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Odd Wisconsin Archive

The Power of the Queen

Despite our state's republican, democratic, and progressive traditions, various Wisconsin institutions have been quick to crown a queen whenever it might serve their public relations purpose. Naturally we've had numerous prom queens, a Dairy Queen and a Sweet Corn Queen, and even a Kraut Queen. A few weeks ago we wrote here about Queen Marinette, who gave her name to the city in northeastern Wisconsin.

But would you have imagined the Donut Queen? The Cranberry Queen? The rhetorical point of juxtaposing beautiful young women with dowdy men -- such as that last photo, or this image of then-vice-president Richard Nixon with the Wisconsin Honey Queen, or this one of an elderly gent in a bow tie framed by two beauty queens at the 1962 state fair - - seems lost today. Perhaps back then, in a world where provocative images of beautiful young people were rare, these pictures evoked connotations that are lost on us today, when far more explicit sexual images and language have become boringly commonplace in public discourse.

Surely the most famous queen in Wisconsin, though, was not a woman at all. Thousands knew her intimately and left her presence in awe of great natural beauty. We're refering, of course, to... well, see for yourself.
:: Posted in Curiosities on August 21, 2005

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