Anderson Cooper the daytime talk show host does not look all that different from Anderson Cooper the disaster reporter. He is still boyish, still earnest, still reliably clad in a button-down that accentuates the blue of those sympathetic eyes. Yet much of the new show’s media coverage has harped on the apparent contradiction between the two Coopers: windblown Anderson in a flak jacket vs. spruced-up Anderson ministering to celebrities on his talk show couch. “Anderson Cooper offers another version of himself on talk show ‘Anderson,’” announced The Washington Post online.
A musical duet is no less susceptible to power dynamics than any other intimate collaboration between two partners. In creative terms, someone is usually on top. Even when figures of virtually equal standing join up, as Kanye West and Jay-Z did recently with their extravagantly produced and even more extravagantly hyped match-up, Watch the Throne, it’s usually clear that one—in this case, Kanye—exerted more influence, if not quite dominance, over the other.
To the surprise of no one with the slightest sense of irony, singer Amy Winehouse, who earned a spot on iPods everywhere for saying no, no, no to rehab, died last weekend of an apparent overdose. Earlier this year, two other (less famous) celebrities, alumni of Dr. Drew Pinsky’s “Celebrity Rehab,” also died unsurprisingly from presumed overdoses: Mike Starr and Jeff Conway. Starr, formerly of the band Alice in Chains, had at one point achieved six months clean—an eternity in sobriety; but, then, it’s an insidious thing, this disease.