Left Behinds

The anti-andrewsullivan.com. Or, the Robin Hood (Maid Marian?) of bright pink Blogger blogs.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Red State Brokeback

I just published my first piece at TPM Cafe. Let me know what you think.


  • At 5:06 PM, Blogger Antid Oto said…

    I think your pictures is adorable.

  • At 7:17 PM, Blogger Solomon Grundy said…

    But what did you think of what I wrote? It was tough saying anything fresh about BBM.

  • At 10:47 PM, Blogger Antid Oto said…

    I think it's pretty clear that Brokeback does mainstream homosexual conduct. In fact, that's what it should be celebrated for. It makes it clear that even the reddest of red-staters can be queer. That lends itself to the gay panic: a fag could be lurking in any space you thought was safe for just you and the guys. Which is true, generally speaking.

    There's a distinction to be made between what Puritanical red-staters (not all red-staters, mind you) are and what they would like to believe they are. They would like all of America to believe, just like David Brooks, that they are more pure than us decadent coastal elites, and in that sense the movie clearly is an affront: a powerful, blue-state media engine is holding their noses in what blue states see to be the truth about them--that they're no different from anyone else. Besides which most people who live in red states are not cowboys, shepherds, or even farmers. They are suburbanites, just like most people everywhere in this country.

    Just as you said, the fact that these are iconographic red-state guys is what makes this blue-state movie uncomfortable. But note that it's not cowboys who are banding together to protest. You and I have both known cowboys, and though they can be reactionary, racist, and homophobic, usually they also tend to be libertarian. They might not see the movie, but its existence wouldn't bother them much, just like the existence of gay people doesn't bother them much, as long as they don't have to deal with them. The people who are getting uncomfortable are exurban, kinda wussy fundamentalists who fantasize about a masculinity they don't actually have. If you made a movie about exurban fundamentalists discovering they were gay, nobody would care because exurban fundamentalists are nobody's masculine icon.

  • At 4:45 PM, Blogger Antid Oto said…

    You might also want to check this out: it makes a similar argument as you do, and one of the commenters even sounds the "sheepherders, not cowboys" theme.

  • At 6:41 PM, Blogger Solomon Grundy said…

    Nice piece (though I would have preferred pace when he used contra).

    I think I didn't make my point very clearly on TPMC. When I said it was a red state movie, all I meant was that it is a pretty accurate and nuanced depiction of life in a red state. And as you said, one authentic aspect of life in a red state is that some of the guys sleep together. I've seen it firsthand. It's not some Hollywood fantasy of gay cowboys, it's an accurate portrayal of life in Wyoming. It felt really real for me (as most of Proulx's Wyoming stories do).

    I guess I come at BBM having seen a million gay movies, so that for me what's so unusual is the regional culture depicted and the fact that they're so thoroughly country. They aren't fish out of water struggling against their hick milieu (which we've seen before), they're really, truly country. They just happen to be in a relationship. It's a total Log Cabin Republican fantasy, in a lot of ways. In that sense it's a red state movie about red state guys and red state values.

    I have to agree, though, with the haters who commented that this is perhaps not a particularly insightful observation. But give me a break, I was on a deadline.

  • At 6:47 PM, Blogger Solomon Grundy said…

    Oh and when I said Jack and Ennis were more red-blooded than most red-staters, what I had in mind was exactly what you wrote about wussy exurban fundamentalists whose mouths are bigger than their balls. Those guys wish they were as butch as Ennis.

  • At 6:47 PM, Blogger Solomon Grundy said…

    In fact, they wish they were as butch as Lureen.

  • At 10:04 PM, Blogger Phoebe Evergreen said…

    Now that the Oscars are over, can we stop talking about Brokeback Mountain and start talking about Mysterious Skin? Because I fuckin' loved it. Gentlemen?

    I suppose I could start this off at my own blog.

  • At 3:48 PM, Blogger Antid Oto said…

    Once I watch it I suppose I could talk about it.

    But to a certain extent SG has to talk about BBM. You'd understand if you saw the site-traffic figures.


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