Friday, May 12, 2006

rural cowboy

I just wanted to recommend a blog post Anna wrote about "Brokeback Mountain," which we finally saw this week. I love the movie for saying so much but hardly really saying any of it, about the potential realities of rural gay existance and sex and mistakes. A book I read earlier this winter had a lot to say about the marginalization of rural gay life, and I think a lot of that was reflected in people's reactions to this particular movie. Except for specific formulations (living-in-the-country-with-a-big-house) urban people tend to look down on rural life, and queer people are no exception to this rule. The book I read ("In a Queer Time and Place" by Judith Halberstam) talked specifically about Brandon Teena and how the setting of rural Nebraska not only played a role in his murder but was also misunderstood in that role by many many academics with an urban-centric viewpoint. Brandon chose to live in a rural town (instead of Lincoln, a more urban center) because it offered queer possibilities to him that he wouldn't have in a bigger city. He moved to rural Nebraska to escape persecution and scutiny, but academics look at what happened and say, "Oh, he was killed by those rednecks. He should have moved to the big city, gotten some help or something." Anyway, so it's interesting to look at the rural's role in "Brokeback" and examine my own thoughts about setting and plot.
But anyway, Anna says a lot of what I thought very eloquently and humorously, so you should just read her review. But here's my favorite part:
"In an effort to promote "tolerance," many critics have applied the law of universality to the film. "This is a love story, people! Not a gay story." Yes it is! It's a goddamn gay love story. If you can't see the blatantly gay issues that ensconce this movie, then don't review it. The fact that Jack and Ennis are "victims of circumstance" is a moot point when you consider that homophobia, fear, and denial are the main circumstances they can't seem to overcome."

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