Bird’s Eye: It was surprising, given the inches of press that I read about Tim Cook, Steve Jobs’ replacement, that no one mentioned his orientation. That seems a really good sign, as the Observer discusses. In the UK, gay men can again donate blood, as Canada is likely to follow in a similar vein. And a fascinating study explores the evolutionary advantages of homosexuality, through kinship selection advantage.
* So Apple’s new CEO is gay. Is that worth all the chatter? The Observer
Tim Cook, the new CEO of Apple, is gay. He is therefore, on one accounting, the most powerful gay business leader in the world. AndFelix Salmon, blogging for Reuters, no less, thinks this has to be newsworthy. Cook doesn’t keep his sexuality secret. He just makes nothing of it, neither denying nor campaigning: a non-political gay, according to Salmon. So how does that fit in the mystic world of media morality?
Installing a woman as boss of Apple would clearly be instant symbolism, headlines, even triumphalism – just like seeing Obama made president of the US. No argument there. It’s obvious. But when an FT correspondent mentioned Cook’s sexuality in a single tweet he was instantly buried in criticism (of a kind that continues in the Columbia Journalism Review). Don’t ask, don’t tell, expect a barrel full of vitriol? Some papers (the Guardian for one) have reported the issue. Some have let it lie. Is achievement, out of the closet, something to celebrate? Or something business can still do without? Discuss – and don’t expect to finish anytime soon…
Gay men will soon be able to give blood after a ban on them donating, dating back to the emergence of HIV and Aids in the mid-1980s, was scrapped by ministers. The ban, which permanently prevented gay men from being donors, was lifted after a team of experts said it was no longer required to stop the spread of infection through blood.
At first glance, homosexuality presents a evolutionary quandary. Since homosexual couples cannot reproduce, how do the genes get passed on? Researchers have studied this problem for a while, and are starting to make some interesting discoveries. In the South Pacific islands of Samoa, boys who show feminine behavioral tendencies are picked at an early age to become fa’afafine, which means “in the manner of a woman.” They are brought up not as gay men or as women, but as a third, distinct social group. The fa’afafine take on the role similar to an uncle, wherein they help care of their siblings’ children. In a way, this allows their siblings—who they share genes with—to have more children, as they can better rear them with the help of the fa’afafine. This indirect method of passing on genetic material is known as kin selection.