For those who have not experienced one of the most popular videos circulating the internet today, let's just say that a new representative of Stupidity has recently come to the forefront. Miss South Carolina, in her competition for the title of Miss Teen USA , babbled all over herself in front of thousands of viewers on national television. It's rough to watch if you're not a closeted sadist, but I'm posting it here anyway. After all, in a bizarre way, she proves the point she could not seem to verbalize.

The judge asked:

"Recent polls have shown that a fifth of Americans can't locate the U.S. on a world map. Why do you think that is?"

Miss South Carolina stumbled around the answer several times:

"I personally believe that U.S. Americans are unable to do so because some people out there in our nation don't have maps..."

"...and I believe that our education like, uh, such as in South Africa and the Iraq, everywhere like, such as..."

"...and I believe that they should... our education over here in the U.S., should help the U.S., or should help South Africa and help the Iraq and the Asian countries..."

" that we will be able to build up our future for our children..."

Obviously part of her training for this event included coaching her to use buzzwords like "Iraq" (or "the Iraq") and "education" and "future for our children". But her unfortunate staggering through the only speaking portion of this competition, one that has tried hard not to be conceived as a mere Beauty Contest, is living, though barely-breathing, proof of the answer to the judge's question.

Educational standards in the U.S. are lacking. We don't measure up. Children are being left behind. SAT scores nationwide are down again. American students cannot compete with their Asian counterparts in math or science, something the Bush administration hoped to positively change. (Oddly, while the Iraq war has served as a distraction from almost any other goal of his administration, the war itself has also bolstered the common man's geographical knowledge of the Middle East. An accident, certainly, but something to note, nonetheless.)

The point is that, if I were to walk up to Miss South Carolina and hand her a globe, she could probably spin it and accurately point at the middle of North America and declare, "U.S.A.!" proudly. But this young lady, beautiful and earnest as she is, has reached her senior year of high school without cultivating the elementary skills needed to answer a simple (albeit loaded) question. There was no wrong answer, and she still found one.

Someone should take this as a wake-up call and start rethinking education in the area of communication for teens, preteens, elementary school students... everyone. Otherwise, with the phenomenon of YouTube, etc., the world will see Miss Caitlin Upton as evidence of America's standards.

This girl does not deserve ever to speak in public again, lest some gullible preteen be faked into thinking that BS-ing into a microphone for thirty seconds is an example of standard oratory skills (as long as it's accompanied by a flip of sparkly, blonde hair). However, I think she's getting a raw deal. I wish the folks posting their responses at would take down captions such as, "Uh... Retard." and "What is going on up there?!"

Cut her some slack, people. This girl, striving to be the poster child for beauty and poise, has been reduced to the level of Gimmick. Don't be shocked when she winds up on a reality TV show or begins making the rounds on less-than-savory talk radio programs. She was third runner up for the title of Miss Teen USA. She wants to major in Graphic Design. She plays soccer. She believes in community service. If she wasn't a successful,multi-label model to boot, she'd be your slightly above-average American girl.

Today she is one of the most Googled people on the internet, and no one is asking about her GPA or her work with Sistercare . Rather, her worst moment is being watched repeatedly by viewers worldwide, viewers who are laughing and pointing and wondering how America's youth will ever survive adulthood.