|The Beggar Queen|
I’m sure it will be no great revelation if I tell you I take no interest at all in beauty pageants. You know the sort of thing; a succession of women whose breast size is in inverse proportion to that of their brains, telling some slavering old Jimmy Savile-type host that they want to help old people when they grow up, with hints, perhaps, of oral pleasures to come.
I was amused to discover, though, that one of these contests is called Miss Earth. What, Miss Earth? Does the competition come from Miss Mars, Miss Venus and the rest, from the ultra hot Miss Mercury to the cold and distant Miss Pluto? Now that might be something worth watching!
Earth girls come from all over the Earth. It wasn’t really the name of the competition that caught my attention; it was the comments of one of the competitors. She is Natalia Pereverzeva from Russia, different from the usual run of beauties in that she had some unusual things to say about her country.
Asked what makes her proud of her country, she started off in a glowing if slightly eccentric fashion.
Russia, she said, “is bright, warm,
patched, but it is pleasant to slumber under it on a winter evening when the
storm rages outside.” I get it: Russia is really just a giant
duvet. Wait; it’s more than that, it’s “a kind of cow with very big eyes,
funny horns and always chewing its mouth oh, what sweet milk she gives!
Oh, how it smells – meadows, herbs and sun.” A comfort blanket, kindly
cows and fragrant herbs, my, my, Russia
is obviously the lost Eden.
But it’s not. In an instant bedding, cows and herbs disappeared, revealing something nasty in the woodshed.
to smell not of fragrant meadows but of corruption. “But my Russia – it is
also my poor long-suffering country, mercilessly torn to pieces by greedy,
dishonest and unbelieving people. My Russia is a great artery, from
which the chosen few people drain away its wealth. My Russia is a
The beggar cannot help its orphans and its elderly. Engineers, doctors and teachers are fleeing, as from a sinking ship, because they can’t make enough to live on. This is her country, she concluded, her dear, poor
Not the sort of thing one expects in this kind of bash, I feel sure you will agree. It’s caused quite a stir in
Komsomolskaya Pravda, one of the main tabloids, headlined the story on its
front page. Did our Miss Earth 2012 contestant slam Russia or tell the truth?, it
asked. No, she did not tell the truth, one of its commentators proceeded;
her tirade was just a rehash of Western clichés about Russia.
That would not include the bit about duvets, meadows, herbs and cows, I suppose
Dmitry Steshin went on to accuse her of “trading her body in photographs to arouse the sexual instincts of the end consumer, thereby ruining her credibility.” You can make of that what you will but I rather thought trading one’s body in photographs to arose the sexual instincts “of the end consumer” was what beauty pageants were all about. Perhaps Dmitry is of a more innocent cast of mind, giving no thought at all to the girl’s future intentions towards old men.
Alas, he seems rather out of touch with the rest of
Russia, or at
least the more than 90% of the thousands who responded in her favour in the paper’s
online poll. Clearly the end consumers’ sexual instincts have been
aroused by the former Miss Russia’s
body of photographs. Either that or she speaks a deeper truth, one that
explodes the self-serving illusions and forms of political deception that
Putin’s gangster-state specialises in. That is no beauty contest.