- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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,
- "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
- "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
- 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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