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Feb 20 2006

I Saw The Truman Show

beef stew
Next time I’ll stay home and eat this and watch whatever it is I’m supposed to be watching on DVD.

I’m no film critic, so I’ll tell you what I thought of “Capote”: it really clobbers you upside the noggin with the whole ethical dilemma angle . Ow. My subtlety lobe sustains bruising.

[spoiler warning]

I’m all for films about flamboyant egotistical prevaricating mid-century writers who claim speciously to have ghost-written To Kill A Mockingbird, and this Seymour Phineas Puffinstuff guy, for his creepy-virtuosic impersonation of the titular dude, should totally win all the awards they usually give out to guys like Dustin Hoffman for impersonating retards or to blonde sexbot actors for impersonating ugly chicks. But by the time Capote says “There wasn’t anything I could do to save them!” and Harper Lee, stunningly grasping the obvious, says “Maybe not, but the fact is, you didn’t want to,” well duh, I already got it, like an hour ago, that our protagonist is suffering a monstrous bloodsucking ethical lapse even more villainous, considering greater distance he has to fall, than that of the killers he’s exploiting, and I don’t need no second banana Pulitzer-winning chick novelist sidekick spelling it out for me.* The director might as well hold up a sign reading “This film is about the perversion of art in the service of the commodification of the human soul.”

As a matter of fact, he kind of does hold up such a sign, when he has Capote say of his new boyfriend the mass-murderer, “He’s a goldmine.”

So shut up, Harper Lee!

While I’m on the subject of movies, let me go on the record as stating that it’ll be a rape-free day in a patriarchy before I heave the Twisty corpus into the dank subumbra of another one of those wretched miniaturized theaterettes again. They are invariably populated by the worst, chattiest, wrapper-wrattlingest buttwattles the many-elbowed throng has to offer.

*And don’t tell me that Capote needed it spelled out for him, either. No. The guy had an IQ of 215.

43 comments

  1. kate

    And might I add to pay the exborbient fees to sit with chatting, mindless popcorn munching, cellphone ringing turds.

    I await for the DVD and to pay up my overdue rentals.

  2. bitchphd

    Hm. Okay, I haven’t seen Capote yet, so I admit I can’t judge PSH’s acting in that film (although I know it is usually amazing), but was it better than Heath Ledger’s in Brokeback? B/c, damn.

  3. Twisty

    I haven’t seen Brokeback Mountain. Does Heath Ledger (what a name! It sounds like the title character in a 80′s TV lawyer drama) manage to avoid impersonating a retard, or an ugly-chick? Does he actually act rather than gain 50 pounds or something? And it’s not just that he makes out with some dude, and everybody confuses it with acting because he’s straight in real life or something?

    It’s not that I doubt you, B; I’m just expressing astonishment.

  4. Hattie

    I solved the movie theater problem: An electronic projector (They are all pretty good now; mine’s an In Focus), a pull-down home-movie size screen, a CD player and a good sound system. A subscription to Netflix. And it’s movie time! You probably have some of the stuff you need already, so that would cut down on the cost.
    I think people’s gun-snapping, popcorn crunching, coke slurping slobbishness, the stupid yacking, etc. did not bother me so much when I was young, but these days I can’t stand it. I don’t really think people are worse; I’m just more sensitive. Getting to be a cranky oldster.

  5. Rachel

    I dunno about “Capote”– haven’t gotten the chance to see it– but I can tell you “Cold Blood” is a hell of a movie and it ain’t got none of that useless subtext-wringing in it either.

  6. Rachel

    And I’ll add, maybe the worst relatively new aspect of theatergoing are those dunderheads that think they can check their cellphones for messages without injury. A cellphone’s as luminous as a goddamn lighthouse and YES we can all see it and YES you should really leave it in your asspocket. Thanks.

  7. bitchphd

    Twisty, it’s really good, especially if you like Westerns (which I do). I’d be interested in your take on Heath’s character–to my mind, he did a wonderful job of portraying a particular version of tight-lipped Western masculinity, and of making us understand a lot of the ways that kind of thing is both admirable and horrid.

  8. kathy a

    haven’t seen the film yet, but this is an excellent review.

  9. SneakySnu

    Dang it. I really wanted to see Capote and I knew that there was something keeping from it.

    Not that I mind a bit of moralizing every once in awhile from a film. I appreciated it in Good Night, and Good Luck, which I thought was a lovely little essay. David Strathairn was amazing as Murrow.

    Which gets us back on the subject of the Oscars, which gets us back to patriarchy blaming. The most interesting female characters in film this year all seem to fall into “supporting” roles.

  10. Liz

    Oh, Truman! My very first serious childhood crush was on Arthur “Boo” Radley. (My second one was on Elwood P. Dowd. My third one was on Randall P. McMurphy. Does anyone notice a trend here?) But that unhealthy obsession wasn’t why I had to quit going to the movies. It was the nearly uncontollable urge to commit homicide which was inevitably triggered by the sound of slooooowly crinkling wrappers (there ought to be some kind of Olympic event, where they try to break the world record for the longest time to unwrap a single damn box of Milk Duds, which according to my calculations currently stands at just over 3 hours) and chewing that probably set off the Wood-Anderson torsion seismometer. After a few too many close calls, they took away my Ticket Central discount movie pass and put me on Netflix house arrest. Oh, but this would have made my Boo so happy.

  11. Marie

    “I don’t really think people are worse; I’m just more sensitive.”

    No, it’s not you; people ARE worse.

    I loved Boo, too. I don’t want to know what that says about me.

  12. Hissy Cat

    Oh, don’t even get me started with the movie theater. I don’t mind candy-chewing or soda-slurping– no, no– what gets to me is:

    Number One: Commercials. I already paid ten fucking dollars to see this movie. I don’t want to to be subjected to commercials for M & Ms or cars or Pepsi or cell phones. It pisses me off, but it’s nothing– and I mean nothing– compared to the red-headed sputtering rage I go into over

    Number Two: The MPAA’s Ads reminding the audience (who, in case anyone’s forgotten, have paid their bucks to be there to just see the fatherfuckin’ movie already) not to steal movies from the internet. The last one I saw featured a black man who worked as some sort of technical crew member talking to the camera about how downloading movies is like stealing his hard work, cut with clips of million-dollar special effects explosions and stuff. So basically, I’m supposed to have sympathy with an industry is rolling in dough, why, exactly? In some ways, it could be a brilliant joke. I mean, whoever made it is totally unaware of the irony of the movie industry asking the movie-going audience not to not give them more money by showing the audience all the millions of dollars they pour into one crappy film. Except then they put this black worker on the screen to talk to you, implying that it’s not the movie executives or whoever that are going to be hurt by downlaoding but, you know, L.A.’s working class. Good men who make sets explode won’t be able to bring money home to their families for dinner. And then I start talking back at the screen. And waving my arms and going on about fair use and copyright laws and anyway. Also, the patriarchy. And then my friends have to shush me.

  13. Nia

    I have no idea if you would like Brokeback mountain, but I’m very sensitive about movies that stereotype homosexuality or want you to feel pity about te characters. I didn’t think it was so much a movie about closeted homosexuality than about two people than love each other… the problem is one is limp and weak and the other cannot let out a single emotion (as BitchPhD says). the acting is subtle but expressive, the movie has lots of silences, and it’s going to bore you to death if you don’t like being told that loving-and-being-requited is the center and pinnacle of human experience.

  14. Finn

    “Heath Ledger (what a name! It sounds like the title character in a 80’s TV lawyer drama)”

    Heath Ledger sounds like a renegade accountant… ;-)

    Brokeback, by the way, has been added to the Urban Dictionary as an adjective…

    “It’s NOT a purse, it’s a man-bag! It’s very manly!”
    “I don’t know man, it looks kinda brokeback to me.” -Boondocks

    Anyways… I totally agree about theaters. Love movies. Hate theaters. Have you braved one of the ‘stadium seating’ venues? You would think the elevation would at least spare you of some of the interruptive nonsense, but really I think it just gives folks even more license to act like shitbags.

    Am I to assume from the positive comments that folks are enjoying their Netflix?

    -clicking blame, even though this is a blame-free post-

    -finn

  15. Sharoni

    I’m with Hissy Cat. It’s the commercials that really bug me. And that goes for cable/satellite/whatever television, too. WE PAY FOR THESE SERVICES AND WE GET COMMERCIALS!!!!! Enough, already! I blame the patriarchy that allows this crass, in-your-face, movie sized commercial to assault you when you’ve already paid $10.00 to go see a movie and then even more money for a crappy diet drink that probably causes cancer. I blame the patriarchy! blame blame blame blame. Okay, I’ll push the button now.

  16. robin

    “While I’m on the subject of movies, let me go on the record as stating that it’ll be a rape-free day in a patriarchy before I heave the Twisty corpus into the dank subumbra of another one of those wretched miniaturized theaterettes again. They are invariably populated by the worst, chattiest, wrapper-wrattlingest buttwattles the many-elbowed throng has to offer.”

    Twisty, in spite of the wretched ordeal of chemo, your writing remains brilliant, witty, insightful, and an exhilaratinglly fun ride. Our very own 21st c. Dorothy Parker!

    That said, I liked Capote. If anyone was to “impersonate” him, and it may as well have been S-P-P. I liked the grave and measured pace of the movie, the silences, the oddness – yes, the Harper Lee character was a bit gratuitous, but overall the movie stayed with me. It didn’t evaporate 20 seconds after leaving the theater.

  17. Twisty

    Oh, I didn’t mean to give the impression that I didn’t find “Capote” a diverting film. It’s broody, and moody, and pretty and made me nostalgic for the 60s. Which is why I was a bit disappointed that some of the script didn’t, in the end, hold up to the gravitas of the cinematography. But I was grateful there weren’t a thousand jiggly boobs and explosions.

  18. Sabre

    Screw the movie review, I learned a new word!

    Buttwattles!

    *new word nirvana*

  19. Jezebella

    Finn – why yes, add me to the netflix fan club. Easy, cheap, painless, and you don’t have to go to the video store and pray something tolerable is in stock. no late fees! movies in your mailbox! it’s genius and I love it. Last night, I watched Bukowski at Bellevue – a video of the late vulgarian poet reading to a tiny classroom of students at a Bellevue Community College in Washington. Tell me where on bog’s green earth I might’ve rented that video if not for netflix? [god, yes, I know: I just said "Bukowski" on a feminist website. please don't throw me out!]

    y’all, I just have this to say: try watching movies in fucking mississippi. People on the phone, talking, out loud. Text messaging, clickety-clickety. Men *explaining* the movie to their dates, who are neither blind nor deaf, and so could therefore probably figure out the movie if they’d shut up. This isn’t just kids, either: grown people, too. And the problem with doing all this in mississippi is you never know who’s armed and who’s on meth and therefore capable of jumping over the seat and getting all redneck on your ass.

  20. norbizness

    Is any mention made of his fantastic cameo as Lionel Twain in Murder by Death?

    Sidney Wang (Peter Sellers): What meaning of this, Mr. Twain?

    Lionel Twain: I will tell you, Mr. Wang, if YOU can tell ME why a man who possesses one of the most brilliant minds of this century can’t say his prepositions or articles! “What IS THE,” Mr. Wang! “What IS THE meaning of this?”

  21. Twisty

    Bukowski! What a buttwattle!

  22. wordgirl

    Don’t forget the idiots who bring small children and babies to movies they couldn’t possibly understand or enjoy…only to ruin the viewing pleasure for others with the crying and whining. I don’t blame the kids. They didn’t bring themselves to the damn movie. Blame the idiot parents.

  23. Hattie

    God I had a piece published in a mag that had a Buttofski poem in it. The shame!

  24. jezebella

    I cannot defend or justify my interest in Bukowski to anyone, at all, ever. I won’t even try here, and I assure you, I never recommend him to anyone. The man was an absolute tool of the patriarchy, a bad, bad *man*, but if I have learned anything in my years of studying literature and then art, it is this: sometimes a bad man can make good art. I’d rather be offended by Bukowski’s poetry than nauseated by insipid hallmark doggerel. After all, sometimes good art (or literature) is offensive.

    and, twisty: “buttwattle”!!! outstanding neologism! I lurve it.

  25. Becker

    Twisty, if I’d remembered that Monday was chemo day I would never have suggested you take in the sex worker’s art show. Despite Wilde’s proclamation, I only offend unintentionally.

    My question about Truman is, do I need to see it in a theater or can I wait for the DVD? Some movies require the theater experience, like Brazil or Pink Floyd’s The Wall or Rocky Horror. Others can wait, you know?

    BPhD, I’ll ask the same about Brokeback.

  26. bitchphd

    I thought Brokeback was beautifully shot and had gorgeous scenery. If these things matter to you w/r/t the big-screen experience, then, yes.

  27. Twisty

    Becker, the DVD will suit the Capote case just fine. It’s not a big-screen thing, I don’t think.

  28. Staircase Witch

    I’m boycotting the Oscars this year. Eric Bana was robbed, utterly, by that Philip Seymour Hoffman creep.

    Stop snickering, dammit!

  29. Becker

    Thanks BPhD and Twisty.

    From what I’ve seen of Hoffman’s Capote, I’ve been torn. Capote has always been bigger than life to me, shrunk down by the tv screen, and Hoffman seems to be the one that would make him bigger. But maybe a theater screen is too big.

    BPhD, I’m not surprised by the landscape shots and anything else that might suggest this as a large movie. Ang Lee has a big mind, and so does Larry McMurtry (I’m embarrassed to say I’m not familiar with Annie Proulx’s or Diana Ossana’s work) so I did wonder if it wasn’t better seen on the screen than on my television. But as a single 40 year old dude, there are politics involved in entering a theater.

    But what the hell. After I buy the popcorn it’s just me in the dark.

  30. Staircase Witch

    I think seeing Brokeback Mountain on the big screen is indeed absolutely crucial to “getting” the movie. I love Wyoming, and I especially love the Bighorns (I kind of regret they couldn’t actually have filmed the movie there, but the Alberta location certainly evoked them.) To me, the film was just as much about falling in love and watching your world slowly diminish as it was about masculine identity and repressed homosexuality, and it made me temporarily desperate to quit my job and disappear into those green boulder-strewn peaks.

  31. ae

    The director might as well hold up a sign reading “This film is about the perversion of art in the service of the commodification of the human soul.”

    Twisty, quit making me love you.

    I’m w/ Hissy Cat and Sharoni re: the fucking commercials. That is by far the worst part of the moviegoing experience for me. Otherwise, if people can keep their stupid asses off their cell phones, I can sort of like sharing the experience. A room full of people laughing, for instance, is quite nice. I say this having been spoiled watching films (and sometimes movies) in LA, where audiences know how to take pleasure in the experience and not torture one another w/ the selfish bullshit. Not a categorical rule, but reliable nonetheless. In NC, lots of slurping. What is that?

    Brokeback on the big screen, definitely. Ang Lee’s films are meant to be seen.

    Seymour Phineas Puffinstuff! Ha! I liked him mucho in “Boogie Nights” and “Next Stop Wonderland” and “The Talented Mr. Ripley” and most everything now that I think about it. Though I will admit that everytime I see him, I think, No woman would ever get the chance to be Seymour Phineas So-and-so. Un-hot starlets don’t get very far in Hollywood unlike their un-hot male counterparts.

  32. tigtog

    The last few weeks I’ve seen Brokeback and then doubled my Heath and Jake viewing with Casanova and Jarhead.

    Casanova is Sienna Miller’s movie, she is just fabulous as the proto-suffragist. Heath is fine but bugger it boy go back to your elocution teacher and rehabilitate those lips – I’m sure they can actually open. His accent and tone is great, but the articulation is fucked. I’m looking forward to getting the DVD of Brokeback just for the subtitles so I know what his lines were.

    Jake is fab in Jarhead, even though it is a film all about the blameworthy patriarchal military, it at least for once does little to glorify it. It perhaps doesn’t say that much that a lot of other war-buddy films haven’t explored before, but I like the lack of triumphalism that infected even Apocalypse Now and The Deerhunter. Jamie Fox is also just fiiiiine.

  33. AyMayZed

    This is Hollywood getting serious consideration?

    tight-lipped Western masculinity, and of making us understand a lot of the ways that kind of thing is both admirable and horrid.

    Then the movie has already shifted significantly away from Annie Proulx’s novella.
    When has Hollywood ever made cowboys ultimately **not** admirable?

    I didn’t think it was so much a movie about closeted homosexuality than about two people than love each other… the problem is one is limp and weak and the other cannot let out a single emotion (as BitchPhD says).

    Then the movie has nothing left of the novella, which is entirely about the withering and soul-death of the closet – with special reference to the rigidity of control of that closet door in Cowboy Land.

    Buggered if I’ll be rushing to see the flick either on the big screen or on DVD.
    I’d only make too much noise yelling at Hollywood’s perversion of gaze at queers.

    SPOILER
    And if the poor boys have been turned into simply a pansy and a strong silent type then the conclusion would be just more of Hollywood’s usual revenge on queers.
    That’s assuming that the story hasn’t been mucked around enough to stop the “pansy” getting gay-bashed to death, of course.

    Some love story, ay?

  34. Staircase Witch

    When has Hollywood ever made cowboys ultimately **not** admirable?

    I’m confused: when has Annie Proulx ever made cowboys ultimately **not** admirable? Seriously. Not that I mind; it’s one thing I enjoy about her Wyoming writings. Granted, her admiration is ambivalent, but still.

    I went back and reread the story (it is the last in her collection Close Range) and, technically, there were only a couple of points where the film deviated from the text–elaborated, really, and addressed concerns like yours about stereotyping. The interpretation imposed on it by Ang Lee and the screen writers brought out a lot of complexity in the story that I hadn’t recognized before.

    That isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I’ve heard complaints that critics try to gloss over the film’s treatment of the closet and say that it’s about larger things, and I’m not sure what to think of that–it seems to suggest anxieties about what happens when one’s pet issues are suddenly exposed to the mainstream.

    Then the movie has nothing left of the novella, which is entirely about the withering and soul-death of the closet – with special reference to the rigidity of control of that closet door in Cowboy Land.

    It sounds as though if it stuck firmly to your view of Proulx’s story, it would be dull, preachy social commentary. It would not be art.

    Chinua Achebe, I’ve heard, related a letter he got from a young white boy in New York who said that he had read Things Fall Apart and saw his father–white, blue-collar, working-class Brooklynite–in the character of intransigent, Igbo Okonkwo. That was not what Achebe had intended, but he was deeply touched. If this is the sort of effect that Brokeback Mountain is having on those who see it, that can only be a good thing.

  35. AyMayZed

    I’m confused: when has Annie Proulx ever made cowboys ultimately **not** admirable? Seriously. Not that I mind; it’s one thing I enjoy about her Wyoming writings. Granted, her admiration is ambivalent, but still.

    Hey chook, let me guess.
    You’re not queer?

    Good point about Proulx admiring cowboys, but it has fuck-all to do with my observation about Hollywood and admirable cowboys.

    How do you manage the bum splinters?
    All that even-handed fence-sitting.

    Not having seen the flick, I can’t try to engage further with your deep and heartfelt somethingorother about it.
    But may I assume from your saying that there was little deviation from the text that the pansy got it in the end?
    Thanks for the heads-up. I won’t need to splash out to confirm my veddy narrow prejudice about Hollywood.
    Because shirley there can’t be the alternative explanation: that the audience is not as able to divine the wonderful cinematic complexities that you’re able to conjure and that the flick is a palimpsest because Hollywood has never and will never make an unambiguously pro-queer flick.

    Which, by the way, being pro-queer that is, is the almost perfect art displayed in Proulx’s novella.

  36. Staircase Witch

    Sorry, no, I’m not queer. So my tastes are apparently too tainted to truly appreciate whatever pure strain you, in your infinite queerness, are able to discern in Proulx’s fiction. I apologize for my inadequacy.

  37. Sharoni

    Try Philadelphia with Tom Hanks for pro-queer. That movie made me cry and call my brother (who is queer) and cry on his shoulder as it were. He had at that point recently sent me a letter about one of his friends who had died of AIDS and the fact that this was the umpteenth (I can’t remember the exact number, but in the 20s) of his friends who had gone that way. As we were both in our thirties at the time, I didn’t even know that many people who had DIED, much less all of the same cause. Shocked and appalled. I blame the patriarchy. They say it’s a “gay” disease, yet the man (they (the patriarchy) say) who “brought” the first case to the states was NOT gay, he was an equal opportunity fucker, and he certainly earned a place in infamy. Oh. But I guess the patriarchy thinks of bi-sexuals as gay anyway. I forgot. Oh, let’s just blame the patriarchy and be done with it!

  38. tigtog

    AyMayZed: the movie does much better justice to the characters than simply stereotype Jack and Ennis as the pansy and the strong silent one. Jack’s a better communicator than Ennis, but he’s far from being a pansy.

    I’m not queer either, and I certainly got that the tragedy in the movie was that it wasn’t physically safe for them to be openly together in the world of outdoorsmen that was all they really knew, and thus Ennis in particular made a lot of other people miserable so that his closet stayed safely shut.

    The case of Matthew Shepherd shows us that 40 years after Jack’s and Ennis’s story it’s still not safe to come out of the closet in cowboy country, and if Brokeback makes some who’ve been unthinking homophobes begin to see queers as people who don’t deserve to be bashed to death then it’s doing some good.

    In their day, novels such as Anna Karenina and Madame Bovary were groundbreakers for presenting women who abandoned their husband and children as people with good reasons for what they did and deserving of understanding and sympathy. Did it suck for the sisterhood that the bad women still came to a bad end? Sure, and that’s where queer love stories for the mass market are now. But at least the stories are about real, understandable and sympathetic people. That’s a start – movies-of-the-week where admirable gays don’t die in the end can’t be too far away.

  39. AyMayZed

    AyMayZed: the movie does much better justice to the characters than simply stereotype Jack and Ennis as the pansy and the strong silent one. Jack’s a better communicator than Ennis, but he’s far from being a pansy.

    Remarkable. A second vote for better than stereotypes.
    But I’m still not prepared to believe that Hollywood can do it better than 2 dimensions for queers yet.

    I’m not queer either, and I certainly got that the tragedy in the movie was that it wasn’t physically safe for them to be openly together in the world of outdoorsmen that was all they really knew, and thus Ennis in particular made a lot of other people miserable so that his closet stayed safely shut.

    Please have a little understanding that I bit back at what I saw as dismissive comment from another poster.
    Being queer can be restricting a lot of the time and I’ve felt a little safe to blow off steam here at Twisty’s because of the great feminine company. I hope I haven’t alienated my best team; women.
    Nobody needs to apologise for not being queer, chook. You’re bloody lucky!
    You might like it if I fill out a bit more of what a queer gets from the story in the book?

    The novella makes a much more measured and mordant thesis than simply the tragedy of the closet as experienced in Cowboy Land.
    Proulx is indeed the poet of the wide open West, the badlands, the frontier. So she uses her loved natural environment as a metaphor for a kind of aliveness that makes things feel; makes them make sense to your senses; makes a person properly alive and self-realised.
    Jake and Ennis are by degrees allowed less and less of their time in this beautiful environment. They both withdraw from and are prevented from returning to a full aliveness.
    Ennis achieves it the way many queers experience a life without joy; through absolute clamping down on himself until he’s as grey as the dust. And Jake does it more simply by remaining loyal to his love for Ennis and thus being unable to go for life, the beautiful environment, without the more and more crippled Ennis being there too. Jake’s own crippling is in a different, more careless for his own safety, flibbertigibbet way.
    Neither of them fulfulls their young promise of growth into whole people.
    Their youth and promise is central to Proulx’s theme.

    Proulx’s theme isn’t tragedy; neither of the two boys starting out life in her description was at all a flawed character.
    They were both full of life and lovable.
    Proulx’s theme is more clearly the withering shame that is the closet in general.
    The shame that a society can so poorly handle queerness that it demands living death for it.

    The plangent point in the novella is not Jake’s murder.
    It’s the point at which Ennis touches the only evidence of Jake’s fidelity to him. The shirt tucked inside the shirt. The thing that says what Ennis forbade and what Jake could never move on from. I bet the movie has that one, ay.
    Proulx’s got a gift for the just image.
    But Ennis is already one of the living dead and there’s nothing redeeming about his finding the shirts.

    A lot of my time as a young woman was spent battling the suffocation that the patriarchy wants done to lesos and poofs
    And so I quite like it when a mainstream writer like Proulx gets it right. I’m not sure it’s groundbreaking in any social attitude sense though.
    She just tells it like it is.

  40. tigtog

    You haven’t alienated me, AyMayZed. I hope you might be pleasantly surprised by the movie. I think Ang Lee and Larry McMurtry get Annie Proul and Jake and Ennis, and I think they do understand the deepest tragedy in a homophobic society is the self-loathing it induces in those outside the heterosexist norm, and the way that that self-loathing strangles chances for true happiness.

    I also think the self-loathing among women that is generated by the patriarchy, and how to cope with it without dying inside, is a point of sympathy and commonality which may well partly explain the affinity between open-minded straight women and queers.

    That plangent point in the novella is definitely the most moving scene in the movie as well. As this review puts it, “at that point Ennis finally realises just how much he was loved”:

    (from the New York Review of Books – warning – major plot spoilers)

    The real achievement of Brokeback Mountain is not that it tells a universal love story that happens to have gay characters in it, but that it tells a distinctively gay story that happens to be so well told that any feeling person can be moved by it. If you insist, as so many have, that the story of Jack and Ennis is OK to watch and sympathize with because they’re not really homosexual—that they’re more like the heart of America than like “gay people”—you’re pushing them back into the closet whose narrow and suffocating confines Ang Lee and his collaborators have so beautifully and harrowingly exposed.

    Brokeback Mountain may well not be groundbreaking, but part of dismantling the patriarchy is just getting stories out there that “tell it like it is” instead of kowtowing to the patriarchal myths.

    It made me blub, anyway.

  41. tigtog

    That spoiler warning above is for the linked review, BTW, not my quote from it. I didn’t make that very clear.

  42. AyMayZed

    I dips me lid for the recommendation for the flick tigtog, and no less for your rawther insightful article that followed.

    It seems to be a different thing at my school, though. In a school of nearly 500 kids, I’ve never heard a whisper of any gay parents during my kids’ journey through years K-6, and I must say that seems statistically unlikely. Now I’m not much of a one for schoolyard gossip, so maybe I just don’t know who they are, but I suspect that it might be more of a case that families with two mummies or two daddies, who may not be closeted in any other aspect of their lives, choose to interact with the school body in a closeted manner (perhaps only one parent ever does the school run).

    That’s not up there with Jack and Ennis levels of tragedy, but it’s sad if gay parents feel such closeting is necessary. Stifling is never healthy, for the family or for the community around it.

    You’ve spotted one of the big blanks.
    Ask me? Just as much a crying shame as Jake and Ennis’s lives.

  43. tigtog

    A fellow Sydney blogger, Susoz has some good stuff up on gay parenting at her blog. We’ve only just started reading each other, so I haven’t read it all yet, but there are certainly some thought-provoking points she makes.

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