Friday, December 23, 2005

Gay Cowboys Eating Pudding

The lonely libertarian will not be the first, nor the last to weigh in on Brokeback Mountain, the questionably monikered "gay cowboy film" that has become the darling of critics and the scourge of the radical Christian right.

This is the sort of film that has the potential to make us all look bad, bashers and supporters of the movie alike. I'll probably end up seeing it ... on DVD. An outdoors-sey romantic film doesn't have much appeal to me whether the characters are gay, straight, or any other type of sexuality. Meanwhile, I'll just keep laughing at the ridiculously melodramatic previews, and ponder why so many critics want to give this movie five stars.

Here's the thing. Take out the gay relationship, make it about a man and a woman, and no one would care about the film. The fact that it is about a gay relationship is what potentially makes the story interesting. And personally, I think modern stories that sell themselves on the basis of sexuality (or race, or whatever other divisive category you can think of) are either blatant political pandering or pure exploitation for a buck. Either way, I find that distasteful in my movies.

Maybe this is an important experience for adults, but for those of us younger folks from the "We don't give a fuck what color you are or who you have sex with but don't bother me with it"- generation, such films tend to reinforce differences and recreate the world of the past- or at least, our past.

As to the idea of a gay cowboy movie, Trey Parker and Matt Stones put it best on Southpark years ago, when Eric Cartman described just what an independent film was; Just a bunch of gay cowboys eating pudding. Making "the gay mainstream film" was going to happen, and I'm surprised this took as long as it did. But why, oh why use the idea that was mocked on Southpark years ago.


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