Tim Cook just changed the world


#1

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#2

Reading about Tim Cook, and reading his essay, reminds me of a time when a friend of mine told me about her initial coming out in a support group. One of the other group members was ecstatic, telling her it was so great. And that affirmation meant so much to her. I didn’t say anything, but I wondered, shouldn’t it have been treated as no big deal? Then I realized that I had no idea how long she’d lived in fear, how much self-loathing she’d been through, how hard it had been to find someone who’d tell her she was okay, let alone a role model. Now I’m conscious of the fact that when she visits that her marriage is legally recognized where she lives, but not where I live–at least not yet.

I’m hopeful that there will be a time when we can move on, a time when people aren’t harassed or fired because of their sexual orientation. We’re far from that now.


#3

Well, I agree that suppressing discussion while it’s still very much a “Live issue”, numerous states that still don’t have gay marriage, etc, is not a great thing, Generally speaking, isn’t this attitude the goal, ultimately?

If being gay, straight, into furries or just asexual, is viewed as irrelevant to how one does their job, especially a job like CEO, isn’t that ultimately a good thing? Why exactly should I care, in a perfect world, who Tim Cook chooses to rub his genitals against? I think it’s probably an unqualified good if he chooses to advocate for more equality for those NOT fortunate enough to receive the “meh” treatment. In any other circumstance however, SHOULD this be our business? At all? Unless Tim Cook is asking ME on a date, I have no need to know, and even then, it ends at “Sorry mate, I bat on the other side of the plate, but, best of luck tonight!”


#4

Being gay is about a lot more than where I rub my genitals. It’s about how I love, and that matters a lot to me.


#5

This right here is exactly why it matters. When I came out as transgender, I was braced for the loss of family and friends over it. Those people that showed me support and were enthusiastic were amazing, and I felt so much relief. Those that said things along the lines of “Oh, that makes sense. Why are we talking about this” I found weren’t okay with it in the long run. One of the ladies who was really into that came back several months later to tell me she didn’t agree with “the transgendering”.

Maybe that will change in the future, but right now, it’s a very politically savvy way to put off the topic, and distance yourself from it.

Now that I’ve been out for so long I don’t need as much support, but in the early days the fear was a real driving factor.


#6

Probably! But much of “identity politics” is part of the civil rights tradition, and used to protect people who are discriminated against by people who needn’t concern themselves. This is understandable, but I agree that it detracts from the larger issue of assuming rights for everybody. It can be seen as an inconsistent message to say “People should respect that I am/do X, because it shouldn’t matter to them in the first place.” The results I suppose speak for themselves, as some good has become of it. Why it bothers me personally is that I prefer a degree of fluidity which is beyond having any sort of "identity"or “politics” anyway, I think it’s a process of stereotyping oneself, and thus greatly limits people’s possibilities.

It seems easy enough to simply protect all people from being mistreated by others ideological reactions.


#7

Granted, and, I didn’t mean to be dismissive about it, And, if I gave offense on that, I do apologize.

I phrased it that way because:
A) It applies to gays and straights, and, just about anything else under the sun. As far as his job performance, or how he runs apple, neither the gender, nor the specific identity of who he chooses to Love, or, simply have meaningless sexual contact with, or, any point in between on the spectrum, should matter one whit. This would apply equally if he was involved with someone female. I don’t care if he’s out with prostitutes every night, in a stable monogamous relationship, or has some kind of very sacred polygamy of regular partners. It just dosn’t, or shouldn’t, matter, in how he runs a company.
B) It’s the part that generally squicks out the “guardians” out there. Close relationships between men, or between women, aren’t what provoke the responses, it’s the idea of mashing together of naughty bits that drives the conservative types nuts, or at least it seems that way from what I’ve observed.

Frankly, whom you choose to love, what their gender, identity, politics, whatever, shouldn’t be anyone’s business, absent some close personal connection (I care who my brother’s partner is, but, some random stranger or random CEO, not my business). It shouldn’t have to be hidden, but, it shouldn’t be required to be disclosed either.


#8

What excites me about this story is the Alabama angle.

He called Alabama out for its track record on social issues. There’s nothing special about that all by itself. That’s a national pastime. What’s special is that he said it straight to the socially right-wing governor while being inducted into the Alabama Academy of Honor, then came out as gay to great national fanfare days later. It’s not a stretch to conclude that the ceremony was why he came out.

A lot of people here have reacted with the same resentment they react with when any random person kicks Alabama, but Tim Cook’s criticism is actually a show of loyalty. Normally when an Alabamian achieves great success on a national or worldwide stage, they disavow all knowledge of Alabama, but Tim Cook owned it. He could have accepted the award and moved on, and he could have refused to show up at all, but he chose to fly over here to throw a punch on behalf of every Alabamian the Alabama establishment doesn’t represent. Solidarity, brother!


#9

It is indeed! The problem is simply that evoking the destination is often a subconscious reaction to a journey’s risks–especially the naive or privileged assumption that we’ve already made it. It’s emotionally satisfying in a way that makes it easy to avoid the hard work of hauling ass.

And that’s the liberals, libertarians, and lefties, and other social progressives. Others are happy to say these things knowing full well what they’re doing.


#10

Completely agree that we’re not “there” yet. However, we’re certainly closer than back in the, what was it, Wiki is saying '97 when Ellen came out, and it was a Big Deal ™.

What I don’t get, and think is a little dangerous to enshrine, is that we assume anyone reacting to this sort of announcement today with “Ok, Thanks. How’s the stock price today, and, what’s the Q3 projection?” is being political, or somehow disingenuous.

I’ve heard and read stories from a number of sources where people came out to their parents/loved ones, and got a “yeah? Ok. (we more or less knew) can you pass the rolls now?” And while there’s still way WAY too many stories of people having and fearing reactions on the opposite end of the spectrum, if having it be a non-issue is the goal, isn’t demonizing and condemning that response, absent some actual evidence of a desire to stifle people coming out, carry some risk to it?


#11

They have a right to not be “okay with it” as long as they don’t do you any physical harm or deny you any of your rights of citizenship. It’s reasonable for you to expect tolerance, but not affirmation.


#12

I respect anyone’s choice to open up about private issues publicly. If you don’t want to talk about something close to you then you shouldn’t be pressured by friends/family/strangers to talk about it.

But in this particular case, with Tim Cook being in the position he is in, I am thrilled he decided to pen this essay. While I am probably being optimistic, I hope this is another large nail in the coffin of homophobia.


#13

There is also a lot of room between “tolerance as required by law” and “affirmation”.
There is, for example, the Catholic position of “homosexual acts are Sin, but didn’t Jesus say, hate the sin, love the sinner?”. Or there’s the “OMG TMI I really don’t care who you’re having sex with let’s talk about something else” position. Both of these are compatible with the “tolerance as required by law” position, but they are a big improvement. I haven’t actually met the “I will respect their legal rights but they will roast in hell and they’re dead to me” position in real life.

They have a legal right to stop right at “tolerance as required by law”. But I’m not okay with them using it. They’re violating unwritten rules of society, and they will be punished for it, but of course without violating any of their legal rights. I admit that it might seem unfair to them - “we” have gone and changed the rules of society on “them”. They’ve had to get used to new thoughts. And we’re still not done changing the rules. But given how much change I’ve observed here in Austria in the last 15 years, I’m optimistic.


#14

You shouldn’t, but the very way you just phrased the subject demonstrates part of how gay people are perceived, treated and discussed differently than straight people. If I happen to mention that I’m married to a woman, most people don’t think of it as an announcement of “who I choose to rub my genitals against.” I imagine that most people don’t spend much time thinking about my genitals at all. Yet when someone like Tim Cook mentions he’s gay, lots of people immediately wonder what kinds of things his penis has been up to.


#15

Absolutely. Thus the reason many people don’t discuss intimate matters. Some day perhaps it “just won’t matter”, but if a person has been paying attention for the last few decades they may realize it is not this day.


#16

Well, we hadn’t been…


#17

But this implies a classist bias, which I think improves the case for equality on one hand, and hurts it on another. Why is it “world changing” for Cook to be proud to be gay, but not for me to express the same pride? If you buy into the idea that Cook’s perspective is more relevant because he’s a CEO of a large corporation, then you might be appealing to authority based upon economics. Economics which haven’t anything to do, in themselves, with the rights of gay people. I think this is contrary to the basic idea of “equal rights”.


#18

I don’t disagree that there is bias in the statement you quoted, or bringing up the fact that in an egalitarian society it shouldn’t matter if it is Tim Cook or you. But biases do exist, and my own naive assumption is that due precisely to the biases that come along with being the CEO of apple Tim has a chance to effect greater change than you or I.

Then again, you could actually be Tim Cook, in which case mea culpa :blush:


#19

I looked at two comment boards of two very different Austrian newspapers on the Tim Cook story. One was “Der Standard”, a left-leaning low-circulation “quality” newspaper, the other was “Die Krone”, which is read by just about everyone who never really learned to read.

The Standard forum was full of people congratulating Tim Cook about his step. And the Krone forum was full of “just move on” rhetoric.

In an attack of masochism, I kept reading. And I was actually positively surprised. I had expected much worse. The Krone is about as far from progressive elites as you can get in Austria. And yet, the worst thing I found was “stop rubbing it in our face”. Many people combined that with a statement that they support everyone’s right to be happy in their own way.

I’m not saying “mission accomplished”, but we have come far.

We have managed to go from almost everyone agreeing that gay sex should be punished by prison terms to a vague feeling of discomfort among the less-educated half of the population in less than 45 years.

That is breakneck speed. While I want that progress to continue, I can’t find it in me to take that vague feeling of remaining discomfort personally.

Calling out people’s prejudices is necessary for progress, but when done wrongly, it generates antagonism. I want people to go from “OMG TMI” to “I should work on that, I shouldn’t feel uncomfortable when two lovers are happy together”, rather than “OMG TMI will you leave me alone already!”. I’m willing to sacrifice some speed in order to get more people to come along.

Because, in the end, it’s not about how supportive the majority of the population is. It’s about the second-most-homophobic 10% slice of the population.


#20

Our local news read comments from viewers. Most of them where “who care”

Ironically, this stations weather man had his station not air the Ellen show’s episode when she came out. So to answer ‘who care’----the weather man.