YouTube has revolutionized embarrassment in America. Given a personalized channel, twenty tags synonymous with "awesome hot sexy funny," and a snappy title, little stands between a poor-quality video clip and the nation’s rapt attention, 47 million strong each month and counting. The population most at risk, the disoriented celebrity, can no longer act with impunity when devouring a sandwich a lÃ kitchen floor or starting an awards-show comeback with less-than-perfect rhythm. But YouTube isn’t discriminating, and it sometimes selects a few unknowns into the bright lights of unflattering online stardom.
Such is the case of Caitlin Upton, or, as she is recognized by her wide fan base, Miss Teen South Carolina 2007. You know, the one who personally believes American education should help those without maps in South Africa and the Iraq and everywhere, like such as"¦ for the children. Being a beauty pageant, the event garnered many dozens of witnesses for her cringe-worthy gaff; the amplifying boost of the almighty video giant added only a few million more.
This video spread like wildfire, and the above slideshow charts its path. Aired on August 24th, the clip first launched the following day and rocketed into the public eye, reaching 1.6 million viewers at its peak — perhaps the best publicity for the pageant yet — before waning by the end of the week. In a shocking twist, the online viewers skewed male.
And to prove irony is alive and well in America, the state with the most viewings per capita is none other than dear old South Carolina, contributing more than double its internet population index. Those citizens are nothing if not loyal, and if their girl was not to win the pageant title, at least she won the YouTube consolation tribute.
Who will our next unwitting YouTube darling be? My guess: a New Hampshire man who cries at a pumpkin-carving contest when his complex "Musings on an Autumn Day" piece fails to place runner-up behind winners "Pumpkin Hilton," "Lindsay Lantern," and "Pumpkins Gone Wild."