Bravery

“We wuz robbed” was the consensus when Catriona Gray didn’t win Miss World 2016. And you know where the outrage stems from when you see that the fourth auto-complete question on Google is “cartoon gray answer.”

So here’s what she said:

Was this a good answer?

Before I go any further, however, I have to say that no answer would make sense unless we truly believe that these answers matter in the first place. My sense on this is that these questions are not actually relevant. For one thing, no one in their right mind would expect anyone to be able to articulate – much less encapsulate – an adequate response in under a minute. Any policy position that can be contained in a nutshell (as pageant organizers are essentially asking these ladies to do) belongs in a nutshell.

Any policy position that can be contained in a nutshell, belongs in a nutshell.

For another, how reasonable is it to assume that these young ladies would have the backgrounds necessary to formulate a sound and defensible policy position to begin with? Clearly, therefore, these questions are not meant to elicit meaningful responses as much as they are expected to generate applause lines. Put otherwise, the candidates will hopefully not trip over their words and actually construct coherent sentences.

Yep, that’s a very low bar. But then again the very idea of parading young girls for the approval of an audience reeks of slave market to begin with, so it’s still pretty much in the same ballpark.

Alright. So, proceeding from the understanding that these questions shouldn’t be considered a serious criterion anyway, was Catriona Gray’s answer a good one?

Well…

It was barely responsive. The question referred to “qualities” and she stopped at “bravery.” So, if this question were being evaluated on the basis of merit, at best it would be considered an incomplete answer. Unless – and she didn’t do this – Gray prefaced her with reply with something along the lines of “There is only one significant quality…” or “The most important quality…”

You get the drift.

But then, as I pointed out earlier, the most like reason for this portion of the pageant is to bait applause, then the outcome becomes truly puzzling.

Gray’s answer may have been glaringly insufficient. In fact, about 90% of her reply sounded more like a campaign promise than an exposition on bravery, but boy, did she ever squeeze every ounce of applause from that puppy! Watch her face as she’s answering and you can even see the exact moment that she was on to a winning answer and decided to run with it.

Just to wrap this up very quickly then:

If the questions actually mattered, then Gray’s answer would be insufficient at best. If the answers were meant to elicit applause more than they were intended to surface good policy positions, then she definitely should have won Ms World 2016.

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