OK guys, here we go . . .
Watch as @alexpareene and I explore the *bleeding edge* of technology and have a real-time chat about today's Anderson Cooper news. To kick things off: Do you think he had a moral obligation to come out?
WEB 3.0! No editing of prior posts, I don't think!
So, my very broad and sort of obvious view on celebs coming out is: If you're big and known enough that coming out won't cause you genuine hardship -- if you're Anderson Cooper, rich, famous and beloved TV personality -- I do think you sort of "owe it" to people without your charmed life to make it known that one can be very happily Out and Successful. It's maybe less a moral obligation than just a Good Thing To Do.
Agreed re: it being more of a Good Thing To Do than a moral obligation. I think there are potentially legitimate personal calculations that go into a celebrity staying silent on questions about their sexuality -- or any other aspect of their private life -- even when it's at the expense of, you know, greater social good. That said, I respect him more now that he has answered the question -- especially because of the way that he did it.
Well, an email to Andrew Sullivan is definitely one of the most novel ways I can think of to finally break your legendary silence. But while the matter-of-factness of it was definitely a good sign of the progress made since the days when Coming Out basically had to be a meticulously planned PR roll-out, with magazine covers and so on -- it's totally no big deal anymore, yay! -- I did find (my friend) Richard Lawson's post (theatlanticwire.com) to be a useful check on the otherwise almost universally positive response to the method he chose. After explicitly dodging the question for years, it might've been nice for him shout from the rooftops that he's out and proud!
Oddly (and I sort of hope I'm wrong about this?) it sort of speaks to his transition from globe-trotting, tight t-shirted enterprising reporter to personality and talk show host. Like, now we get to know The Personal Side of Anderson. We're not supposed to care if a Newsman is gay or straight but if we're inviting him into our homes in the afternoons, it is suddenly relevant. (NB I've never watched "Anderson" or "Hangin' With Mr Coop" or whatever his daytime show is called.)
Yes, obviously. "Dear Children of America: Gay people are unbelievably handsome and successful and live wonderful lives and have fireman's poles in their townhouses, everyone should try it."
Anyway to sum up and get back to the original q, it's good for society and good for America and good for thousands of gay kids across the nation that Anderson Cooper came out, and frankly that would've also been true years ago, when it also would've braver to do so -- but that is all Very Easy For Me To Say (because I am just some blogger, everything is very easy for me to say) so I do not actually begrudge him the delay. I'm not sure it rose to the level of obligation, but it was a series of missed opportunities.
Thanks for your feedback! Team Branch