Teresa Scanlan, still a minor at 17 and barely a high school graduate, became the youngest woman to be named Miss America last night (Jan. 15). At least no scandals are likely to jump out of her closet; she’s too young to have one. But Scanlan raises questions nonetheless about the pageant’s meaning and propriety.

Miss Arkansas Alyse Eady was named first runner-up. She’ll take over if Scanlan can’t carry out her duties.

In another usual twist, Miss Delaware Kayla Martell, competed in the pageant, even though she is bald, caused by a medical condtion known as alopecia areata.

The pageant was held at Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino in Las Vegas. Ironically, Scanlan isn’t even old enough to walk through the casino. You have to be 21 to do that.

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Although Scanlan was accomplished on the piano, she hardly represents one of the pageant’s foundations, scholarship. The teen says she hopes to attend law school one day, but how likely is that now that she’s getting a taste of celebrity?

The Gering, Neb., native was handed the crown by outgoing Miss America Caressa Cameron. She competed against 52 other contestants in the pageant’s 90th anniversary. It returned to national television on ABC.

Not surprisingly, Scanlan worried that the judges wouldn’t think she was up to the job. Not that being Miss America involves heavy lifting, but it’s hard to see how the pageant sends a positive message.

For one, Scanlan doesn’t have the experience or the education to be taken too seriously on anything.

She was asked about the WikiLeaks scandal, and called it “espionage.”

“When it comes to the security of our nation, we have to focus on security first and then people’s right to know, because it’s so important that everybody who’s in our borders is safe and so we can’t let things like that happen, and they must be handled properly,” she said.

So much for the First Amendment. And what about the hypocrisy, lying and double dealing among government leaders that the leaks exposed?

Could this be the reason, as she pointed out, that “attorneys and politicians are looked down on and have terrible reputations for being greedy and power hungry?”

In any event, her issue is eating disorders, not that she ever had one, of course. It was a friend’s problem with bulimia that inspired her, she said.

“I never passed up a cookie on my journey here,” she said, which seems hard to believe, judging from the swimsuit competition, which has done away with one piece suits in favor of bikinis. Gotta keep up with the times.