On 7 November, 2016, the Oxford Union hosted a talk and Q&A by Andreja Pejić. That link will tell you that she is a Bosnian model who was born a boy, had an androgynous career modelling both masculine and feminine clothes, eventually transitioning fully to womanhood.
What interested me was not so much the sex-change – big deal: she isn’t the first such speaker on this blog – but the subject of her talk. Assiduous followers may remember that when Stephen Fry delivered one such, also at the Oxford Union, I discussed in depth that this can present a real difficulty.
Her life has been more interesting than that first paragraph suggests, given that her mother is Serbian and father Croatian. This is not a biography blog, so I’ll leave it there for others to explore further if they wish.
I am old enough to have happened to witness a particular notorious TV interview. Simon Dee interviewed George Lazenby whose profile at the time was huge, his having played James Bond. Dee began with some obvious Bond question, but Lazenby swatted it aside and launched into a rant about the assassination of President Kennedy with Dee sitting gobsmacked and unable to get a word in edgeways. A new celebrity is a sitting duck to be indoctrinated by conspiracy-theorists looking to hitch a ride on the voice of the moment, and Lazenby was available. Lazenby’s stunt helped Simon Dee lose his career.
I am afraid I get a very similar feel about this talk from Pejić. She herself calls it a rant, and essentially it’s about how we are heading for World War III. Delivering it the day before the US Presidential Elections she sees little optimism in either result. The talk is scripted, and badly. It’s so incoherent that even she has problems following it. I actually doubt that she wrote it, and that others have hitched a ride as described in my previous paragraph. She may even identify them in the web address she gives at 30:27. Her final sentence immediately follows that, is delivered without looking at the script, and though it’s still not very coherent it comes closer than anything that precedes it.
I find myself hoping that Q&A will tap into her own experience and liberate her natural articulacy. No.