Friday, December 09, 2005

The Times Loves Brokeback Mountain!

Shocked, aren't you? What bravery! Here's a clip from Stephen Holden's review:
That's exactly how Mr. Lee films their first sexual grappling (discreetly) in the shadows of the cramped little tent. The next morning, Ennis mumbles, "I'm no queer." And Jack replies, "Me neither." Still, they do it again, and again, in the daylight as well as at night. Sometimes their pent-up passions explode in ferocious roughhouse that is indistinguishable from fighting.

This moving and majestic film would be a landmark if only because it is the first Hollywood movie to unmask the homoerotic strain in American culture that Leslie Fiedler discerned in his notorious 1948 Partisan Review essay, "Come Back to the Raft Ag'in, Huck Honey." Fiedler characterized the bond between Huckleberry Finn and Jim, a runaway slave, as an unconscious romantic attachment shared by two males of different races as they flee the more constraining and civilizing domain of women. He went on to identify that bond as a recurrent theme in American literature.

In popular culture, Fiedler's Freudianism certainly could be applied to the Lone Ranger and Tonto. Minus the ethnic division, it might also be widened to include a long line of westerns and buddy movies, from "Red River" to "Midnight Cowboy" to "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid": the pure male bonding that dare not explore its shadow side.

We're all gay cowboys, now.

Not being a literary scholar, I'm just wondering: Wasn't Huck Finn in his early teens? Wasn't Jim a grown man?


Anonymous said...

I belive if you deconstruct Fiedler's Freudianism regarding "Huck Finn", you will also discover that Jim was a Catholic priest, a rarity amongst ex-slaves but a reality viewing things through the Fiedlerian prism.

So the plot thickens.

Anonymous said...

All cowboys were gay. You know was the gayest? Wild Bill Hickock. Just look at the name and how his guns were a thinly disguised lust for phallus.

Anonymous said...

How about Custer? Didn't he seem a bit obsessed with looking "Fabulous"?

Anonymous said...

Cowboys, gay? Heck ya, they ride things, wear chaps and have mustaches. If that ain't gay, I don't know what is.

Buddy movie becomes butty movie.

Anonymous said...

Know who else is really gay? NFL linebackers. Just watching Brian Urlacher prance across the field, how could you not tell?

Anonymous said...

When will Ang Lee turn his penetrating lens on NFL coaches. Take Bill Parcells - would a straight man wear his hair like that? Also, the relationship between him and Belichick...

All one can say in regard to that is, "Hmmmmmm."

Anonymous said...

More obviously gay figures from history as interpreted by the Holden/Fiedlerian timewarp:

Lewis and Clark: Talk about fumbling in a tent!!
Johnson and Boswell: They did a LOT more than just talk.
Grant and Lee: Totally queer for each other.
Washington and "Gentleman" Johnny Burgoyne: Flaming.
The gemini astronauts....hello? two seats next to each other for days?
Chet Huntley and David Brinkley: On-air sexual tension was palpable.

If you think about, there's a new Hollywood syllogism being formed:
If we all have AIDS, then we are all gay.

Jason O.

Anonymous said...

Are we supposed to believe now that every male tandem throughout history was really forged out of an "unconscious romantic attachment"?

Perhaps the president and vice president are secretely in love with each other? They were running "mates."

Maybe T.O. and McNabb were secretly lovers. Could that been the true cause of their relationship's demise?

How about Batman and Robin? (Oh wait, the Joel Schumacher version was most certainly a little gay...never mind.)

Everyone is gay. They just don't know it!

(By the way, I don't care if someone is gay or not...but to claim that every relationship - including Tonto and the Lone Ranger - in pop culture and through U.S. literature was really a homoerotic one is absurd.)

Anonymous said...

Three out of four Andrew Sullivans will tell you that grown men having sex with teenage boys IS ALL BENEDICTLER'S FAULT!!!

(Also society's. But mostly Benedictler.)

Mike the Geek said...

They left out Rocky and Bullwinkle, as well as Yogi and Boo-boo.

Anonymous said...

Gayest President? Theodore Roosevelt with all that cowboying through Puerto Rico. Could he have been any gayer?

Anonymous said...

Dude, how could miss the best part of the review? In the first sentence of the review, Holden uses the phrase "bone deep." The next sentence speaks of things being embedded in craggy landscapes. I didn't realize Holden was such a wit, but I'm surprised the editors missed it.

Anonymous said...

This was my favorite bit from the review:

"Another recent film, "Jarhead" (in which Mr. Gyllenhaal plays a marine), suggests how any kind of male behavior perceived as soft and feminine within certain closed male environments triggers abuse and violence and how that repression of sexual energy is directly channeled into warfare."

So forget patriotism, duty, honor or simple love of adventure. Apparently the real reason our soldiers fight is repressed homosexual desire. So now you know ...

Anonymous said...

Were all of the male characters in C.S. Lewis's The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe gay?

Will Narnia the movie capture this gayness? Maybe the brothers were not "brothers" in a genetic sense.

Is everyone really gay?

That people call this nonsense "literary criticism" or "film criticism" is a joke...

Anonymous said...

Did they eat pudding? Inquiring minds want to know

Anonymous said...

He left out one gay duo that is really close to him:

Frank Rich and Pinch Sulzberger.

Talk about a couple of turd burglars.

Anonymous said...

My personal theory is that the cowboys went gay after reading Maureen Dowd's "Are Men Necessary?" They figured that if all women are that angry, narcissistic and neurotic, why bother?

Anonymous said...

Actually, this reviewer will never figure out one of the main reason heterosexual men like all male environments: The abscence of sexual tension.

Lets face it for this reviewer and probably Mr. Sullivan any two attractive men doing anything anywhere is going to be seen as homoerotic. In this mindset there is no strong emotional bond without a sexual component. And they wonder why Colin Powell said something to the effect of "Soldiers don't like to shower with guys who like to shower with soldiers."


Anonymous said...

J. Nonymous misses the whole point. Everyone likes to shower with soldiers! Men, women, members of the transgendered community - they're all nuts about the idea.

Don't fall victim to the patriarchal heteronormity that you've had hammered into your skull since you were a child. Naked soldiers are hot! And no one feels more strongly about that than other naked soldiers.

Except maybe cowboys.

Anonymous said...

Throw up a homo post and the comments fly!

Anonymous said...

Dear Blog,

Ang Lee try make HULK gay. HULK threaten SMASH Ang Lee. Ang Lee have last laugh make HULK boring.

Love, HULK.

Bizarro Jack said...

I'm kind of surprised at how much attention this gets.

People really need to get over the "'gay' as an insult" thing. At least 9 times out of 10, when one homophobe calls another homophobe gay, the speaker is not only wrong, but doesn't even believe what he's saying himself.

On the other side of things, the "machismo is masked homosexuality" thing has got to die. For starters, there are many openly gay men who are extremely macho (per capita), perhaps more than there are macho straight men, per capita. It's a cheap psychological trick from embittered non-macho homophobes at macho homophobes, and people need to realize that.

Here's a news flash - you're not a gay man unless you're a man who wants to have sex with a man, no matter how much rough-housing or congratulatory ass-slapping you do. Even turkish oiled wrestling is not gay, unless you have sex afterwards.

Anonymous said...

Over the weekend, I saw "The 40 year old Virgin".

David: You know how I know you're gay?
Cal: How?
David: You like Coldplay.

Ralphie said...

Not that there's anything wrong with that...