Brokeback Mountin'!

By Rip Rense

I'm a homophobe.
That's the verdict rendered, apparently, just because I don't want to see "Brokeback Mountain."
I suppose not wanting to see films fraught with chain-saw killings makes me a murderphobe. I suppose not wanting to see romantic tear-jerkers about women's love affairs makes me a femalephobe. Not wanting to see movies about idiotic young people makes me an idioticyoungpeoplephobe.
Hey, I'm not being paranoid here. George Weinberg, the very psychologist who coined the term, "homophobe," says I'm one.
The evidence? My aversion to seeing "Brokeback Mountain," which is a film about two cowpokes who like to poke each other. Brokeback Mountin'! Whoops---there I go, making light of homosexual encounters! Only a homophobe would do such a thing.
Dr. Weinberg, the New York City psychologist and author of "Society and the Healthy Homosexual," says this is "definitely homophobia," and he offers the following advice:
"First understand you have this problem," he explained in a Newhouse News Service article. "At least by acknowledging it, that's a start. It's like saying, 'I have a fear of heights."'
I have no problem acknowledging my fear of heights. I grip the railing at the Grand Canyon. But as long as I'm not in prison, I have no fear of homosexuals.
And you know, I keep trying to talk myself into believing that psychotherapy is a constructive thing, at least for some people who have suffered severe trauma, but then guys like Weinberg pop up (so to speak.)
Of course, he would undoubtedly say I have undue hostility toward him, and that this is a mask for repressed homosexuality.
Look, I hate "Brokeback Mountain." That's my review. I don't care if Orson Welles came back from the dead to direct it. I have not seen it, will not see it, and I believe it to be an abomination. Not because it depicts two male homosexuals in a sincere love affair (sorry, Dr. Weinberg.) Big deal! I was aware long before "Brokeback Mountain" that persons of the same gender can and do commit to one another out of lust, and even love, sometimes for a lifetime.
The thing that bothers me here is that this movie is what passes for important social commentary in this stupid society. I put the discourse generated somewhere between banal and puerile---which, of course, is just right for a country obsessed with "intelligent design," abortion, and democratizing the world.
I mean, never mind that Uncle Sam is bankrupt and in hock to Saudi Arabia, China. Never mind New Orleans. Never mind the Jesus freaks and Israel shills running the government. Never mind Iraq. Never mind "music" about murder and rape pumping into the brains of millions of kids. Let's talk about homosexuals tongue-kissing!
Yes, all across the nation, people---well, women people---are declaring, "Oh, I really, really want to see 'Brokeback Mountain.'" I hear it constantly. Well, why do you  want to see it? Is it news to you that homosexuals exist? Have you really really never seen a love story before? Or is this just a way of declaring what a humanitarian, egalitarian, wonderful soul you are because you will pay $10.50 to see a flick about a couple of guys who want to get into one another's chaps?
(There is a play on words that comes to mind here, involving "chick flick" and the vice-president's first name, but we'll skip that.)
And then there is the refrain that is rattling (heterosexual) marriages across the land: "Why does this movie upset you so much, Honey? Does it threaten your manhood?"
  Well, speaking for myself, I don't have too much manhood left. It was largely stolen by political correctness and Affirmative Action that denied me a number of jobs and promotions because I was not a female, and not a minority---or at least in one case, not a female minority. But I do what I can---some days I don't even shave or say "please" and "thank you"---but I don't fool anybody, I guess.
Still, the fact that two good ol' fu---er, that is, buckaroos---tongue-kiss one another on the big screen does not threaten my masculinity. It does several other things, though. First, it threatens, or at least insults, my intelligence to be put in the position of having to react to this as though it is an important event in the world.
And yes, it sickens me. I am hard-wired (paging Dr. Freud) to find the sight of two men smooching to be repugnant, disturbing. The DNA strand reading "No possible procreation here" lights up, and my brain command center's "WRONG" receptors are overloaded. This is the heterosexual machinery, functioning as intended.
Yes, as intended.
Of course, the intellectuals and experts challenge this, too. Consider:
"It does seem to be almost culturally universal that heterosexual men can have a deep repulsion to overt homosexuality," said Dean Hamer, scientist and author of "The Science of Desire: The Gay Gene and the Biology of Behavior."
(Good, Dean! You're quite a keen observer of your fellow man, and perhaps their jeans.)
"But," he added, "there is no study I know of to ascertain whether this is a biologically based trait."
Brilliant! These eggheads always throw that out: "no study," "no evidence." No evidence other than the behavior of billions of humans throughout history, that's all. Well, Dean, nobody ever taught me that homosexuality was evil. It's a wonder I turned out "straight." And by the way, what a slyly pejorative term that is, eh? As in "straight and narrow," unimaginative, unadventurous. Not a very gay idea! Funny how it has been picked up by the media as a conventional term. . .
But disregard this rant, as I'm just a homophobe. Never mind that I have no problem with "gay marriage." Never mind that some of my best friends. . .well, you get the drift.
Or maybe you don't.
Take my dear old friend, Donna (please), who has stopped speaking to me because of "Brokeback Mountain!" Really. Now, Donna is a nice lady, and a brilliant author/writer, but whenever I express an opinion with which she disagrees, she gets snippy, and sends little repressed hostilities my way in the form of e-mail.
The other day, I asked her what movies she had seen. She gave me a list. I wrote back that I didn't know some of them, liked others, intended to see still others, but would not see "Brokeback Mountain."
"I find the sight of two men kissing to be repugnant," I wrote. Of course, I added "I find the sight of a man and woman kissing to be almost as repugnant," but I guess that didn't help. I received a crisp note informing me that I was "proselytizing." What's more, she had not asked my opinion about the movies, and requested that I do not "proselytize" in future e-mails.
She finished this with the veneer of civility: thnx."
Worried, I wrote back, asking her why she reacted with such um. . .intolerance. That I thought we were just having that most ubiquitous of L.A. conversations: the movie chat.
No reply!
Hey, Donna, guess what: I'm proselytizing again! Thnx yourself!
See? "Brokeback Mountain" is breaking people apart. But then, that's what it is designed to do-or at least, that's what the studio and PR departments hoped would happen. They loftily call it "provoking controversy," of course, and claim they are making people re-think stereotypes. (Translation: they are making money.)
Hey, I'm rethinking a stereotype because of this film. I mean, was John Wayne swaggering or swishing? This gives whole new implications to yeee-ha, doesn't it? The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Cowboys should sue. Or maybe not. "Brokeback," after all, plays like a comic horse opera. It's like what Letterman said the other night, in summarizing the plot---something like "these two cowboys go out and have a rough day on the range, roundin' up dogies, then at the end of the day, they go home, and they kiss." That's a howl.
And the clips of "Brokeback" dialogue I've heard on radio break me up. They sound like an old Richard Pryor album. Two crusty, gruff, masculine cowhands mutter in taciturn cowboy cadence---you know, with the wide open spaces between their sentences---about how they "cain't" let this feelin' come over 'em agin. . .
This had me on the floor, in full homophobic seizure.
And if that bothers you, Dr. Weinberg, I'd say that probably makes you a heterophobe.
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