When Oprah makes an announcement, it's big news in the blogosphere. But bloggers question her decision to announce that she and her best friend are just friends. Plus, bloggers in India fight back after their servers were shut down in the name of fighting terrorism. And who is blogging these days? Find out what a new study has to say.
Not That There's Anything Wrong With It
Despite the fighting in the Middle East, threat of nuclear missiles in North Korea, and sectarian violence in Iraq, Oprah has crept into the news cycle. Surely you've heard that in an effort to dispel years of rumors, the talk show queen announced in her magazine that she and best friend Gayle King are not gay.
The two friends first met in 1976 when Gayle was a production assistant at Baltimore's WJZ and Oprah was an anchor there. Ever since, they've been talking about "four times a day" and would have no problem telling the public if they were in a sexual relationship ... if they were.
"The truth is, if we were gay, we would tell you, because there's nothing wrong with being gay," says King.
But all the attention has bloggers asking, "So what?"
"This is a woman who really loves to make people happy, not because it makes her happy or because she wants ratings or she's trying to repay a debt to society. She does it out of the goodness of her heart. But we still feel we need to know if she's gay or straight," Tosin Sule blogs at The World Around Me.
Others find it a telling sign about society that Oprah felt the need to make such an announcement in the first place. "Times have changed, but judging from the recent brouhaha over Oprah and Gayle's famous friendship, we're still struggling to trust the concept of deep and platonic bonds between women. Or, for that matter, deep and platonic bonds between men," Annie Dennison writes at Smart at Love.
Nelly agrees. "Since when did any close friendship become a sexual thing? I don't think 20 years ago anyone would have doubted the relationship, but now ... we're all so bloody obsessed with sex, everything is sexual!" she writes at the Importance of being Nelly.
Thinking Girl says the issue is intertwined with gender roles. "Why is it that the questioning of one's sexuality is such a touchy topic? It goes to the heart of gender roles, that's for sure. It's a personal matter, also true. And being anything other than heterosexual in this society means having less power. Not good," she blogs.
Still, many bloggers are happy Oprah has a loyal friend in an environment where many people may be after her money. "Now, I personally don't think Oprah (or Gayle) is gay, but it wouldn't matter one bit to me if she (or they) were. Her friendship (and that's what counts!) with Gayle has lasted over the years and the huge disparity in their incomes hasn't been a problem," Joseph Ryan at Mediawingnuts writes.
India Blocking Bloggers?
Word that India is blocking some online sites and blog providers has bloggers outraged, and, well, blogging (those outside India, that is). The news was BoingBoing's top blog post, as word spread throughout the blogosphere.
Dina Mehta writes: "This is so utterly weird. Since yesterday afternoon, I haven't been able to load any Blogspot blogs — they seem to be blocked somewhere … It's a real shame if this is a directive from the Government of India. We must all raise our voices against it."
India Express reports that more than 25 percent of India's 38 million Internet users are active bloggers. And while the Indian government hasn't exactly clarified why the government ordered local Internet service providers to block access to providers, including the popular blogspot.com, many bloggers link it to the bombings in Mumbai.