The big story in tech last week was Tim Cook, interim CEO of Apple, becoming the permanent CEO of Apple as Steve Jobs stepped aside. So what was the big story about Cook? Comparing him to the leadership of Jobs? Analyzing his previous career? Asking what the future holds for Apple under Cook’s leadership?
Nah, what’s really important is whether or not they should call him “Apple’s totally gay CEO,” because then it would be OK to make fruit and sex toy jokes in headlines or something, because ha-ha, he’s gay. And, of course, talk about it extensively and make a huge deal out of it by talking about whether or not they should talk about it extensively and make a huge deal out of it.
Exhibit A: Felix Salmon’s column on Reuters. A fun game: take a shot every time Salmon essentially admits that Tim Cook’s personal life means absolutely nothing to the success of Apple as a company and there’s no real reason to report on it…and then he keeps doing it anyway.
Cook’s personal life was under the microscope well before this — it all got started because of a detailed Gawker profile that actually barely mentions his sexuality. But it seems a little bizarre that Cook’s sexuality is getting so much focus when, realistically, it’s just not going to come up in Apple coverage turned out by the very publications making a big stink about it. Cook’s sexuality, on one level, is important, but it’s not like Ars Technica or CNET or even us are going to report on new Apple products with “Apple CEO Tim Cook, who is strictly DC, ladies…” or “CEO Tim Cook, who loves the dong, stated at the quarterly meeting that…” It’s not like every Apple keynote had a bit about Steve Jobs being adopted or that time Phil Schiller killed a man in a bar fight. It wasn’t relevant then, and it’s not going to suddenly become relevant.
Can Cook help professional gays be more open at work? Sure, every openly gay executive helps. Is it going to come up anyway? Definitely. We’re sure Fox News is readying stories about how the iPad will make your children gay as we speak. But it seems like we could at least be honest about how important it is to tech: namely, not a damn bit.