The resignation of Miss North Carolina Rebekah Revels following her revelation that an abusive ex-boyfriend -- without her knowledge or consent -- allegedly snapped two pictures of her while she was undressing, has set off a chain of abdications by beauty queens across the country.
"Women's libbers and their operatives in the media claim this is some kind of puritanical hysteria," said Miss America Inc. executive Clarisse Feemster. "We prefer to think of it as deep cleaning. In other words: If you're going to mop the kitchen floor, you might as well get behind the fridge."
The developments so far:
-- In North Dakota, Stacey Thomas had to give up her crown when it was revealed that she often showers in the nude and once snuck a peek at herself naked in the mirror. "I saw it," she confessed at a press conference outside her townhouse, "and, you know, them."
-- In Bountiful, Utah, hometown to Natalie Camille Johnson, there was widespread dismay when her mother inadvertently mentioned to her Thursday bridge ladies that Natalie had actually been nude at birth. "Half the hospital saw me, I guess," Natalie admitted tearfully. "I'm so, so sorry."
-- Bad news, too, for formerly proud residents of Somerset, Ky., when Mary Catherine Correll relinquished her crown amid speculation that, underneath her high-necked gingham dress and big white underpants there was, shockingly, a naked woman. "How was I supposed to know?" she asked a reporter from the Somerset Argus.
--In Okoboji, Miss Iowa Stephanie Moore unsuccessfully tried to sidestep the whole issue by denying that she had any female parts at all, only to be ratted out by members of her junior high gym class. "I'm like Barbie," she told a local TV interviewer. "I don't even have nipples or a butt crack." She was disqualified for rude language before her disclosure could be verified by a doctor.
-- At least a half dozen more crowns are askew and in danger of toppling as the Miss America organization deals with an inundation of photos, anonymously mailed, of bare-bottomed babies on bearskin rugs. Officials hope that the use of special photo-aging technology, on loan from the FBI by order of Attorney General John Ashcroft, will expose the identity of the infants and facilitate the necessary orders to exile.
Ashcroft has promised further cooperation in what he calls "Operation Girl Next Door," indicating in recent comments to the press that future contenders for Miss America will be held indefinitely at military bases for thorough background tests and lie detection "in order to spare this most American institution from further embarrassment." President George W. Bush has offered his support for the effort, which will be funded out of the Homeland Security Office, saying that he is bound by duty, as are all American citizens, to crush our very own "Asses of Evil."