. Miss Canada had the most suspiciously disproportionate flubbo-jugs of the whole pageant, and though all the girls were otherwise totally identical, despite their races (5-foot-10, 121-pound racehorse types with huge teeth and long hair), Robbins kept giving Canada 9.8s and everyone else 8.2s.

I imagined Robbins and Miss Canada on rocks, under trees, in taxis -- his big jaw and teeth chewing through her mesh tank top. Then, unfortunately, I came back to reality.

"Ever notice statues of Aphrodite ain't got no arms and legs?" leered Sinbad.

Then came the dreaded paneled-swimwear section, with beige high heels and Cirque du Soleil-type, pouncing, shirtless bodybuilders in white tights baton-twirling patio torches to ear-puncturing techno-pop. Boy, those girls sure did have great racks. Flames licked their asses. I was jacking off all over the place. Chabanga, chabanga! Sweaty Sinbad confessed he "can't get enough of the swimsuits." I didn't want to smell his tuxedo.

The winner of the swimwear competition won -- get this -- a $2,500 modeling contract! But that's not all. There was also a $35 gift certificate to the Hyatt Regency! And some delicious Wheat Thins! And several packs of new pantyhose! You get more than that at a 4-H club for growing the biggest casaba melon.

The eveningwear section was especially painful because of the root-canal jazz version of "Careless Whisper" by Montel Jordan and David Sanborn, which lasted a full soft-jamming eight minutes. Miss Canada was unable to squeeze her entire rack into the top of her dress. So Robbins gave her a 9.75 and everybody else got an 8.

The five finalists were either those whom the contest couldn't afford to leave out for commercial reasons, like Miss USA, or those like Miss Venezuela -- Miss Venezuela has always had some kind of unholy blood contract with the Miss Universe machine. Her entire national community depends on it. Everybody knows about the Venezuelan beauty slave camps -- the torment, the surgeries, the endless walk tutorials. After their pageant careers, these women go right into politics.

"The ones who made it are really, really happy, and the ones who didn't make it are really, really disappointed," shrieked the Shrivers.

There was a mind-blowing montage in which all the girls were dressed in absurdly xenophobic, Las Vegas-cum-regional community theater "international" costumes, made of primary-colored foam, coconuts and macaroni.

The last question of the night -- the key to determining who would walk away with the giant rhinestone headpiece -- was the heaviest: "Right now, in Cyprus, there's a protest going on. They say the Miss Universe pageant is disrespectful to women. Prove them wrong." Subtext: You walk the corporate walk, you talk the corporate talk. You blow the Dark Lord, but do you swallow?

Venezuela and Spain, two Spanish-speaking women, were up against Miss India, a frightfully well-spoken and educated rapier of a beauty, shimmery with icy class and calm dignity -- a real Grace Kelly of a spider, smarter than anyone in a 10-mile radius.

"Beautiful women should be also respect," said the translator for Miss Spain, unconvincingly.

"Well, the contest, it is very nice for women, is not bad. Is about finding completely women, not just the beautiful, but completely women," stumbled Miss Venezuela.

It was around this point that I started to wonder if Miss Venezuela was completely woman or if she'd only accomplished the preoperative steps.

What was Miss India going to say? My liver twisted into a napkin swan. She dramatically grabbed the mike, passionately insisting that pageants give young women a platform to succeed in every field, be it the armed forces, finance, etc. I felt a cold chill go up my neck and thought: This woman will stop at nothing -- murder, baby eating.

When Miss India won, you couldn't pry Miss Catatonia off her. "My uncle is going to kill you," she hissed, biting a small nick in India's ear and sucking out the blood. "If for any reason you cannot fulfill your duties ... I will be there."

India, a woman whose crusade for power could not be sated, stalked down the catwalk with a bale of roses and a weird, cruel smile that said, "I am going to behead you all, as soon as I am empress."

I was fatigued, irritable and dry-mouthed after the Miss Universe Pageant. I hope Donald Trump just holds the event in his own sports-arena-size bedroom next year. It would be so much easier on everyone.

By Cintra Wilson

Cintra Wilson is a culture critic and author whose books include "A Massive Swelling: Celebrity Re-Examined as a Grotesque, Crippling Disease" and "Caligula for President: Better American Living Through Tyranny." Her new book, "Fear and Clothing: Unbuckling America's Fashion Destiny," will be published by WW Norton.

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