There she goes

Although Svetlana Savitskaya, the female Soviet astronaut (who indicates she doesn't care about riding in space, only working), would probably frown on the Miss America Pageant and not approve of the new queen, Sharlene Wells (who has no skeletons in her closet), the beauty contest will no doubt continue to pile up more viewers than the NFL.

Maybe ''beauty contest'' is the wrong choice of words. It is promoted as a ''scholarship competition,'' even though it might suggest that the girls would appear in faded jeans and oversize sweat shirts.

The idea that the girls appear in bathing suits makes some feminists unhappy. Well, looks aren't everything, of course, and money doesn't make people happy, but it is going to be a cold winter on the Amazon before Miss America will be selected by a two-hour written exam.

Beauty contests, or scholarship competitions, or whatever one wants to call them, continue to be popular. Girls enter them from two years old on up. Almost every product in the United States has a little Miss Somebody representing it as a promotional agent. There is an old geezer I know down at the shuffleboard courts who claims he was once a judge for a Miss Plastic Trash Bag and a Miss All Pork Sausage. It's hard to believe.

But there has been a Miss Guernsey Cow Queen, who by no means resembled the product. And everyone is familiar with the Garlic Queen, who no doubt was judged at a distance of not less than 12 feet. She won a certain fame, nonetheless, just as did the Pepperoni Queen and Miss Cement Block.

The only contest winner I ever heard of subject to some misunderstanding was Miss Gum Spirits. She was a beautiful winner in a contest promoted by the turpentine industry, but some of the lesser informed thought it advertised a chewing-gum flavor. A still smaller group thought it was vaguely connected with false teeth.

Despite the aberrations, most of us will continue to want to see products represented by someone beautiful.

of 5 stories this month > Get unlimited stories
You've read 5 of 5 free stories

Only $1 for your first month.

Get unlimited Monitor journalism.