3/06/2006

Film Won't Fix Society

Now that the Oscars are over, I think this opinion article in my local paper is very appropriate and timely. In fact, my partner and I was talking about all of the Brokeback jokes and such. I haven't been finding them very funny, but then again, I don't find the story of two closeted gay men unable to find peace with themselves or each other very funny...tragic, but not funny.

Anyway, it made me think about the fact that the jokes stem from heterosexual discomfort. Look at who is making them and most will be supposedly heterosexual men. Our Puritanical society cannot deal with open sexuality very well so what do we do...we crack stupid jokes. So, your kids will no longer say "That's so gay!" for something being retarded or stupid, but "That's so Brokeback!" because it's the only way we know to deal with discomfort. Just like the only way our Ennis could deal with his feelings was to punch the person he loved, Jack.

We're not so different then the men on that mountain and a film won't change that. Only we can change that!

Great opinion piece...Enjoy!

It takes more than a film to fix a society

I'm dubious about the Brokeback Mountain effect because Americans are so schizophrenic now about gay rights. On the one hand, ballot measures and constitutional amendments — including our own in Tennessee — to deny gay and lesbian people equal rights usually pass with large majorities. Meanwhile, Americans flock to a bumper crop of Hollywood films with gay characters and themes, including this year's multi-Oscar-nominated Capote, Transamerica and Brokeback Mountain, and straight men allow the "queer guys" to make them over on TV.

Pardon me for being confused.

Should Brokeback win tonight at the Oscars, particularly best picture, Hollywood and the U.S. will pat itself on the back for being so enlightened about gay people. Ledger and Gyllenhaal will continue to make sure everyone knows they are straight and will dutifully respond to questions about kissing another man. And the rest of us will carry on in our bipolar way, of loving the fictional "sinners" while hating the real-life ones in our own towns.

We'll be all for straight movie stars playing gay characters getting fair treatment while standing by while real gay people are fired from jobs, kicked out of the military, denied adoption and excluded from the 1,000 rights that come inherently with civil marriage.

I'm waiting for Hotel Rwanda and Schindler's List to put an end to genocide. The Grapes of Wrath didn't end poverty, nor did Guess Who's Coming to Dinner end racism. Brokeback isn't the cure-all for gays, either. It takes more than movies to do that.

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