All Hail, Miss Seattle

Let Seattle's twittering beauty queen be mean. Do we have to be afraid of someone complaining about the ... rain?

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Jean-Sun Hannah Ahn

Let Seattle's twittering beauty queen be mean. Do we have to be afraid of someone complaining about the ... rain?

Ok, I know the Miss Seattle controversy is so last week, but I feel I have to come to the young woman's defense.

She's not quite being treated like Sandra Fluke, but this young gal, Jean-Sun Hannah Ahn, has been much criticized for Tweeting that she sometimes finds Seattle rain and people annoying. "Ew I seriously am hating Seattle right now..." she told her friends last December. And, "Ugh can't stand cold rainy Seattle and the annoying people."

As anti-Seattle nastiness goes, this wouldn't even move the Richter scale on the Slog. It wouldn't cause a Crosscut troll to twitch. This is the kind of stuff most of us think every morning in the shower.

She's being scolded for failing to remember that what you Tweet or post on Facebook is public and lives forever. This seems like strange advice for the media to give: don't we media people want people to be indiscreet? Why caution people, including young people, not to speak their minds? Isn't it rather refreshing when the plastic beauty queen facade cracks?

Seattle media often react this way. They squirm when someone lets slips an uncomfortable truth, like when Paul Allen told us Bill Gates was a jerk, and got criticized for breaking the local rule: "If you don't have something nice to say, repress your real feelings and thoughts because you are a bad, bad person."

Another eyebrow-raiser was the fact that Jean-Sun represents Seattle, but in fact grew up in Mukilteo, and worse, not long ago, she was also crowned Miss Phoenix. She seems to be working her way north. Next job: Miss Fairbanks! Good luck with the weather up there.

But, criticizing her for being an outsider hardly seems fair since most people in Seattle aren't from Seattle, weren't born in Seattle, just arrived in Seattle. The pageant rules only require that a Miss Seattle contestant be a U.S. citizen who has lived in Washington for at least six months. Still, it seems like the rules would be more true to life if they said you could only be Miss Seattle if you were born and raised somewhere else, probably California.

To win the title, you do have to look good in a bathing suit, even though a wetsuit and parka might be more appropriate here. You also must have at least "90 seconds" worth of talent, which is demonstrably more than the average person. 

More interestingly, you can't be a transsexual and must never have been married. It seems to me that if people want to be upset about something, those two rules might be worthy of discussion. Is the Miss Seattle contest not LBGTetc.-friendly? Have they heard that the French have banished the word "mademoiselle?" Many Western countries no longer distinguish between Misses and Mrs.

Another beef: Seattle ought to be named Duwumps. I'll bet a Miss Duwumps could say anything she wanted and no one would care.

Really, Seattle, are we going to get down on this young woman for being grumpy in December, a time when the rain falls, the gloom glooms, and the war on Christmas rages? Who doesn't think thoughts about the Aurora Bridge around that time of year? "Ew I seriously am hating Seattle right now..." doesn't begin to cover it.

I write this as someone who has made at least part of a career being annoyed with my hometown and sometimes hating it as only someone who loves it can hate it. Miss Seattle wants to have a media career, and I suggest she consider turning her annoyance and impatience into a money-making asset rather than trying to run from it. 

Seattle does not need another pretty news reader to deliver depression-inducing headlines, who then chitchats as if everything is just peachy while the world goes to hell in a commodious hand basket. Miss Seattle, you're too young to remember Aaron Brown's Seattle career. The former KING and KIRO anchor was an honest newscaster because he did us the courtesy of delivering the news with a sneer.

My worth-what-you-paid-for-it advice? Give us more Tweet-worthy critiques, don't play it safe.


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About the Authors & Contributors

Knute Berger

Knute Berger

Knute “Mossback” Berger is Crosscut's Editor-at-Large.