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    Trust me when I say I know the pathway to your heart

    The story’s a good week old, but considering what old news it is anyway, I don’t feel all that dumb linking to it now. R.E.M. has a new album out soon, and the hype-o-rator has been on full-blast for weeks. Who knows? Maybe it really is the band’s best album in over a decade, and old fans should be getting all spazzy with anticipation. (Personally, I dropped away after Automatic for the People , which to me is about as melodious and ear-pleasing as the reaction of a cat when you throw a bucket of ice water over it. I’m clearly in the minority on that one, though.)

    Anyway, there’s a usual flurry of interviews and photo shoots and magazine covers. GayNews reports that Michael Stipe has finally just cut the crap and identified himself as gay:

    This week he told Spin magazine, “I recognize that to have public figures be very open about their sexuality helps some kid somewhere out there.”

    Although Stipe has never felt the need to discuss his sexuality before, he informed the magazine that he now felt that it was important to be open and honest in order to provide understanding and hope for the younger generation.

    “It was super complicated for me in the ’80s. I was totally open with the band and my family and my friends and certainly the people I was sleeping with. I thought it was pretty obvious.”

    Stipe stated that in the past he didn’t see that being out could be so important for others. “I didn’t always see that. But I see now, of course that’s the case, of course that’s needed.”

    Considering how fervently Stipe embraced everything else on the leftist checklist, it’s kind of funny that he didn’t see coming out of the closet, of all things, as being important. But I see no reason not to take him at his word. He did, after all, make a point of being uncategorizable and enigmatic about his private life–and why not?–and he’s been open about being bisexual for years. If he’s decided he is, in fact, gay, then sure, no reason he shouldn’t be up-front about it with the public if he likes.

    I’m not sure the announcement will have the effect of “helping some kid out there,” though. Gay kids already know that it’s possible to be an open homosexual if, like Stipe, you’re constantly going to be pushing what a “transgressive” weirdo you are. Especially if you’ve also already made a pile and aren’t risking much in the way of money and career trajectory. I’m not faulting Stipe for waiting until he was ready to reveal this or that about himself; I’m only saying that it’s a bit late to be all public-spirited about it in the way he seems to want to be.

    BTW, before anyone tries to call me on it: Yes, the joke of the post title is that “Superman” was neither written by R.E.M. nor sung by Michael Stipe.

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