|Back In the Closet
by Blair Sabol
Didn't we already know? Hadn't Kathy Griffin already outed Anderson Cooper on their CNN New Years Eve show years ago? Didn't we get his "message" when he donned his tight black Tee-shirt and stood with his pumped pecs and buffed biceps akimbo, reporting from the smoldering ruins of Haiti.
Didn't I already hear about "Andy's gayness" at every gym juice bar when he first uttered "keeping it real" on Anderson 360? Then again we had Geraldo Riviera in the same tight black Tee-shirt reporting from the same Haitian location. However all Geraldo ever did was write a book about the many women he slept with all those years he was "Eye Witnessing" at ABC News. Not the same? Or is it?
People have commented how wonderful it was for Cooper to "courageously come out" and what a "great example he set." For whom? For what? NO one watches CNN anymore. More importantly is Cooper the new Cronkite? Not so long ago I remember reading Cooper's standard party line: "I want to report the news. I don't want to be the news." So much for getting above the material.
I guess I don't get the importance of outing yourself or others as a form of urgent honesty. Especially in the midst of such fraudulent times that we’re living in. In this Dr. Phil world where reality TV and minute-by-minute Twittered (intimate) updates are allowing us to "come clean" and "bare our souls," why are we still living in such deep deceit? Are we all just talking too much and not listening? Where has all this "upfrontness" gotten us?
|Nowadays Cooper's "keeping it real" means you are a raging housewife on Bravo TV or an aging rock star scoring your "last chance Texaco" facelift procedure in front of VH1 cameras. Is there any real meaning in all this gut-wrenching exposure? Hanging your dirty or clean laundry out for everyone to know who does what to whom?
I remember 40 years ago so many of my friends in New York and LA were "SO GAY" and busy deciding how they would make their outrageous debuts from their closets. At that time there was so much hetero and homosexual experimentation going on, I was feeling oddly asexual from it all. Then AIDS hit and everything became militant and political, and Gay Pride turned into a serious "in-your-face" movement. I rallied. I marched for everybody — blacks, women, gays — you name it. Everyone had a Liberation front line; it was a new world.
Now I am tired. And this all came before Seinfeld uttered his famous gay explanation line of "Not that there is anything wrong with that." When people say that Cooper's "courage helps a lot of young lost homosexuals in the hinterlands." I wonder. I know more young kids who are currently experimenting with being vampires and space aliens (the latest subculture). Sexual identity is not their hot issue. After all they grew up with porn and are immune to all that. They are more into learning how to grow fangs and finding a "way to go home" to their real planet with a few ADD pills clutched in their hands.
Meanwhile the same old gay rumors continue to swirl around George Clooney, John Travolta, and Tom Cruise. Though the media thinks this is important I believe that most of the world simply doesn't care. At best they suspected as much but MOVED ON! Our world has become deadened to most sexual private confessions. It leaves us cold. The stories have been varied but predictable.
We have Travolta's five-star hotel masseurs fessing up to hand jobs (we also had that with Al Gore and his hotel masseuses and nobody cared about that either). We have George Clooney's serialized array of girlfriends (paid off not to speak?) and his overall uncanny resemblance to Cary Grant (who had a well kept — but only from the paying public — relationship with Randolph Scott). Lastly there is Tom Cruise jumping on and down on Oprah's couch doing his "lady doth protest too much" love proclamation to wife number 3, Katie Holmes. TMZ is foaming at the mouth over all this innuendo. But the public remains disinterested. I actually miss the days of Rock Hudson (when men were men).
I never looked at his closeted life as "dishonest" or "hiding.” In fact I admired his life as mysteriously sexy and intriguing. "Don't ask don't tell" is not so awful to me. It doesn't always mean "ashamed," “uncomfortable" or "fearful." It might mean "none of your business" and TMI (too much information). It might be about a MORE PRIVATE style of living.
Does everyone "need" to come out particularly if it ends up parading your bare ass in a thong or nipples pierced in a Gay Pride Parade marching band? And trust me, I appreciate everyone's need to let your freak flag wave free. But hasn't the whole Gay Pride parade become a bit dated? A glittered cliche? The sequins have fallen a looong time ago.
Remember we now live in a "seen it all" society. "The L Word" is now Prime Time. Nothing shocks us anymore, no matter what you may be currently sexting. What is disturbing is how currently exhausted we all are. We are fiscally and spiritually bankrupt and sick of hearing these same old stories.
There are bigger fish to fry. Rome and more is burning. Personally I am heading for my own closet. The collective "need to know" has blown me away. I crave peace and quiet and maybe some "healthy denial" might be nice. I realize I am old and simply not all that interested in much. As one friend has said about the matter: "I used to be gay, but now I am 75." Now "clearing the air" for me means blessed silence not nonstop sharing of your innermost landscape.
Recently I ran all this outtage controversy by my Mom who celebrated her 90th birthday yesterday. She has seen them come and she has seen them go. Here was her "honest" reaction: "Young men are getting killed in various parts of the Middle East, others are eating each other's faces (and feces). Who cares who you are taking Viagra for? Just do your job and do it well. And try not to kill anyone in the process." Amen ...