A few weeks after Entertainment Weekly published a cover story reporting on the increasing ease in which gay celebrities are coming out, 45-year old Anderson Cooper's "me too" announcement (buried in an e-mail) was a bit flat. And, unlike Chief Justice John Roberts' upholding Obamacare, it was hardly a surprise. Sometimes when very old celebrities die my reaction is, "He/she wasn't already dead?" Upon Cooper's announcement no doubt quite a few had a similar reaction, except "out" replaced "dead".
Career wise, there was little risk for him since ratings for his primetime news show on CNN have tanked (lesbian Rachel Maddow trounces the "It Boy" with her show on MSNBC) and the audience to his syndicated talk show is tiny. And it shouldn't hurt his chances if he decides to tries his hand as a game show host. Who knows, his announcement may get him a ratings blip for a few days.
Perhaps Cooper's ratings challenges are due to a lack of a clear identy among viewers, i.e., is he a hard-news reporter covering the Arab Spring or Kathy Griffin's BFF? Does he aspire to be Walter Cronkite or Graham Norton? And while "the gays", as Griffin lovingly refers to us, may find him the cutest thing, the rest of the population may require more than a giggle and a shy smile as a reason to tune in.
This story reminded me of when Lance Bass came out in 2006. He was one of the singers from N-Sync and when he came out his career was largely over, so his coming out seemed more like an attempt to stay in the public eye just a bit longer - regardless of its reaction.
So who's left who hasn't officially come out - Jodie Foster, Barry Manilow, Tom Cruise, John Travolta, Brian Boitano. As an article in Gawker pointed out shortly after the Cooper news, it's almost gotten to the point where it's more embarrassing not to be out.