Do you recall the Great Keening of September 24, as if a million Claymates cried out at once, and then were silenced? That was the dark day that American Idol alum Clay Aiken broke the devastating news that he was, in fact, a "gay," sending his dumbstruck fans into a tailspin (as NClayolina memorably put it, "I will never be able to listen to him sing, 'O Holy Night,' knowing he desires unholy nights"). Now, as the tears on so many Garfield pillowcases begin to dry, Aiken has finally blogged to his fans about the revelation, and instead of self-flagellating, he has one polite message for the Claymates: "Deal with it."

You'd think with all of the important events going on in the world, there would be plenty to fill up the pages of America's newspapers, websites and blogs without the need for information on the private lives of the country's singers and entertainers. But, alas, thats never the case. In fact for the last five years, I've found what seems to have been an inordinate amount of interest (not from the public, but from the media) in my own personal life. The questions never seemed to stop. ...So, in the hopes of being able to sing and act (and dance poorly) and do what I love to do for a living while raising my son in a hopefully more private and accepting environment, I chose to go ahead and confront things head on. Yes, I would have preferred to separate my personal life from my professional life. I would have been just as happy to go on without discussing my orientation. But, it seems like that was not an option. Make no mistake, its not because I am ashamed. No, not for a minute. I haven't always been as comfortable as I am now, but I am without a doubt, proud of who I am and make no apologies for it. ...There are plenty of you who have anticipated this blog in hopes that I would "set the record straight" or "admit to lying for five years and apologize for it". For that small group of people, I am afraid I will have to disappoint you. My decisions over the past five years have been made with lots of deliberation and at times even heartache. Always with concern for folks who might feel mislead. Don't doubt that. But they have also been made as an attempt, not to hide my true self, but instead to allow myself the same liberties and rights that every single gay man and woman in the world should have... the right to determine for myself when I was ready to discuss my personal life. In as much as that, at times, was interpreted as misrepresentation, I feel badly. But I reserved that right for myself and I can't say I regret it.

We have to admit that before the recent revelations, we'd thought of Clay Aiken mostly as a closeted song torturer. Now, though, he has conducted his coming-out press tour with grace and good humor, and we're forced to reevaluate our take on Aiken: he is polite, pragmatic, just a little bit sassy, and a terrible, terrible singer of bad music. Movin' on up, Clay! [Photo Credit: AP]