Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Brokeback Molehill

I wouldn't be a gay man if I didn't blog about THE movie. And I already know I am going to catch holy hell for this and possibly have to return the toaster oven, but I fail to understand all the hype around "Brokeback Mountain". Admittedly, a nice short story. Given, excellent cinematography. Yeah, it's a good movie. But hardly a gay movie. Sex with one man does not make another man gay (I haven't had sex with a woman since I was 28; but if I did it tomorrow, would I suddenly be straight again? Not to mention single, because The BF would dump my ass.). I think more is being made of this than needs to be.

This is a movie about two men who love each other. My brother openly admits that he loves his best friend since high school; both men are straight, married, and have not had sex with each other (that I know of). And even if they had, that would not make them gay. If this is a movie about sex, well I already own seven movies with cowboys having sex, and none of them was nominated for an Oscar (and who out there doesn't expect a porno called "Bareback Mountain"?)

But then, what defines a person's sexuality is as touchy as defining sex itself. For some people, kissing is considered sex, while others think penetration must happen before it can be called sex. My thought definition of sex is "ejaculation with participation" (a handjob without a climax is nothing more than a massage, really). Some say both people have to climax, some say just one. It just depends on your own defintion. Like pornography: "I can't define it but I know it when I see it".

I know the argument already - these two characters in this movie are in love with each other - that's supposed to be the difference. But as I have stated here before, I think we love everyone in our lives the same amount - we just prefer to be with some people more than others. The more time we spend with someone, the more we self-hypnotize ourselves into loving one person more than another.

I've been in a few relationships with men.
Did I love them? Yes, and I still do. All of them, even way back to Ex#1, which was in 1988. And even if weeks, months, or years go by between conversations, I would still drop what I was doing to help them all out. These are men I will love the rest of my life. Lifelong love - isn't that Brokeback's theme? Those characters only had it once. And so far, I had it at least 5 times. Someone write a short story about me!

Don't get me wrong, I am all for this film. I think it needs to be made, because the only way the world will be ready for it is to see it over and over again. I wish, however, that the characters were gay and not straight and married. My fear is that because the relationship in the film/book began so innocently, straight men all over the world are going to be collectively yelling, "What the fuck???"

This movie might help validate the feelings of those gay men who had difficulty coming to terms with being gay. Perhaps it will be good for them to see that other men struggle with the decision to fall in love with another man. I didn't have that trouble, personally. One morning, at 20 years old, I woke up next to my best friend at the time and thought, "Huh. Whaddyaknow?"

Michael Medved was on "Paula Zahn Now" last week arguing that this movie is horrible because these men are nothing more than adulterers, it promotes the gay agenda to destroy traditional marriage, and that the characters should not be glorified or honored.


Remember Gladiator, a story about a man who killed others just for the sport of it? It won an Oscar for Best Picture in 2000. Denzel Washington's character in Trading Day was hardly respectable, but he won an Oscar in 2001. And there's more - based on characters who are far worse than mere adulterers. Maybe we should all just be cowboys now. Perhaps the gay population should actually embrace the NRA. Give the Mo's some guns and let them kill people just for the sport of it, just like Maximus did. Maybe then we will be respected and adored and be given some awards.

But Brokeback is about love, not death. The cowboys don't kill anyone or each other. They represent what real gay men and women experience all over the world every day - fear of ridicule and hate only because of who we love. And just like real people, these cowboy characters are already hated by some of the movie-going public because of what they do and not who they are. Is America ready for this? Probably not. But it's got to start sometime.


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  2. Very well written, Dop.

    I think I saw a comment on Rotten Tomatoes, one of the critics said that it's the most ungay gay movie.

    I understand it's not a "gay movie" in truth - it's a movie that involves people who happen to have homosexual tendencies. It's a very important film because it shows that most gay people aren't the flaming-fag type of yore, but very much want to be normal in the sense that they can love who they want to love with impunity.

    I will admit, I have not seen this movie yet. I want to, but I don't want to. I have a hard time as a straight woman watching men get it on. But I respect Ang Lee's right to free speech and I respect people's choices - to stay in the closet, or come out. If anything, the movie hopefully starts some serious dialogue that moves away from gay stereotypes.

  3. I'm gay and turned down an invitation to see it and saw The Family Stone instead. I do not even have a desire to see it. After I heard the actors had to overcome their own "homophobic" fears, I lost interest. How anyone is homophobic these days makes me ill and I don't really want to support to these actors praise because they took such HUGE RISKS to their careers playing gay men. Why aren't their more actors like Eric McCormack(will and grace) who can care less about playing a gay role?

  4. I'd become a cowboy but I look like a fool in boots as well as in a 10-gallon hat.

    I as well neglected to see it, opting out for the actually much more gay oriented (big drama, women in garish makeup, and Geisha-y) Memoirs of a Geishas

  5. I had no desire to see it, but was convinced to go. I hated it. The only decent scene was when Heath's wife was talking to Jake on the phone and she got it figured out.

    Otherwise, not worth our time.

  6. This is exactly what I thought when I read the story. (Haven't seen the movie yet.)
    And people were pissed off at Jake Gyllenhall saying that the characters "weren't gay."

    Oh well.

  7. The move grew on me. Just after I left the theater, I was thinking, "ok."

    Then, I let their relationship settle in and thought about the heart wrenching loss I might have felt after knowing I had miss an opportunity to love somone more fully.

    Kinda felt sad a little delayed though.

  8. I saw the movie on NYE, did I miss something or did the movie ever make connection to the significance of the name Brokeback? Here in TN we have Devil's Backbone, Bushwack Hollow, Butcher Hollow- Ky. From the civil war and they were named from historical events. The movie was ok, not what I expected. In essence, its really about choices, sacrifice and how we submit to the opions of others. As presented the movie works, but it is intellectual or heady. lol.

  9. Dop - I totally agree with you.

    We just saw the movie and although it was good it was not overwhelming. Cinematically it was beautiful, but I felt as though Heath Ledger just mumbled his way through the length of the film, several times I had to lean over and ask what he had said.

    Darrell - Brokeback Mountain was the mountain they were herding sheep on and they kept going back to.