Tuesday, June 2, 2015

From athletic champion to transgender champion

Once upon a time, Bruce Jenner was an Olympic gold medalist in the decathalon. In fact, the 40th anniversary of that accomplishment is next year. Jenner cashed in the gold with an endorsement contract with General Mills, makers of Wheaties and other cereals.

Here's Jenner, circa 1978:

After dabbling in acting (i.e. CHiPs, "Grambling's White Tiger"), Jenner faded from the spotlight sometime in the 80's, and settled into a relatively quiet and private life.

However, that was no longer the case after step-daughter Kim Kardashian became famous, or infamous, depending on who you talk to, for her plus-size posterior, which made her the butt of jokes from late night comics, as well as rapper Eminem. That, of course, led to Keeping Up With the Kardashians, which somehow stays on the air despite the fact that the family actually has become a charismatic black hole, and that was before Kim married rapper/human buzzkiller Kanye West.

In 2013, Jenner divorced his 3rd wife, Kris, with the dissolution of their union becoming final last year. Around that time, word started getting out that the former Olympic hero, who had experienced a career rebirth thanks to appearing with his step-daughters, had been struggling with his gender identity for years, and had decided to transition into a woman, one now adorning the cover of Vanity Fair and answering to Caitlyn. For all intents & purposes, Bruce Jenner, Olympic hero, is no more. In his place is the world's oldest transgendered person, Caitlyn Jenner, the transition coming at 65.

Here's a video for the magazine cover shoot.

Unfortunately, while Jenner's show business friends have been very supportive, others, such as actor Drake Bell (Ultimate Spider-Man, ex-Drake & Josh), have been exposed as being either ignorant, insensitive, or just plain dumb. Bell, who hasn't exactly done justice with his current cartoon gig, took to Twitter, and got predictably flamed before deleting his tweets. Time will tell before the end of the week if Bell is being fitted for a Dunce Cap.

Just as predictably, Caitlyn Jenner will have her own reality show on E!. It begs, then, to ask how the International Olympic Committee would honor Bruce Jenner's accomplishments next year, when "he" no longer exists? Do they make the same mistake as Drake Bell, and show a lack of sensitivity? Or do they show respect for another example of what has become a more permissive American society? We'll have to wait & see.


magicdog said...

I saw his transition coming a mile away from previous red carpet appearances, but it still seems like a spoof of a reality show.

Personally I think Bruce is insane and wants attention since he left the Kardashians. The only other reason he could be doing something so outrageous is for a reality show.

It would be the penultimate joke if it turned out he really isn't "transgender" after all and is just pretending for the publicity. I wouldn't past the Hollywoodies!

For the record, Bruce will always be a man no matter what gets amputated. A blood test or DNA test will always identify him as male. No hate, just biology.

hobbyfan said...

As I wrote, Caitlyn is getting a reality show, debuting next month, as if E! needed another one. Personally, I think it's a bit late in the game for a change like this. If you watched the Vanity Fair video, you'd know the voice is pretty much still the same.

And, then, there is some misbegotten soul who decided to start a petition on Change.org to strip Jenner of the 1976 Decathalon gold. Give me a break. The statute of limitations ran out on that one long ago.