The New York Times Really, Really Wants to Out Tim Cook

It's silly, because the world has known Apple's chief executive is gay for years now, but the New York Times is practically gnawing its own arm off in the process of writing about Tim Cook's personal life. They clearly want to mention the sexuality of capitalism's most powerful man—so why won't they?

The profile—"Tim Cook, Making Apple His Own"—is a sort of strange one. It alternates between business school bromides (Apple needs to find its way after Steve Jobs!) and deeply personal, a-bit-too-perfect anecdotes from Cook's past. The childhood run-in with the KKK that kicks off the profile seems plucked from a Tim Cook college admissions essay, perhaps heavily edited by Jony Ive.

Throughout, the Times tip toes right next to Tim Cook's sexuality. The piece mentions Cook's "support of proposed federal legislation protecting gay, lesbian and transgender workers," and "taking to Twitter and other public venues to express support for environmentalism and gay rights." Cook's "Twitter feed is a mash-up of Apple hoopla and cheerful promotion of human rights and environmentalism." Values of "human rights and dignity" are what steer Apple's Tim Cook, the Times suggests, almost as much as thin expensive things made of glass. And of course, Cook is described as "intensely private," which is right up there with "longtime bachelor" in the regressive euphemism hall of fame. When the profile comes to a 2013 speech by Cook that made a clear reference to his personal discrimination as a gay man, the Times nearly gives itself a concussion, so painfully does it contort itself:

"Apple declined to say what he meant by the reference to discrimination he experienced"

Perhaps because it's a given what he meant, and nothing further needs to be said.

Maybe the Times doesn't care about who Tim Cook sleeps with—although a profile of a man with an apparently deep interest in human rights and sexual equality should probably acknowledge it. Even so. Care, or don't care, say it or say nothing—but pulling the deeply private bachelor bullshit is insulting to Tim Cook, and anyone else who's been paying attention.