The big media event of the past few days was Bruce Jenner’s interview with Diane Sawyer. Frankly what Jenner opts to do with his life, let alone his gender – will he change his name to Bruce Jender? – is really none of my business. But as he seems intent on thrusting it in people’s faces I thought it only proper I respond.
In 1976 the Summer Olympics were hosted here in Montreal. It was the year I graduated from high school, it was a glorious time. For many the focal point of any summer Olympic Games is the decathlon, ten events that, by many estimates, produce the top athlete in the world. In ’76 American Bruce Jenner was touted as the favourite, and he did not disappoint. For me memories of Jenner and that summer of 1976 are forever intertwined.
Jenner was the All-American Boy, something right off a Wheaties Box – literally. Had Norman Rockwell still been painting Americana (he was in his eighties at the time) Jenner would have fit the bill to a tee. But now the once ‘baseball and apple pie’ Jenner has sullied his reputation. Don’t get me wrong, I have no problem with his transgendering, I just wish he would not flaunt it in what I sense is an attention grab. Could this be the Kardashians influence? Or could he be touting his own upcoming reality series? I can’t imagine anything more personal than what he has been living and is now going through, yet by airing his laundry – from boxers to thongs; not dirty, but personal nonetheless – he appears to me to be seeking publicity. Re-branding as much as transgendering.
Jenner recently stated that he was sad while standing atop the medal podium in Montreal, and that he felt more like a woman than a man. An interesting juxtaposition when you consider the great lengths to which the IOC was going to verify that no Eastern European female athletes were actually males. And here was an American man feeling more like a woman, and it never crossed anyone’s mind.
I think Bruce’s main problem now is that as he transitions from male to female, he has begun to bear a striking resemblance to Ozzy Osbourne.