Since when does silence equal shame?

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Anderson Cooper Publicly Admits He’s Gay

Two things immediately bother me about this article…

First…

“I’ve always believed that who a reporter votes for, what religion they are, who they love, should not be something they have to discuss publicly. As long as a journalist shows fairness and honesty in his or her work, their private life shouldn’t matter

It’s become clear to me that by remaining silent on certain aspects of my personal life for so long, I have given some the mistaken impression that I am trying to hide something — something that makes me uncomfortable, ashamed, or even afraid. This is distressing because it is simply not true.”

I appreciate and agree with Anderson Cooper’s first statement. People should have the right to keep their personal life personal and the public should be able to respect that. It is interesting though that if Mr.Cooper is so concerned about omitted information about his personal life causing people to assume he is uncomfortable or ashamed, why is his sexual orientation the only personal information subject to exposure? Isn’t it as easy to make the same assumptions about religion and politics (the other examples he mentioned)? And yet there seems to be no urgent need to relieve the public of their assumptions regarding those two issues.

The second thing is more annoying to me than bothersome, it just strikes me as odd that if this were a women we were talking about it, you would run the risk of being considered sexist for mentioning how hot she is as much as her actual ability/talent in her given field.

Frankly, if it were me I wouldn’t appreciate having my looks and sexual preference out-shine my abilities as a journalist.

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12 thoughts on “Since when does silence equal shame?

  1. Love the title of this post! It says it all.

  2. Thanks for your post. I hate the way the link to the website posted says he ‘admits’ to being gay. There is absolutely nothing to ‘admit’. One ‘admits’ to having committed inappropriate behaviour – theft, lying, laziness etc. One can no more ‘admit’ to be gay than one can ‘admit’ to be left-handed. It is a pity that the words used by the link posted still portray non-heterosexual orientation as being something one has to owe up to.

    • Katie says:

      Thanks for your comment. The word ‘admits’ in the title rubbed me the wrong way the moment I read it as well.

      It is really interesting that the words used in the article still portray non-heterosexual orientation as something to own up to, it’s also interesting -why- they are portrayed that way. “The public” never presses heterosexual people to openly identify themselves by their sexuality, you never see straight men “outing” themselves as straight so that people wont -assume- they are ashamed or uncomfortable with their sexuality.

      Some people will say that if there weren’t still people who believed that homosexuality is wrong that things like this wouldn’t happen, that it’s for that reason it had to happen, but I don’t buy it. Sex outside of marriage is still considered wrong by some, but there’s no pressure on people to “admit” that they are sleeping with their significant other so that other people who are also sleeping with their significant other wont assume that they are ashamed or uncomfortable with being sexually active. It looks more like being pressured into declaring allegiance to me.

      • I’m not so sure about that. Straight men are distressingly vocal about asserting their straightness in public less anyone mistake them for “queer”.

        While I agree, the word “admits” in some way implies that he’s denied it in the past (maybe he has?) or that it is some kind of a confession rather than simply an acknowledgment, I don’t think we want to swing the pendulum too far the other way and pretend that our culture, in general, is far too “public” about their private lives.

  3. I’m not so sure I agree with the first quote.

    Objectivity is a very big part of journalism. Knowing someone’s worldview is very important to making a decision about whether or not we are willing to consider them objective.

    While I agree that it is extremely arbitrary that the focus is exclusively on his orientation and not only his religious and political views, which are probably far more important, I don’t think the arbitrariness of that takes away from our need to know as much about him (and everyone on his team) as we can if we can make an informed decision about whether or not to put stock in his reporting.

    • Katie says:

      I see what you’re saying, and I suppose that is it is true that you have to know those kinds of details in order to decide whether someone is being truly objective or not (which makes me think it’s got to be near to impossible for anyone to be truly objective about anything).
      The tone still bothers me. It seems like no matter what else a person or organization might be for or against, the real question that determines how we respond to them is where they stand on homosexuality. And I don’t mean this at all to be one-sided, both “sides”, if you will, are equally guilty of making homosexuality a linchpin topic.

      • Yes, that’s definitely true. As an “issue” it has been blown entirely out of proportion.

        And yes, it is, essentially, impossible to be truly objective. That’s the lesson of the failure of Modernity and the primary articulation of Post-modern philosophy.

        The problem, these days, is that we have replaced many of our journalists with pundits, not always explicitly so that you know that’s what has been done, and so you think you’re getting something “fairly objective” when in fact you’re getting a highly filtered and processed opinion.

        Fox News has fought in court, successfully, for the right to lie during a broadcast, and call it “news”.

  4. Katie says:

    “Fox News has fought in court, successfully, for the right to lie during a broadcast, and call it “news”.

    There are no words. Ugh.

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