On Brokeback Mountain

I’ve been avoiding writing about this movie for a while, mostly because all the right-wing op/eds I read about it were just so stupid that it would have been a waste of all of our time to take a look at them. They all tend to fall back on the basic themes of propaganda and the unravelling of morality, with a healthy dose of homophobia tossed in (usually in the form of, “I don’t want to see two cowboys kissing!”). I finally found one today that’s actually literate, and even though it falls back on all these same ideas, it presents them in a better way than most.

I saw Brokeback Mountain and loved it. I thought it was brilliant. I read the story a few years back, and re-read it before I saw the movie. Visually, it’s stunning. The acting is incredible. And the story is heartbreaking. When the film ended, I sat in silent shock for a few minutes, despite having known the conclusion going in — and minutes after it was over, I finally burst into tears. It’s an unbelievable film, and go see it if you haven’t already.

Now, onto the editorial. Warning: Spoiler is included.

“Brokeback Mountain,” the controversial “gay cowboy” film that has garnered seven Golden Globe nominations and breathless media reviews – and has now emerged as a front-runner for the Oscars – is a brilliant propaganda film, reportedly causing viewers to change the way they feel about homosexual relationships and same-sex marriage.

And how do the movie-makers pull off such a dazzling feat? Simple. They do it by raping the “Marlboro Man,” that revered American symbol of rugged individualism and masculinity.

Talk about propaganda. Note the word choice here: “raping” the Marlboro man. Here, we see the connection that the right wing makes between gay men and women. Gay men are problematic because they’re woman-like, and women are problematic because they’re women. Homosexuality in and of itself isn’t really the issue. The problem is with men choosing to be, in this view, “feminized.” I’ve long believed that homosexuality wouldn’t be an issue if we lived in a sexually egalitarian society — if men and women have equal rights, equal value and equal standing in society, why would it be better for a man to be with a woman and a woman to be with a man? This piece confirms the homophobic notion that queerness is bad because it makes men less “manly” and women less “womanly.” If you’ve seen Brokeback Mountain, you know that there’s nothing stereotypically feminine about Jack or Ennis. But they’re feminized — their masculinity is taken away — simply by virtue of being atracted to another man. And its this relinquishment of proper gender roles that so disturbs our author.

Yes, the talents of Hollywood’s finest are brought together in a successful attempt at making us experience Ennis’s suffering, supposedly inflicted by a homophobic society. Heath Ledger’s performance is brilliant and devastating. We do indeed leave the theater feeling Ennis’s pain. Mission accomplished.

Lost in all of this, however, are towering, life-and-death realities concerning sex and morality and the sanctity of marriage and the preciousness of children and the direction of our civilization itself. So please, you moviemakers, how about easing off that tight camera shot of Ennis’s suffering and doing a slow pan over the massive wreckage all around him? What about the years of silent anguish and loneliness Alma stoically endures for the sake of keeping her family together, or the terrible betrayal, suffering and tears of the children, bereft of a father? None of this merits more than a brief acknowledgment in “Brokeback Mountain.”

The author is right: Ennis and Jack’s situation does leave an incredible path of destruction. Despite being in love with eachother, Jack and Ennis marry women and have children. They create families, and those families (particularly Ennis’s) end up devastated. The movie makes that clear, and it’s tragic.

So what is our author’s answer? The erosion of Judeo-Christian values caused this mess. See, in his perfect world, Ennis and Jack would have stayed married to their wives (Ennis’s wife divorced him; Jack’s stayed married, but distant) and repressed their actual sexuality. There’s a part in the short story that wasn’t as explicit in the movie, where it details Ennis and his wife having sex, and makes clear that Ennis is only sexually aroused when he has anal sex with her and doesn’t look at her — in essence, pretending that she’s a man. It makes her feel terrible, and she resents him. Is that an ideal marriage? Is it good for anyone that these two men choked down their actual feelings and simply powered through?

Of course not. The better answer would be, “If we lived in a more accepting and open society, these two men could have been together openly and honestly from the get-go, and they would have never put their wives and children through all of this.” They could have been together. Their wives could have married men who were sexually interesting and in love with them. Their children could have been born to fathers who weren’t resentful of their situation. And everyone would have been better off.

But the author here ignores that, chosing instead to assert that these men should have done what gays and lesbians have done for centuries — repress it, hide it, stifle it and push through a life that makes you miserable. Nevermind that that’s exactly what Jack and Ennis did do, with devastating consequences — the author simply posits that they should have done it better.

Film is, by its very nature, highly propagandistic. That is, when you read a book, if you detect you’re being lied to or manipulated, you can always stop reading, close the book momentarily and say, “Wait just a minute, there’s something wrong here!” You can’t do that in a film: You’re bombarded with sound and images, all expertly crafted to give you selected information and to stimulate certain feelings, and you can’t stop the barrage, not in a theater anyway. The visuals and sound and music – and along with them, the underlying agenda of the filmmakers – pursue you relentlessly, overwhelming your emotions and senses.

Um… what? You can close a book as easily as you can walk out of a movie theater or turn off the TV.

Do we understand that Hollywood could easily produce a similar movie to “Brokeback Mountain,” only this time glorifying an incest relationship, or even an adult-child sexual relationship? Like “Brokeback,” it too would serve to desensitize us to the immoral and destructive reality of what we’re seeing, while fervently coaxing us into embracing that which we once rightly shunned.

But this guy saw Brokeback Mountain, and he doesn’t seem to have been fervently coaxed into believing the evil lie that gay men are human beings who sometimes fall in love. Movies have been made about incest and adult-child relationships. Books have been written about them for centuries. They haven’t caused the decline of civilization.

And nevermind his idea that homosexuality should be “rightly shunned.” So many of the people arguing against same-sex marriage and equal rights for gays and lesbians assert that it’s not about homophobia or trying to push gays back in the closet, it’s about… something else (I’m not sure they’ve ever figured out what that is). So at least this guy is straightforward: It’s about homo-hating, pure and simple.

All the filmmakers would need to do is skillfully make viewers experience the actors’ powerful emotions of loneliness and emptiness – juxtaposed with feelings of joy and fulfillment when the two “lovers” are together – to bring us to a new level of “understanding” for any forbidden “love.” Alongside this, of course, they would necessarily portray those opposed to this unorthodox “love” as Nazis or thugs. Thus, many of us would let go of our “old-fashioned” biblical ideas of morality in light of what seems like the more imminent and undeniable reality of human love in all its diverse forms.

Now this makes me wonder if he’s actually seen the movie. If he has, it means that he’s banking on the idea that his reader’s haven’t — because if they have, they’re reading this and going, What? There aren’t any Nazis in Brokeback Mountain (at least not in my memory, but perhaps I was homo-brainwashed into forgetting them). Everyone in the movie is opposed to this unorthodox love, and there aren’t any “thugs” portrayed. Thugs do something bad at the end, but you don’t see them as characters. The characters are narrow: It’s Jack, Ennis, and their families. Jack’s parents (his father in particular) disapprove deeply of the relationship. But he’s hardly a thug or a Nazi. Quite the opposite: All the characters, despite their disapproval, are human, and are portrayed as complex and multi-dimensional. Including Jack and Ennis, who are more complicated than abused victims.

OK, I’ll bite. Let’s talk about love. The critics call “Brokeback Mountain” a “pure” and “magnificent” love story. Do we really want to call such an obsession – especially one that destroys marriages and is based on constant lies, deceit and neglect of one’s children – “love”?

Well, it can still be love. Think of many of the major love stories of our time — a lot of them involve destroyed marriages, lies, deceit and neglect. Read some Shakespeare, or pick up a crappy romance novel. It might have a whole lot of negative consequences, and it’s certainly valid to criticize actions that lead to these consequences, but that doesn’t make it “not love.”

And again, he misses the point that if society were different, there wouldn’t have to be the lies, deceit and neglect.

What if I were a heroin addict and told you I loved my drug dealer? What if I told you he always makes me feel good, and that I have a hard time living without him, and that I think about him all the time with warm feelings of anticipation and inner completion? And that whenever we get together, it’s the only time I feel truly happy and at peace with myself?

Oh, you don’t approve of my “love”? You dare to criticize it, telling me my relationship with my drug dealer is not real love, but just an unhealthy addiction? What if I respond to you by saying, “Oh shut up, you hater. How dare you impose your sick, narrow-minded, oppressive values on me? Who are you, you pinch-faced, moralistic hypocrite, to define for me what real love is?”

Well, no. But we wouldn’t advocate for a law preventing you from marrying her.

As I said at the outset, Hollywood has now raped the Marlboro Man. It has taken a revered symbol of America – the cowboy – with all the powerful emotions and associations that are rooted deep down in the pioneering American soul, and grafted onto it a self-destructive lifestyle it wants to force down Americans’ throats. The result is a brazen propaganda vehicle designed to replace the reservations most Americans still have toward homosexuality with powerful feelings of sympathy, guilt over past “homophobia” – and ultimately the complete and utter acceptance of homosexuality as equivalent in every way to heterosexuality.

Except, you know, it wasn’t “Hollywood” who wrote this story. It was Annie Proulx. So Annie Proulx raped the Marlboro man, apparently, by suggesting that some men are gay. And I’m not sure how “Hollywood” wants a self-destructive lifestyle forced down peoples’ throats. Hollywood doesn’t want anything; it doesn’t have emotions or needs. Gays and lesbians aren’t trying to force homosexuality on anyone, either. When was the last time you saw a conference sponsored by an LGBT group with the explicit purpose of convincing heterosexuals that their lifestyle was “wrong” and they could be turned gay, because look, these people used to be straight and now they’re gay and you can do it too? Who’s forcing what down who’s throat?

And then let’s take that last sentence, and pretend that it’s 1955. “The result is a brazen propaganda vehicle designed to replace the reservations most Americans still have toward desegregation with powerful feelings of sympathy, guilt over past “racism” – and ultimately the complete and utter acceptance of blacks as equivalent in every way to whites.”

See the problem?

If and when that day comes, America will have totally abandoned its core biblical principles – as well as the Author of those principles. The radical secularists will have gotten their wish, and this nation – like the traditional cowboy characters corrupted in “Brokeback Mountain” – will have stumbled down a sad, self-destructive and ultimately disastrous road.

Luckily, we aren’t a theocracy, and so we can abandon Biblical principles all we want, because our country is run according to a set of other ideals, enshrined in the Constitution. Values and morals aren’t created by one guy writing a list of them in a holy book, and generations of other guys interpreting that book to suit their personal and political aims. Religion and the Bible have been used to justify a staggering aray of injustices. That doesn’t make them bad, and the same thing could certainly be said about the Constitution. But it does mean that they’re imperfect, and that there’s a danger in using them to justify abuse and discrimination.

Now go see the movie.

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34 comments for “On Brokeback Mountain

  1. February 28, 2006 at 12:53 pm

    Jill – excellent post. Your is one of the best responses to conservative media backlash against “Brokeback Mountain” I’ve read so far.

  2. February 28, 2006 at 1:04 pm

    You can choose not to go see a movie which everyone well knows is about gay cowboys if you’re afraid that it’s going to offend your sensibilities and make you feel bad about your “homophobia” which for some reason is in quotation marks. Is he saying it doesn’t exist? Or just that thinking fags are disgusting and should be shunned, ignored and beaten is a fair and natural thing and shouldn’t be criticised?

  3. February 28, 2006 at 1:09 pm

    Whew. You’re right; that piece almost makes enough sense — as in, words are strung together more or less readably — to answer. It doesn’t make much sense, as you say, when those words are actually expected to mean something besides some weird code.

    The funniest part was right up top. It’s evident that the author doesn’t know the difference between sex and rape, even figuratively — or maybe it’s just that any sex he disapproves of is “rape”? And sex, of course, is Duty. Get in there and grind out those babies! Hell, and that’s just for the men involved.

    Speaking of “self-destructive lifestyles”: You do know what happened to the original Marlboro Man, don’t you? Funny how that one slips right on by.

    The Rape of the Marlboro Man. Holy Jeebus, what next? The forcible conversion of Colonel Sanders to socialism? Ronald McDonald in a Quaker re-education camp?

  4. February 28, 2006 at 1:11 pm

    It’s going to make 10-20 times its production costs and win several Oscars… so who the fuck cares what World Nut Daily has to say at this point? Actually, I think that’d be true if it was critically panned and a financial sinkhole. We are talking about WND, after all.

  5. Anne
    February 28, 2006 at 1:12 pm

    Well said, Jill.

  6. nerdlet
    February 28, 2006 at 1:12 pm

    …self-destructive lifestyle it wants to force down Americans’ throats.

    Why do so many homophobic guys really, really, really love the idea that things are being shoved down their throats?

    And why is he fixated on the Marlboro Man? C’mon – how many of America’s rugged media images of masculinity shun the company of women or live lives where women exist only as victims and fucktoys? Cowboys, private eyes, cops, firemen, Marines, superheroes in tight costumes – in movies, these are still almost-exclusively male environments these guys exist in, with the occasional fucktoy (or, more recently, one token semi-tough woman) tossed in half-heartedly, but still, mostly all men.

    Sounds pretty gay to me.

  7. Pam
    February 28, 2006 at 1:18 pm

    Excellent post, Jill. The Marlboro Straw Man rides again.

  8. February 28, 2006 at 1:28 pm

    Ron, the reason it’s rape is that a Real Man would never consent to sex with another man.

    Wait, these guys don’t know from consent. Rape means “something that’s bad and there’s sex in,” just like Brokeback Mountain

  9. three martini breakfast
    February 28, 2006 at 1:28 pm

    Excellent post. I also don’t understand this “argument” that the movie focuses totally on Ennis and Jack’s suffering to the exclusion of their families’ pain. I thought the movie had a lot to say about their families, and I agree completely that the damage to the families is shown in order to make the point that in an accepting society it wouldn’t have had to be that way. I think it’s simplistic (and again suggests that he didn’t watch the movie) to claim that the movie is only concerned with Jack and Ennis.

  10. February 28, 2006 at 1:50 pm

    ditto praise for Jill, and I agree with Three above that yes, the film does show all the pain caused to the families (more Ennis’ with the scenes with his daughter). I’ll give the wingnuts a little bit of leeway what with their lack of lingo, and explain that internalized homophobia turned Ennis into the read thug of the movie. He caused most of the pain – including his own. This is new for lots of Americans.

    The film brings the pain that homophobia causes to life – and to them. It’s far more effective than all the yelling and demanding that healthy gays do (although it would be nice for the man to give us civil rights just because we asked).

    In a way, the film represents what the exgay movement would actually create – lots of repressed, miserable homos and loveless families – so of course the fundies have trouble arguing against it. That’d explain the twisting of the facts – and the gratuitous misuse of “rape” Besides, it’s very, very safe to assume that lots of “real” cowboys had gay sex all the time. It’s very common in all-male communities regardless of how homophobia white-washes stupid cultural icons like the marboro man…

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  12. HouseofMayhem
    February 28, 2006 at 2:41 pm

    **It has taken a revered symbol of America – the cowboy…**

    Think about that symbol for a minute. What is the reality?

    Back in the wild west days, cowboys were more often than not illiterate, scornful of higher emotion, at home with rotgut whiskey and prostitutes, proud of table manners that would shame a hog, wary and afraid of things they don’t understand.

    Yep, sounds like redneck America to me.

  13. February 28, 2006 at 2:52 pm

    The author is angry because he experienced sympathy. All that stuff about how you can close a book but a movie overwhelms you; what he’s saying between the lines is, he too felt sympathy for Jack and Ennis. He too wished they could be together. So much so that he was furious, upon leaving the theater, that his “values” could so easily be compromised.

    And the destruction of the families was hardly noticed by the movie? Then explain Michelle William’s Oscar nomination. Geez Pete.

  14. Tex
    February 28, 2006 at 3:00 pm

    This is madness. Good catch, Jill.

    Raping the Marlboro Man?
    Two words:
    Midnight Cowboy

  15. February 28, 2006 at 3:03 pm

    perhaps I was homo-brainwashed into forgetting them

    Best line ever!

    I’ve seen Brokeback twice. Over the weekend I was listening to NPR and someone talking about the nominees for best original score, and when the guitar part from Brokeback started playing, it stirred in me such a powerful emotion that I was thoroughly unprepared for.

    Related note – I saw Brokeback Mountain the second time in Los Angeles, with my brother, his wife, my parents, my cousin Barry, and his boyfriend of 20 years, Skip. About a month later Skip died of pneumonia, made worse by a recent bout with lymphoma and living with AIDS for 15 years. Brokeback Mountain was the last film he saw before dying, and I’ve got to say, you couldn’t pick a better film to be your last if you tried.

  16. February 28, 2006 at 3:11 pm

    The author is angry because he experienced sympathy.

    Sympathy is teh gay!

  17. February 28, 2006 at 3:21 pm

    Let’s also think about how most cowboys in the old west were men of color, and how that reality has been literally whitewashed and turned into an ideal of stoicism and misogyny.

    Also, Jill, you’re right-on that “Gay men are problematic because they’re woman-like, and women are problematic because they’re women.” This is a deep historical prejudice. If you look a little more closely at ancient Greek acceptance of man/man love, you’ll see that it’s really more about man/boy love: the older man was the penetrator and the younger man was the penetratee.

    Man/man relationships outside of this structure were shunned; boys who grew up to be men who liked to be penetrated were beneath contempt because they were seen as choosing to take a woman’s role in sex. As an adult. (I guess it was fine if they took that role as children or adolescents, but not as men.)

    Hence this cultural obsession with gay men and anal sex; the crazy idea that only gay men have anal sex and they only like to be penetrated. And hence the real crime of a gay man is that he is perceived to be a woman. The horror!

  18. trishka
    February 28, 2006 at 3:35 pm

    there is one point that i’d like to add about the whole “raping of the marlboro man” myth that tends to get glossed over in the analysis of the film.

    there’s a lot of attention paid to the homosexual love angle of the film, which is argubly very important. but there’s another way that the movie, and annie proulx’s short story before it destroys the “marlboro man” myth. and that is in the way it depicts the way life *really* is for “cowboys” in the west.

    it’s a life of very hard work, grinding poverty, and limited opportunities. it’s a life that involves a disproportionate level of alcholism and domestic violence, which is very much tied to the above.

    and this is for the hetero “cowboy”; the homophobia is just one more plank in the confined box that constricts these people’s lives. and i put “cowboy” in quotes because it’s really a meaningless word, for all intents and purposes. the guys we’re talking about are like ennis — they work some as ranch hands, some on highway crews, construction crews (if the local economy supports building, which it usually doesn’t) or as truckers or day laborers or, like jack, take their chances with being crippled in the rodeo ring. just to make enough money to feed their families, and even then it usually isn’t enough.

    it’s a tough life; not pretty, not sexy, not at all the revered image that so many americans want to believe in.

  19. February 28, 2006 at 3:46 pm

    Heavens, these folks were happy to embrace the propagandistic qualities of film when Mel Gibson turned the story of Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection into a sadomasochistic gore fest.

    Well done, Jill.

  20. February 28, 2006 at 3:56 pm

    uh yeah, it’s only propaganda if you disagree with it. And, not as if there’s any merit to the claim, but film is far from the most apt propaganda medium. That I’d give to television – if only for the phisiological effects it has on the human body that have been demonstrated to induce a state of hypnosis that eases the viewer’s defense against influence. Oh, and the massive amount of TV average Americans consume.

  21. Jody Tresidder
    February 28, 2006 at 4:03 pm

    Film is, by its very nature, highly propagandistic. That is, when you read a book, if you detect you’re being lied to or manipulated, you can always stop reading, close the book momentarily and say, “Wait just a minute, there’s something wrong here!” You can’t do that in a film: You’re bombarded with sound and images, all expertly crafted to give you selected information and to stimulate certain feelings, and you can’t stop the barrage, not in a theater anyway.”

    Spot the author’s desperation here!

    It’s not “film” in and of itself which is ever mysteriously “highly propagandistic” – in his horrible expression. What he means, in this case, is that “great art is highly propagandistic”.

    But he can’t say that, can he?

    Because admitting anything of the sort leaves him with a hell of a problem about universal truths and love and all the other transcending and persuasive elements of great art which are unmistakably present in BBM.

    Instead, he’s so anxious to prove that it’s the medium – not the (surely!) disgusting story and message – that has managed to move him, he’s forced into making crazy claims about the hypnotizing, black magic power of cinema.

    He’s got to blame those “certain stimulated feelings” on something outside of himself!

    As Jill indicates, walking out of movies – or suffering through ones that have been wildly over praised and are not to your taste – is a pretty standard reasonable consumer reaction to “stopping the barrage”.

    Is it possible that author doesn’t actually get out to the cinema much?

    (The review also just keeps confirming what I most love about the “secret weapon” of BBM. It puts intelligent homophobes into an awful pickle trying to explain why it’s terrible!)

  22. Hestia
    February 28, 2006 at 4:53 pm

    The author is angry because he experienced sympathy. All that stuff about how you can close a book but a movie overwhelms you; what he’s saying between the lines is, he too felt sympathy for Jack and Ennis. He too wished they could be together. So much so that he was furious, upon leaving the theater, that his “values” could so easily be compromised.

    This is it exactly.

    If anyone is watching “Brokeback Mountain” only looking for an agenda, the message is pretty clear: Life as a gay cowboy sucks. It’s only when conservatives recognized that sympathy for such characters is possible that the movie became a problem.

  23. February 28, 2006 at 4:53 pm

    1. If the gays and lesbians were to “recruit,” they’d have one hell of a pitch for potential proteges: discrimination, hate crimes, contempt and disgust, legal inequality, and ostracism from family and loved ones. I wonder how this can be repeatedly construed by people whom homosexuality makes “uncomfortable” as a compelling recruitment package? And besides, our country isn’t exactly in a mood to be recruited right now (see under: US Armed Fordes).

    2. Wow. The Marlboro Man is an enduring symbol of America. That’s terrific, considering that he’s an advertising concept. Here’s a little background on him. Dr. John Watson, one of the founding fathers of Behavioral Science, pioneered the use of behavioral modification in his post-psychology career as a Wall Street advertising executive. Ever seen really, really old commercials? How they just tell you – straightforwardly – all about how good the product is? And it seems really strange? Watson was one of the first to identify the comparative power of pairing a product with an emotionally provocative image (Pavlovian or Classical Conditioning) such that the consumer would associate the feelings from the image to the product. This is a much more effective way of enticing a customer – it’s an emotional appeal, not an intellectual one. Enter the Marlboro Man. Marlboro was originally soldas a cigarette for women, and Philip Morris wanted to redirect it towards the male market. In a rap session, their ad execs asked themselves, “What’s the most manly thing you can think of?” Of course, the immediate response was “a cowboy.” And thus the Marlboro Man was born, and a resounding success he was – Marlboro is now one of the most popular brands of cigarette on the market. Oh, and here’s the clincher – ever notice how the Marlboro Man is on the advertising, but not the cigarette pack? That’s because, according to the ad execs who created him, the Marlboro Man represents the American dream – a dream of freedom – and they wouldn’t want to crush that dream and throw it away every time you finish a pack.

    Hmmm. Now that I think of it, maybe the Marlboro Man is a enduring symbol of America – of consumer manipulation lurking under the guise of “freedom of choice.”

  24. February 28, 2006 at 5:20 pm

    …these folks were happy to embrace the propagandistic qualities of film when Mel Gibson turned the story of Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection into a sadomasochistic gore fest.

    You mean, “snuff film.”

  25. February 28, 2006 at 5:22 pm

    Here’s my take on Brokeback, but you have to read to the end (it isn’t long)

  26. February 28, 2006 at 5:23 pm

    doh, try the link again:


  27. renee perry
    February 28, 2006 at 5:48 pm

    Deborah nails it. He’s pushing away from these unwelcome feelings as fast as he can type and rationalize.

    Another good review (and one I’ve already posted on Pandago, I think) is from Daniel Mendelsohn at The New York Review of Books. This is not a universal love story. It’s a very specific one and the specificity is what gives it its power.

  28. Antigone
    February 28, 2006 at 6:39 pm

    Ironically enough, the cowboy didn’t even “tame the wild west” the stereotype of the “rough and ready” coybow, aside from not really being something one should strive for, and that the “freedom” wasn’t really so liberating (poverty is not liberating) is this: the cowboy DID NOT TAME the west. The railroad and the calvary tamed the west. Civilatization tamed the west. All cowboys did was ride around and wipe out massive amounts of buffalo.

  29. kate
    February 28, 2006 at 6:56 pm

    The writer here wants it and he wants it bad. He loves Marlboro Man, has longed for him, loved him and now SOMEONE ELSE HAS HIM!

    IT can’t be so! It must be rape! He’s being raped. “He’s my man, get off him!” screams the writer’s brain while he stays glued to his seat, helpless to stop the images and sound that comes over him from all angles. Tears come streaming down his face and he looks furtively around to ensure that no one catches him.

    Of course he can’t leave the theater, of course he’s a victim of the powerful forces of Hollywood who hold him in that seat. Oh he loves it, so sweet! He loves it. When Ennis and jack kiss or get close to eachother he feels all tingly. Oh my god no!

    He can’t help it, his pants are swelling, he can’t help it. He feels so dirty, so nasty! He hates himself and yet, we all know what he wants to badly, what he really, really wants when he says that Marlboro Man was raped and that homosexuals keep shoving stuff down his throat.

    Oh my, our poor writer, if he’d just let go and buy a copy of Blue Boy and whack himself silly. Poor thing. What a pity.

  30. February 28, 2006 at 9:05 pm

    Oh boo hoo hoo, raping the Marlboro Man.

    It strikes me that for macho manly men, some people can be awful damn whiny.

  31. February 28, 2006 at 11:17 pm

    Just wanted to pop in for a second to ask if you’ve seen this one?

    Now I’ll finish reading the comments…

  32. trishka
    March 1, 2006 at 5:26 pm

    antigone ~

    i would add to your post that barbed wire is really what tamed the west, and as a result made cowboys obsolete.

    larry mcmurtry, to tie this back on topic, has written some good stuff about this in his memoirs “walter benjamin at the dairy queen” (or whatever it’s called)

  33. brooksfoe
    March 2, 2006 at 12:42 pm

    “Do we understand that Hollywood could easily produce a similar movie to “Brokeback Mountain,” only this time glorifying an incest relationship, or even an adult-child sexual relationship?”

    The dude is illiterate; the classic Hollywood films on adult-child sexual relationships are “Lolita” and “Taxi Driver”. Both of them make clear in a powerful and visceral way just why such relationships are wrong. Lolita, like the book, does this in a particularly devastating fashion, by being told from the point of view of an unreliable narrator who spends the entire story trying to convince us that there is nothing wrong with the relationship – only to finally come to an understanding of how his abuse of Lolita has been catastrophic for her.

    The reason why Hollywood films about homosexuality don’t condemn it, while Hollywood films about child abuse do condemn it, is simple. Child abuse is wrong, and homosexuality isn’t.

  34. brooksfoe
    March 2, 2006 at 12:57 pm

    “Do we understand that Hollywood could easily produce a similar movie to “Brokeback Mountain,” only this time glorifying an incest relationship, or even an adult-child sexual relationship?”

    Hollywood has produced two classic films on adult-child sexual relationships: Lolita and Taxi Driver. Both make it viscerally clear that such relationships are exploitative, devastating, and wrong; and they do it by taking them seriously. Lolita is particularly crushing and convincing because the story’s unreliable narrator is constantly trying to persuade us that the relationship is wonderful; it’s not until the end that he comes to an understanding of the misery and permanent damage he’s wreaked on Lolita.

    The reason why Hollywood films about sexual relationships with children condemn them, while Hollywood films about homosexuality don’t condemn it, is simple. Having sex with children is wrong, and homosexuality isn’t.

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