Andy Griffith died today. He was 86. Alec Baldwin got married last week. Anderson Cooper confirmed he is gay. Celebrity news. Do you care? I’ll be honest. I do. Sometimes. I don’t remember much about Andy Griffith, thank God I can say I’m too young to remember him. But, I do find Alec Baldwin fascinating. Ever seen his “I am God” speech from the movie Malice? What about his soliloquy from “Glengarry Glen Ross.” Then, there’s just about everything he’s ever said on “30 Rock,” one of the most consistently funny shows on TV. And if that wasn’t enough, he threatens and manhandles paparazzi photographers on the streets of NYC like its his job. Awesome. I’m not fascinated by boring people, it’s the eccentric and outrageous ones that get my attention, the headlines, and the click-through rates. Call me shallow, but I’m fascinated.
Now, let’s turn to Anderson Cooper. He’s gay. He just confirmed it. Do you care? I don’t. But, I do care that many a lazy writer and reporter is getting the story wrong. The story isn’t that he’s gay. That’s not the headline. It’s not enough to report the facts these days – you have to give me context, and tell me why i should care. It’s not that he’s gay. It’s that he felt he had to come out now, and the fact that he waited this long made some feel like he was hiding it. The story is that a journalist in the public eye, whose job it is to uncover truth, is bound to some kind of societal standard that says he HAS TO come out with his own truth about his sexuality. That by in failing to do so, he’s hiding it, and not using his platform and reach to promote the acceptance of homosexuality. That in 2012, you must tell people whether you are attracted to men or women. Really? Anderson said it right when he said he didn’t want to overshadow or become the story while telling important stories. It’s not about him, it’s about his work. And headlines like “Anderson Cooper: I’m Gay.” do nothing but promote lazy journalism. Really, journos, check yourself.
Rant over. Happy 4th.