April 27, 2015

#BruceJenner vs. Renee Richards, the #SJW world and more

Bruce Jenner/Wikipedia
As everybody in the US not in hibernation probably knows, 1976 Olympic decathlon winner Bruce Jenner is "out" as a transgendered person.


While this is interesting, is it something that necessarily needs huzzahs and handsprings? Maybe, maybe not.

"But he's famous," somebody will say, and that will publicize transgender issues.

He's famous for what?

Per a commenter on NBC Sports' Hardball Talk blog, Jenner has voluntarily been part of the Kardashian circus for more than a decade. Name me something else he's famous for, other than recently killing a person in an auto accident.

In addition, nobody forced him to go on camera. His choice. Per that commenter:
In other words, Bruce Jenner represents a tiny, all but quantum fraction of the total number of transgender patients. He only receives this much attention because (1) he is a former Olympic champion, (2) he has recently been involved in a fatal automobile accident in the media subcapital of the world, but most of all because (3) for the past umpteen years he has been a willing participant in one of the biggest self-aggrandizing, self-promoting media freak shows in history and by his own volition a darling of tabloid dumpculture. 
That might be somewhat harsh. But, is it totally so? I don't think so.

And, while transgender and sexual identity issues are confusing, Jenner seems more confused yet. To claim that he's conservative, Republican and Christian is one sign of that. Many liberally religious people don't have a problem with transgender issues, as the forth initial in the LGBT civil liberties quasi-acronym. However, Christian conservatives have plenty of problems with that. Problems enough that, as the religious right takes stronger hold of the modern GOP, it's perplexing that folks like the Log Cabin Republicans continue to identify as Republican. There are more than two parties in America, you know; you could be Libertarian. But, I guess that the largely two-party duopoly has too much of a hold on you, and you're willing to sacrifice an essential part of your personhood for the Religious Right's agenda.

And, speaking of LGBT? Jenner's claim that he has little need for its rights or it as a movement is even more perplexing. I suspect that, at some point, organized LGBT groups, if they don't abruptly dump Jenner like a hot potato, will at least slowly walk away from him. The social justice warrior types, the SJWs, may be having rapture right now, but probably should think again.

I mean, the NYT, in one article, found his political leanings more shocking than him coming "out."

That NYT piece also notes his circus show background:
This was a coming-out about gender identity and also of television genre. Mr. Jenner tried to disentangle himself from his reality show skin, shedding the slightly goofy, Father Knows Least persona he plays on E! to reveal a more forceful and assertive version of himself. He became exercised – and even sarcastic — when Ms. Sawyer told him that his Kardashian years (she only referred to the series as “that reality show”) made people wonder whether this too was a publicity stunt. “Yeah, right,” he drawled. 
 Instead, he reframed his reality show career as the price he paid to create a platform for his new calling. “Yeah, I know,” he said, referring to what Ms. Sawyer described as “a shameless selling of everything.” He said this was different. “But what I am doing is going to do some good and we’re going to change the world. I really firmly believe that,” he said shaking his finger at Ms. Sawyer. He added, “And if the whole Kardashian show and reality television gave me that foothold into that world, to be able to go out there and really do something good, I’m all for it. I got no problem with that. Understand?” 
 His reality show days aren’t over, however. Mr. Jenner said he was doing an eight-episode documentary with E! that will air this summer but said he drew the line at giving the camera the kind of access he allowed on “Keeping Up With The Kardashians.” 
As for that conservative Republican part?
Mr. Jenner described himself as conservative and Ms. Sawyer seemed taken aback. When she asked him if he would ask Republican leaders to champion the transgender cause, Mr. Jenner was full of aplomb. “I would do that, yeah, in a heartbeat, why not? And I think they’d be very receptive to it.”
Yeah, right. You’re either a full-on idiot, totally clueless, or else think you can tame the Religious Right GOP circus just like a Kardashian circus.

And, that’s another reason not to put him on any platforms.

After all, Christine Jorgensen went public with this 60-plus years ago! Renée Richards went public as an athlete still in competition 40 years ago. Both did so less voluntarily than Jenner, but with more aplomb, perhaps; certainly, remembering Richards, she did so without the apparent publicity-seeking of Jenner. So, while Christina Kahrl is partially right to salute Jenner, she shouldn't be going overboard, either. 

As for Kahrl entering the social justice warrior world by chiding Jenner's mom for saying "he" and "him," the New York Times used male pronouns for its story, and offered what was to me a reasonable editorial defense, noting that Jenner had not chosen a female name nor set out for public understanding other parameters of his identity transitioning. And, it would be bad enough to chide other media outlets; selecting Jenner's mom as the object lesson for a "teachable moment" is kind of sad, in my book.

Jenner's second ex also uses male pronouns in writing for Huff Post. She notes that he had started the transitioning before they divorced. That said, he went on to marry Kris Kardashian, not go further down the transitioning road, and join their media circus.

So, shake your finger at Diane Sawyer, or me, or others, all you want, Bruce. I don't believe you're going to convert a bunch of Republicans. I'm not shocked, or even surprised, that you may go back to reality TV as a "pulpit," or a "slimepit." Please, don't push yourself as America's role model for this. 

Meanwhile, this is further proof that there's no omnipotent god or Intelligent Designer behind this world in general or human procreation in particular. Beyond gender identity issues, sexuality also goes haywire during fetal development, due to hormone insensitivity issues or other things. And, we haven't even discussed things like teratomas, as blogged about by me before, or mosaicism, or even the 25-35 percent of human conceptions that are spontaneously aborted due to various abnormalities. As Francisco Ayala, a nominal Catholic and world-class biologist has said, if God's the Intelligent Designer, he's also the Great Abortionist.

Any would-be commenters who mention "original sin" get their would-be comments deleted. (And, yes, like Ken Ham, some Xns actually will attribute the cause of anything wrong in our world to original sin.)

No comments: