Staying conspicuous and incessantly 'spoken about' within the dog-eats-dog milieu of the glitz industry remains a mammoth challenge to any stellar professional. Here enduring success depends heavily upon retaining that public image by which our brightest stars preen obligingly to the world from beneath dazzling spotlights, all cunningly trained to blind us.

Such media currency can assuredly either mark one's resurrection from oblivion, or spell one's demise. Jenner's interview with Vanity Fair would qualify here as a case in point, certainly it is one from which she subsequently reaped from us an abundant harvest in web clicks - apparently for all the right reasons. This she achieved even as our backs were turned, unsuspecting, and all the while potentially piggybacking upon some of the very values touching freedom and equality we all hold so dear. How much her recruitment of those values had to do with authentically identifying with transgender folks or to what extent it served instead to simply pilfer a winning hand -only to then deal us her ace when nobody was looking- remains an open question and one which, finally, she alone can answer. Nonetheless, given that she was awarded ample leeway in announcing her identity on her own terms, even as newcomer to the transgender scene, the pillory to which Dolezal was then peremptorily consigned at her own 'coming out' was somewhat perplexing. Evidently we had all rushed to commiserate with Caitlyn for having been 'born with the body of a man and a soul of a woman' yet showered Rachel with rotten tomatoes for having (we assume) been born with a white complexion and a black soul. No question whether the plausibility of identity angst was ever there to begin with or if there be more or less personal integrity to keeping novel forms of coming out a private affair among one's family and friends rather than proclaiming tout de suite to all and sundry something to the tune of "lights, camera, action: hey guys, by the way I'm actually black!" I am more interested here in the extent to which coherent reasoning ever plays a role in provoking that avalanche of likes which determines whether we award any privileged buoyancy to a story rather than simply scrolling down to the next gossip scoop.

True, identity questions are far too complex to permit of blithely lumping ethnicity and gender issues together as if both necessarily amounted to one and the same thing. However, what I can't get my head around is why the vox pops would hasten to applaud my courage if I were to identify myself tomorrow as transgender yet drag my name through the dirt for declaring myself transracial. Granted, it is only for as long as we are discussing quintessentially human 'selfness' that we accord any importance to such social media pathos, which is why I might justifiably expect a public outcry if, as earnest conservationist, I decided one fine day to claim to be a giant panda. But to return to our species: why should ethnic identity cross some invisible line of general tolerance where gender identity does not?

It all has me wondering whether the attention we invested in these two news stories was ever really about concerns around deceitfulness or victimhood. My own suspicion is that it was all more superficial than that: Dolezal earned her just deserts for having indecorously bulldozed her way into a dubious affirmation of solidarity with African Americans, whereas Jenner had rather showed her mettle for having at least had the grace to surprise us only once she had daintily settled herself upon a plush sofa. It seems to me the emotional barometer of our scathing reaction to Rachel was considerably less influenced here by content value as it was by poor choreography and bad timing respecting the succession of the events themselves. Indeed, her greatest disservice to us was in presuming to toss out there our second coming out story in as many months. But that was not her worst crime. What most offended us was her failure to substantially improve upon that first story, thereby depriving us all of the variety which, as 'entertainment animals', we now begin to demand. #Smartphone #Television #Tablet