Daily Archives: October 12, 2005

All Cooped Out

The Anderson Cooper cult of personality must end.

Tim Goodman wails. And believe me I sympathize. Ever since CNN’s silver-coiffed “Emo-Anchor” was Touched by Katrina his transformation from gay fox-about-town to postmodern “sob sister” has been well-night insufferable.

Well not as insufferable as Choire Sicha,, but damned close.

That may be difficult, given that he’s the Poster Boy Anchor and Future of Broadcast Journalism, so perhaps merely containing him would be a start.

True, Tim — but how do you contain a media-made “force of nature” which after all is said and done witll never attain “hurricane strength”?

This much is certain: CNN, looking to exploit the post-Katrina face of caring, personal, passionate, youthful, hip, modern and really good looking journalism, has now further marginalized Aaron Brown and nearly ruined Brown’s show, “News-Night,” by throwing Cooper into the mix

But how can one “ruin” a ruins?

But foisting him upon Brown and “NewsNight” is yet another in a long line of terrible CNN decisions. Worse, it appears that Cooper hasn’t exactly tamped down the rising tide of Anderson mania at CNN and, in the moments he’s paired with Brown, it all seems a bit me-centric.

We that’s the Way of All Flash, isn’t it. As for Brown, Coop’s arrival is something of a rescue mission for an anchor whose haplessness no less anauthority than Steven Colbert has taken note of: “I just love Aaron Brown’s folksiness,” he said. “He just loves getting lost in the metaphor of the news. He’ll say something like, ‘Much like the Spanish moss that is draping down like so many tears on the face of that chiseled granite visage we know of, New Orleans is now blackened, though in a different way than the gumbo shrimp of yesteryear.’ “

So it’s a match made in Media Heaven/Hell, no?

Last Friday was really the nadir in this experiment. Cooper — who, by the way, has his own nightly show on CNN called “Anderson Cooper 360″ — has apparently taken up permanent residence on “News-Night.” He appears to be the co-anchor. And in what was hopefully an experiment since tossed in the bin (Monday’s “NewsNight” was less gimmicky, though not by much), CNN added all kinds of cute and unnecessary elements to the “News-Night” program, significantly reducing the accuracy of the show’s title.
There was lots of standing. News producers believe standing is fresh and new. It trends young. There was lots of forced mingling between Brown and Cooper, which may have been meant to show chemistry, but instead showed Cooper’s suits are more fitted and a tad more stylish than Brown’s. (Brown, it should be noted, has at least on camera played this about as professionally as anyone could expect. He has yet to have that look that asks — with a cynically raised eye that regular viewers know Brown to possess — “Who is this interloper, and why is he on my show?”)

He’s Gloria Vanderbilt’s son, dear — and the most prime slice of gay “Husband Material” since Tom Ford.

Friday’s show had a pointless and inappropriate poll about what was the most popular story on CNN.com — sell the brand! — and a story about Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes. A story on meth labs followed that concluded with Cooper saying, “I have a number of friends, actually, who’ve started using it and their lives have been ruined.”
How very boho of you, Anderson.

“Boho”? Now really! It’s quite simple the gayest thing Coop has said since he screamed “Oh look it’s Joanna Lumley!” at Charles and Camilla’s wedding. Surely CNN is planning a special report on Crystal for Coop to host: “Tina — The Woman No Gay Man Can Resist.”

At that point in the broadcast, even people half asleep must have noticed Cooper’s most annoying trait: his relentless use of the first person. Never mind whether it’s wise to admit that your friends are meth heads. But must there be so much me in your media? This point was driven home, painfully, when Cooper introduced a segment (since banished to hell, one hopes), called “Awkward T.V. Moments,” complete with a silly television graphic. The news (loud cough) was that sometimes things go sideways when you’re on the air. Gratuitous shots of Cooper doing his job proved this. Those images of him — sell the cult, sell the cult! — were preceded by this sentence: “You may have seen me out in Times Square last night.”
Wait, what happened to the people in New Orleans?

Oh give Coop a break, Tim. Obviously he’s happened upon new cruising territory and he doesn’t want Choire Sicha to stake a claim.

Anyway, “Awkward T.V. Moments” — now there’s an apt title — concluded with Cooper showing how, um, he turned his back to the camera to fiddle with his ever- present laptop computer. “I decided at the last second that I just had to have my laptop. Smooth move, Columbo.”
Yeah, well, aside from the fact that this proves no editors are actually employed on “NewsNight,” it was a perfect moment to check out Cooper’s backside. Nice, that. Maybe the ratings spiked.

Now really, Tim! Checking out Coop’s butt? You’re beginning to look like Joan McCracken in the opening scene of Good News

If that’s a cheap shot, this one isn’t: Cooper apparently learned nothing from his incessant need to toy with the laptop. Because he does it all the time now. Opening it, shutting it, typing on it. Is he instant messaging Death Cab for Cutie? Reading Achenblog?

Which Cutie?

If you haven’t been hit with the Steinbeck-size hammer on this one yet, folks, here’s the hidden metaphor: Anderson Cooper is wired. He’s tech savvy. Which means he’s young (premature gray notwithstanding — and, by the way, that only makes him look authoritative in his handsomeness) and connected, a Wi-Fi news guy.

Nah he’s just another gay guy crusing the net at work.

This is just to say these two are from different planets, journalistically, and you can argue all night about who has more gravitas. The fact is, Cooper already has his show.

What he also has is a Book Deal !:

“The not-yet-written memoir was bought for $1 million by HarperCollins publisher Jonathan Burnham, who will be editing the book himself, Janklow said, adding that Cooper will not be working with a ghostwriter. The book will “deal with the last year of [Cooper’s] life as a journalist and human being in Sri Lanka, Africa, Iraq and Louisiana/Mississippi,” his agent said”.

In other words nothing about his childhood, nothing about the death of his brother, nothing about his relationship with his Truly Fabulous mother, nothing about Bobby Short, nothing about the scene in Chelsea, and most assuredly nothing about his addressing the NLGJA where he quipped about looking for a boyfriend. Post-Katrina Coop has a “private life” now, you know — and he doesn’t want to talk about it. Thus he will appear on this pages like Bottichelli’s “The Birth of Venus” — an awesome demi-god, borne on the rising tides of the Gulf Coast flood.

Surely this will be more entertaining than the memoir Mary Cheney is currently penning. But it’s also destined to be just as honest.