Miss Utah got to go on the Today show this morning for a second crack at the question that she flubbed at the recent Miss USA pageant. This time around, Marissa Powell gave a far more polished response, which KSL.com has in more detail. Good for her, but the next time this happens to a pageant contestant, and it surely will, just remember that these questions test not intelligence but the "ability to generate cow patties on demand," writes Linda Holmes at NPR.
Holmes breaks down the original question—"A recent report shows that in 40% of American families with children, women are the primary earners, yet they continue to earn less than men. What does this say about society?"—and finds it to be simultaneously "dumb" and "impossible to answer." She's studied family and gender issues for years and has no idea how she would have responded. Powell could have blathered some vapid answer, but as long as she did so smoothly, it would have drawn no attention. "She's not in the news for being dumb; she's in the news for being bad at spontaneous but convincing balderdash manufacturing." Click for the full column.