Washington, D.C., is storm-ravaged and prepping for the July 4th holiday, with large swaths of the city still lacking power, so our distinguished political leaders have decided to further conserve energy by pausing the news cycle. Therefore, the story dominating blogs and Twitter, the revelation sucking up all the media oxygen in past 24 hours, is Anderson Cooper’s announcement that he is, as many have long speculated, gay.
Cooper revealed his sexual orientation to Daily Beast blogger Andrew Sullivan, whose headline, extracted from an e-mail the CNN anchor sent him (“The Fact Is, I’m Gay”) , echoes that famous 1997 Time magazine cover, featuring actress Ellen DeGeneres’s declaration “Yep, I’m Gay.” But as I noted yesterday, American mores have lurched toward the libertarian, so while the news was considered worthy of comment by a wide range of bloggers and pundits, don’t expect it to linger as an “issue” as the DeGeneres revelation did. Indeed, I was slightly more surprised that Cooper’s letter suggests that he is, in fact, religious: “In my opinion, the ability to love another person is one of God’s greatest gifts, and I thank God every day for enabling me to give and share love with the people in my life.” Perhaps this is why he chose to come out via Sullivan, a rather active, if perpetually disappointed, Catholic.
* Credit to Politico’s Patrick Gavin for tracking down Jonathan Krohn, the Kris Kross of conservatism, who four years ago, at the tender age of 13, wowed the crowd at CPAC with his prepubescent imitation of a talk radio host. His appearance prompted the always prescient Newt Gingrich to predict that Krohn was “sure to be the leader of his generation’s return to conservatism.” I wandered the halls of CPAC in 2009, and while I recall a few conversations about Krohn’s speech — who is that rather stern-looking right-wing windup doll? — he was quickly forgotten.
Well, Krohn now tells Gavin that he has matured into something of a liberal; he favors Obamacare and gay marriage, is more interested in Wittgenstein than Limbaugh, and—gasp!—claims his favorite magazine is the New Yorker. It’s a fun little story, sure, but one that could be retold in a single clause: Teenagers’ tastes change. When I was 13, I obsessively listened to heavy metal music. By 17, I was an acolyte of the effete British band the Smiths. At 20, when politics had taken over, I carried a tattered copy of Marx’s the Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Napoleon in my bag, pretending to understand dialectical materialism, and pretending it was deeply impactful on my life. And now look at me.
* In Mali, al Qaeda-affiliated Islamists are borrowing from the Taliban tradition of destroying non-Muslim religious icons with a two-day orgy of destruction in Timbuktu, smashing historic mausoleums judged to be “idolatrous and un-Islamic.” When UNESCO, the U.N. agency tasked with preserving the world’s cultural heritage sites, did what UNESCO typically does — expressing “distress and dismay” — a spokesman for the Islamist group responded, with the economy of logic one expects from half-witted barbarians, “God is unique. All of this is haram (forbidden in Islam). We are all Muslims. UNESCO is what?”
* In Venezuela, where cancer-stricken autocrat Hugo Chavez is stepping up his presidential campaign, you’ll be unsurprised to hear that the free press is again under attack. The country’s only remaining independent television network, Globovision, has been fined $2.1 million for news coverage that “encouraged illegality.” And you also might have noticed that those gullible political pilgrims who once championed “Bolivarian” Venezuela — Glover, Penn, Belafonte, Stone, et al — don’t mention Chavez much anymore. The first time the government shut down a critical media outlet, a few of his celebrity surrogates offered limp defenses of the regime. But in 2012, as Chavez weakens both physically and politically, the millionaire utopians have mostly moved on. Perhaps they’ll follow Julian Assange to Ecuador.
* Speaking of stories that have vanished, the Associated Press reports that a car bomb exploded this morning in the Iraqi city of Diwaniyah, killing at least 25 people. Local authorities blamed al Qaeda-affiliated Sunni extremists.