What’s With That: Cooper’s Outing, TomKat Split, BronyCon

What’s with the News: Anderson Cooper has officially outed himself by giving Andrew Sullivan of the Daily Beast permission to publish an email the news anchor sent Sullivan regarding an Entertainment Weekly piece entitled, "The New Art of Coming Out in Hollywood".

“The fact is, I’m gay, always have been, always will be, and I couldn’t be any more happy, comfortable with myself, and proud,” Cooper said in his response.

While Cooper’s sexuality has been widely presumed and accepted for years, he has in the past chosen to keep his personal life private, and these are his first public, definitive statements on the issue.

What’s with Us: The Sacramento Press asked Bill Snyder, current Communications Coordinator and former President of the Sacramento Gay and Lesbian Center to share his thoughts.

“More people have come out this year than the last several years combined. A lot of the famous people coming out get a nice bounce out of it, and their approval ratings go up after their announcements,” he said.

Cooper’s story is such a hot item partly because of his place at the forefront of media, but also, according to Snyder, “being LGBT is no longer seen as being evil, sinful, or deviant by most people. Today most people see those coming out as being brave after suffering long enough. Also a lot of people think, for example, ‘He is just like my nephew who showed so much courage coming out to our family’.”

Snyder says more people, LGBT or not, have personal ties to the movement and therefore feel they can relate to Cooper, which leads to the outpouring of support he’s received not just from Hollywood and New York but the vast land between.

Kudos, Mr. Cooper. Now we ought to let you get back to what you do best – the news.

What’s with the News: People Magazine shocked celeb gossip junkies worldwide last Friday when they announced the now inescapable story of TomKat’s split. We’ve since been told that Katie Holmes is filing for sole custody of the couple’s daughter Suri, and that Tom Cruise was blindsided when Holmes filed. What happened to sweet Joey Potter, and that crazy in-love, couch-jumping maniac the world had grown so obsessed with?

What’s with Us: Carolyn Rich Curtis, Ph.D is the founder and Executive Director of the Relationship Skills Center in Sacramento, which provides marriage education programs to couples in the Greater Sacramento Region. 

"We are all facinated by gossip, and relationships in particular are incredibly facinating," she said during a phone interview with the Sacramento Press.

But why the split?

According to Curtis, the initial stages of a relationship are aided by the same neurotransmitters associated with obsessive-compulsive disorders.  The impacts of these neurotransmitters wane around 18 months and are replaced with hormones (oxytocin for women and vasopressin for men) that breed feelings of attachment.  These hormones fuel us for roughly four years.

"I think it’s interesting that they are breaking up at that five-year mark," Curtis continued. "The hormones that previously sustained the relationship have dissipated, and now you have to do the hard work."

"Twenty-five percent of married couples and fifty percent of cohabitating couples split at that five-year mark.  It’s the point where you really need to work hard to make the relationship work.  It takes huge emotional strength when you’re not feeling attached," she said.

See?  Celebrities are just like you and I!

What’s With the News: Dave Collins of Associated Press got into the thick of it when he covered BronyCon 2012 in Secaucus, NJ this past Sunday. BronyCon is for bros who love ponies – My Little Pony by Hasbro in particular. What was once a handful of bronies in an NYC meeting room has exploded into a nationwide movement of men proud to dress up, dance, and sing the praises of a brony lifestyle.

What’s With Us: The bronies feel themselves a misunderstood lot, seen as creepy manchildren instead of young men in support of a movement for friendship and unicorn hats. UC-Davis Professor Emeritus and author of From Panthers to Promise Keepers: Rethinking the Men’s Movement Judith Newton weighed in.

“Men in their twenties have fathers who lived through an era when men’s movements and a more sensitive, more fully human sent of masculine ideals were in the air and in the media. These new masculine ideals embraced qualities that were associated with women: crying, expressing love to other men, being vulnerable, showing more empathy, being playful.”

Newton also cited the current job market and financial climate.

“The current economic crisis has hit young adults especially hard. The innocence, protection, playfulness, and freedom from worry associated with childhood, especially as idealized here, must seem attractive,” she said. “It’s much harder to have a family and be middle-class than before. So there’s a very long adolescence for men. Maybe childhood is being extended here too.”

Well, no harm no foul, right?  Play on, brony.


Each week "What’s With That" will find local experts from the Sacramento area to weigh in on national and international news stories.  Stumble across an interesting item?  Wondering, "what’s WITH that?"  Email whatswiththat.sacramentopress@gmail.com with your ideas!

Conversation Express your views, debate, and be heard with those in your area closest to the issue. RSS Feed

July 5, 2012 | 2:54 PM

It’s interesting that after AC’s initial outing, there’s been very little press coverage of it. It’s a non-issue, as well it should be. I don’t see him as a role model or a non-role model. He’s going to keep covering stories just like he has and the world keeps on spinnin’.

I wish the whole TomKat thing was a non-issue because I’m really tired of seeing three or four stories in a row about it. Seriously – I don’t care. Not at all. And I can’t see why anyone else would care about whether Suri goes to Sea or not.

July 5, 2012 | 3:19 PM

I completely agree with you Heath. I can’t help but think about the media storm that happened when Ellen first came out.

While there’s still a lot of room for improvement I think the lack of coverage says a lot about how far we’ve come as a society.

I applaud Anderson for the way in which he addressed this.

July 5, 2012 | 6:27 PM

AC’s timing is interesting – he has spun it well but he also waited until he was at the top of his trade. It might have affected him quite differently if he was a young up and coming reporter.

The “TomKat” split is more interesting than just any old generic celebrity divorce because of how central the subject of Scientology will be if it gets ugly. If she makes a claim of attempting to rescue her daughter from cult-like child abuse, as many descriptions from ex-members would attest to, it will become incendiary. There’s far more to this story than two rich parents and their young daughter.

July 6, 2012 | 12:25 AM

I look forward to more “What’s With That?” articles…great addition to SacPress.

July 6, 2012 | 1:10 PM

Thanks Sherrie! I encourage you to send in your ideas for future columns!

Article Author
July 6, 2012 | 1:09 PM

Casey, that’s exactly what came to mind when I was working on this – I remember when Ellen came out and the massive media storm around it. I feel like the lack of such coverage shows the progress we’ve made in the way of LGBT rights over the years. There’s still a long way to go, but I think the fact that it’s not as sensational a story reflects positively on the movement and society in general. If he had come out back then, his career might have suffered a blow that it simply won’t now.

Article Author
July 7, 2012 | 10:06 AM

I agree with Sherrie. Great addition to the SacPress by such a talented writer.

July 9, 2012 | 11:33 AM

Great column Allison! I’m looking forward to reading more on a regular basis. The Sacramento Press is really moving forward. It’s a great place to have your voice heard!

July 10, 2012 | 10:37 AM

Great column concept! Thanks for putting a twist on the news that makes it more informative and gives a local perspective.

May I suggest, “just like you and me” not “just like you and I”. “just as you and I are” would also work.

July 10, 2012 | 5:45 PM

Valid point, Mr. Parrott!

Article Author

Leave a Reply