Tuesday, June 9, 2015
Popular Media Questions & Who is Caitlyn Jenner?
Everyone got so excited about Caitlyn Jenner, but when the time came for me to give my opinion, I didn't know who Bruce Jenner was, and we got into this whole thing about what things I should be expected to know while I'm here. I know I could use Google to find them all instantly, but I decided not to, as part of a social experiment. Also, I think even Masai tribesmen now know who Caitlyn Jenner is, or whatever, so that means they probably know who Bruce Jenner was, which puts them ahead of me.
What I thought was, in an old-timey conversational style, I'd try to ask people who these people were. You know, instead of using Google. I know some things from what I see at the grocery checkout, but the last thing I think I learned was that Michael Jackson died...and I think that was reliable, but God help me if it was one of those satire news magazines and I'm so far behind that I don't even know he's still alive. Pretty sure, though...pretty sure. I think.
So anyway, who are all these people? I have no more understanding of the present than I do of the past. I know there's something called a "Kardashian" that's important, and I know enough about Star Trek shows to have determined that a Kardashian isn't some kind of Federation warship. And over time, I've become convinced that, whatever a Kardashian is, it's a person, and probably a girl/woman (although I might be hugely embarrassing myself now, because based on AM radio I've overheard, it might also just be a brand of handbag??).
So anyway, what is a Kardashian? If it's a girl/woman, given the way people talk about it, it's either really gross or really attractive, but that's how far my knowledge goes. Is he/she/it a singer? An actress? A professional athlete? Is it older than or younger than a "Miley Cyrus" (about which I now know because someone sent me a video of her dancing somewhere like a year ago)?
Or is it just a gossip columnist or famous news anchor? And, is it widely considered to be good looking or bad looking? Does it have its own TV show, and is that TV show "reality" or "non-reality"? And perhaps most importantly of all, has she/he/it ever had a gunfight with Puff Daddy or dated Puff Daddy?
People are always assuming I know "classic" stuff just because I don't know what a "Kardashian" is, but I don't. I know there was a guy called Humphrey Bogart, and I saw Gone With the Wind, so I know Bogart didn't play Rhett Butler. I know there was Marilyn Monroe, and Frank Sinatra, so that's covered. What they did, aside from dance and sing and/or couple with John F. Kennedy, I can only speculate. But I can only barely name all the "Beatles," and I don't know which one played which instrument (or were they all singers?), and at a certain point, I didn't know if Bruce Jenner was or wasn't their stage manager for their American tour.
But then I learned that Bruce Jenner was some kind of athlete--thank you, Yahoo! banners. It looked like he was crossing a finish line somewhere, which suggests that he ran in a race. Presumably he won the race, or that photograph wouldn't have been used. So he's, or rather he was, a runner of races.
Absent all of this stuff, how would we satisfy our desire for trivia? If placed on a desert island with one hundred other people and a printing press, would one of our first actions be printing up magazines describing the intimate details of certain of our lives? In a Rousseauian way, I'd like to idyllically assume that we wouldn't do that. Oh, Rousseau, would that your orchard fantasies could come true in some small part!
I really should get more into this, though. That's one of the main things that you do while you're here...you experience weirdo celebrity idolatry. To continue the general thesis of stream of thought that we're working on here, now that we're past nobility, how will we celebratize the transhumans of the future? When not just a few million people, but nearly everyone on the planet is a holographic octosexual GMO-android in pansexual open-source relationships with thirty equally diverse partners, what will we have left through which to vicariously live? Let's assume that I could press a button and have abusive sex with a clone of the 1935 version of Zsa Zsa Gabor, but then I got a little rowdy and threw whisky bottles at the guy in the flat down the hall and was arrested for mooning the Pope during Ramadan...would it be a scandal any longer, or would everyone else's life be so excited that they'd rather read about the Bat Boy? And when I've been lab-grown with a full spread of human DNA, and am simultaneously every race and religion and species on the planet, will it be possible for me to be racially offensive any longer?
People say that after too much drugs or porn, you're always seeking a greater high. Why should it be any different with celebrities? But just like freebasing crystallized ethanol or finally downloading that clip of the dog-chimp orgy, where do we go from here? Since you all know all this stuff, what comes next after a "Kardashian"? Are we going to end up a world of heroin chic, unable to thrill ourselves any longer? What kind of legacy are we leaving our test tube babies if we don't leave some kind of uncrossable line to further tantalize them? Maybe this whole experiment is just doomed to failure.
Anyway, Bruce Jenner was a runner of races. But how does that make him famous? Did he then go on to endorse a popular product? Did he run for the Senate or something? And how could he win races? I thought only black guys won races. That was an entire chapter in high school, about how Hitler learned that from Jesse Owens. Or was Bruce Jenner originally black, and that's why he's so famous now? He doesn't look black, but everyone on Facebook and Twitter is telling me about how he had all these surgeries...is that it?
Jeebus, how do you people keep track of all this stuff?