Anderson Cooper’s “Ridiculist” segments are the most degrading thing a serious journalist has had to do on TV since Katie Couric was doing recipe segments on “Today” — and they’re all the stranger because Cooper, in control of his show, evidently chooses to take on the biggest, broadest targets in pop culture and deliver his hot takes. As Lindsay Lohan and former “Jersey Shore” cast member Snooki has been quiet lately, Cooper was forced this week to deliver his opinion on a foreign-exchange student who got wedged into a sculpture of a vagina.
It wasn’t that hard to type! And yet Cooper, delivering this hot bit of news, coyly smirked and chuckled, declaring he was talking about a “sculpture … that resembles a … vagina. That’s right, you heard me. I said that word.” In spite of the initial novelty of the fact of the student’s getting stuck, what exactly is so ridiculous about the word “vagina”? Cooper was careful to note that he wasn’t making fun of women’s anatomy, before going on to say, “I’m certainly no expert on the subject of [snickers] vaginas.” The anchor took great care to ensure he took the time to somewhat fakely laugh nearly every time he said the word “vagina,” except when congratulating himself on his own bravery. “That’s right, I said it out loud,” he said yet later in the segment, as though this was an achievement on par with taking Mary Landrieu to task post-Katrina.
Anderson Cooper, just about two years after leaving the closet, has become a practitioner of a certain type of gay humor, or “humor,” that hinges upon the notion that frankly discussing sexuality other than that of gay men ought to be done archly if at all. Cooper’s segment may not have intended to treat the very fact of vaginas’ existence as a joke — and, indeed, the way the poor kid got stuck is pretty funny — but his special efforts to telegraph just how terribly odd it is to say the name of a human organ on television are a bit much. Here’s something ridiculous: It is seen by many men as obscene or off-color just to say the name of a body part half the world possesses! But since that’s not about Snooki or Lohan, it’s unlikely to make it onto the segment in the weeks ahead.