The film review that changed my mind

"Brokeback Mountain" was not my favorite movie. Although it was a good (if artsy) film, I thought it a bit slow for my tastes, and as I complained in an earlier post, I saw it as being unfair to the so-called "Red States."

But a man named David Kupelian who writes for WorldNetDaily seems to think "Brokeback Mountain" is the very epitome of evil. His long, no-holds-barred attack on the film is one of the most obsessive movie reviews I have ever read. I don't want to bore readers with extensive quoting, but I think people who want to understand what's inside the minds of anti-gay thinking (I don't want to use the overwrought term "bigotry" lest I offend people who agree with Kupelian) should read it.

He calls the film an example of "the marketing of evil" and his central thesis is that "Brokeback Mountain" is doing for homosexuality what the Marlboro Man did for Marlboro cigarettes (and presumably what Ronald McDonald did for evil foods). Except worse, for he obviously considers homosexuality as striking at the heart of all he holds dear.

Argumentum ad Hitlerum is of course invoked, and various analogies are made about what "Hollywood" could have done:

Do we understand that Hollywood could easily produce a similar movie to "Brokeback Mountain," only this time glorifying an incest relationship, or even an adult-child sexual relationship? Like "Brokeback," it too would serve to desensitize us to the immoral and destructive reality of what we're seeing, while fervently coaxing us into embracing that which we once rightly shunned.

All the filmmakers would need to do is skillfully make viewers experience the actors' powerful emotions of loneliness and emptiness – juxtaposed with feelings of joy and fulfillment when the two "lovers" are together – to bring us to a new level of "understanding" for any forbidden "love." Alongside this, of course, they would necessarily portray those opposed to this unorthodox "love" as Nazis or thugs. Thus, many of us would let go of our "old-fashioned" biblical ideas of morality in light of what seems like the more imminent and undeniable reality of human love in all its diverse forms.

A "Brokeback"-type movie could easily be made, for instance, to portray a female school teacher's affair with a 14-year-old student as "a magnificent love story." And I'm not talking about the 2000 made-for-TV potboiler, "All-American Girl: The Mary Kay Letourneau Story," about the Seattle school teacher who seduced a sixth-grade student, went to prison for statutory rape, and later married the boy having had two children by him. I'm talking about a big-budget, big-name Hollywood masterpiece aimed at transforming America through film, just as Hitler relied on master filmmaker Leni Riefenstahl to make propaganda films to manipulate the emotions of an entire nation.

In place of "Brokeback Mountain's" scene with the castrated homosexual, the "adult-child love story" could have a similar scene in which, as a young girl, the future teacher's mother took her to see the body of a woman who had fallen in consensual "love" with a 14-year-old boy, only to be brutalized, her breasts cut off, and bludgeoned to death – all by Nazi-like bigoted neighbors. (So that's why she couldn't be honest and open about her later relationship with her student.)

Inevitably, such a film would make us doubt our former condemnation of adult-child sex, or at least reduce our outrage as we gained more "understanding" and sympathy for the participants. It would cause us to ask the same question one reviewer asked after seeing "Brokeback Mountain": "In an age when the fight over gay marriage still rages, 'Brokeback Mountain,' the tale of two men who are scarcely even allowed to imagine being together, asks, through the very purity with which it touches us: When it comes to love, what sort of world do we really want?"

OK, I'll bite. Let's talk about love. The critics call "Brokeback Mountain" a "pure" and "magnificent" love story. Do we really want to call such an obsession – especially one that destroys marriages and is based on constant lies, deceit and neglect of one's children – "love"?

What if I were a heroin addict and told you I loved my drug dealer? What if I told you he always makes me feel good, and that I have a hard time living without him, and that I think about him all the time with warm feelings of anticipation and inner completion? And that whenever we get together, it's the only time I feel truly happy and at peace with myself?

Oh, you don't approve of my "love"? You dare to criticize it, telling me my relationship with my drug dealer is not real love, but just an unhealthy addiction? What if I respond to you by saying, "Oh shut up, you hater. How dare you impose your sick, narrow-minded, oppressive values on me? Who are you, you pinch-faced, moralistic hypocrite, to define for me what real love is?"

Don't laugh. I guarantee Hollywood could make a movie about a man and his drug dealer, or an adult-child sexual relationship, that would pull on our emotions and create some level of sympathy for the characters. Furthermore, in at least some cases, it would make us doubt our conscience – a gift directly from God, the perception of right and wrong that he puts in each one of us – our inner knowing that this was a totally unhealthy and self-destructive relationship.

Yeah, I guess they could have glorified pedophiles or heroin dealers. They also could have made a movies glorifying Charles Manson, Richard Speck, or John Wayne Gacy. But those things and people are not what this film is about.

Occasionally, I need a reminder of the fact that there are people in this world who don't merely oppose gay marriage, they don't just think that two men screwing is gross; they think homosexuality is one of the greatest evils of which man is capable, that acceptance of it is even more evil, and that this threatens all of Western Civilization.

Suprisingly, Kupelian left out homosexuality causing the fall of Rome. I don't know why. But in his conclusion, he makes it clear that dire consequences await all of us, if we allow "Brokeback Mountain" to change our views:

As I said at the outset, Hollywood has now raped the Marlboro Man. It has taken a revered symbol of America – the cowboy – with all the powerful emotions and associations that are rooted deep down in the pioneering American soul, and grafted onto it a self-destructive lifestyle it wants to force down Americans' throats. The result is a brazen propaganda vehicle designed to replace the reservations most Americans still have toward homosexuality with powerful feelings of sympathy, guilt over past "homophobia" – and ultimately the complete and utter acceptance of homosexuality as equivalent in every way to heterosexuality.

If and when that day comes, America will have totally abandoned its core biblical principles – as well as the Author of those principles. The radical secularists will have gotten their wish, and this nation – like the traditional cowboy characters corrupted in "Brokeback Mountain" – will have stumbled down a sad, self-destructive and ultimately disastrous road.

There are so many mouthfuls in the review that I'm sorry I can't do it the justice it deserves. For starters I'm getting ready to go on a trip, and I'm already spent valuable time I just don't have...

But let's just take three assumptions from a fragment of a single sentence ("America will have totally abandoned its core biblical principles – as well as the Author of those principles"). While homosexuality is listed in Leviticus as a sin amongst a variety of other sins (including cursing one's parents), does that make it the core of the Bible? And from there to the core of America's principles? How and when did that happen? And from there to abandoning the Author?

From a marketing standpoint, that's even more of a stretch than using cowboys to sell evil.

While I don't think I was changed much by seeing "Brokeback Mountain," Kupelian thinks I was:

Changed indeed. And that's the goal. Film is, by its very nature, highly propagandistic. That is, when you read a book, if you detect you're being lied to or manipulated, you can always stop reading, close the book momentarily and say, "Wait just a minute, there's something wrong here!" You can't do that in a film: You're bombarded with sound and images, all expertly crafted to give you selected information and to stimulate certain feelings, and you can't stop the barrage, not in a theater anyway. The visuals and sound and music – and along with them, the underlying agenda of the filmmakers – pursue you relentlessly, overwhelming your emotions and senses.

And when you leave the theater, unless you're really objective to what you've experienced, you've been changed – even if just a little bit.

I honestly didn't feel changed until I read the entirety of Mr. Kupelian's review.

I've now changed my mind. Not what I think about the general quality of the film, mind you. What's changed is that the Kupelian review makes me now want to support the film any way I can, simply to oppose mindsets like his. While I'm too cynical to engages in such antics, I almost feel like sending a donation to Hollywood.

For me, that's a change.

AFTERTHOUGHT: This might be totally irrelevant, but I knew one of the Marlboro Men, and he was no virgin. In fact the guy was gay.

Hmmmm....

Maybe Kupelian is onto something about the marketing of evil. Cigarettes are called "fags" in England, aren't they?

MORE: If David Kupelian hated "Brokeback Mountain," I doubt he'll like the upcoming Hollywood film about a professional football player named Dave Kopay:

Kopay, who at 6-feet and 213 pounds is seven pounds below his playing weight, is working with a screenwriter on a film treatment of the “David Kopay Story.” It will center on his relationship with tight end Jerry Smith while both played for the Washington Redskins in 1969 and 1970. Smith died of AIDS in 1987 while never publicly admitting his homosexuality. To honor Smith’s desire for privacy, Kopay never mentioned him by name in the book, though he was a catalyst in Kopay’s coming out.

Smith “was my first major [gay] experience and the first person I thought I could love,” Kopay said.

His love for Smith and his love for football are evident, and Kopay realizes his sport gave him opportunities and experiences he could have gotten in no other profession.

“There’s nothing like running out on a Saturday afternoon before 72,000 in Husky Stadium. There’s nothing that will ever fill that void. There’s nothing like the rush of playing on Monday Night Football.

“I would do it again.”

Sounds unrepentant as hell.

But alas! I never really enjoyed football. So I doubt I'd like that film either.

(I guess I'm becoming a rather obnoxious old poop.)

posted by Eric on 01.06.06 at 03:49 PM










Comments

This is where the homophobic right agrees with the PC Left: the point of art is didactic, not artistic. Ergo, the mere act of depicting a homo relationship is endorsing it, because it doesn't moralize about it or condemn it. Just like GLAAD, CAIR, & the NAACP are always crying about Hollywood needing to portray 'good role models'. Fuck role models. Do you want art or agitprop?

beautifulatrocities   ·  January 7, 2006 12:10 AM

As a heterosexual female, I hope the football story has more of a love interest than Brokeback apparently does. I haven't seen the film yet, but from the reviews it apparently follows the short story pretty closely.

In that story, the relationship is portrayed as more of an obsession than love. Perhaps that's because they weren't socially able to allow love to grow from the obsession, and maybe that's the point of the story.

I just hate most of Annie Proulx's stuff and that is really coloring my desire to see the film.

Donna B.   ·  January 7, 2006 3:02 PM

Here's my rant for the day: Jesus didn't say one bad word about homosexuality, I believe, because as the Son of God, he KNEW homosexuality was a genetic trait that could not be undone.

He did, however, condemn divorce, something we Christians do in droves. Why? Because we focus not on Christ’s words as the template for conduct but instead of the writings of Paul.

When stuff like this comes up (Brokeback Mountain, gay marriage, etc.) the Christian right scrambles to holler about it, yet no one condemns movies about adultery or divorce. No one stands up to ask how come so many Christian marriages end up in divorce.

The way I see it, homosexuality is the "mote" in our neighbor's eye, when we as Christians have the "beam" of divorce in our own eye.

Divorce is a crisis in the Christian world, the destruction of the family unit, and yet what do we choose to argue about at Christian conventions? Homosexuality.

What do we choose to rant about in World Net Daily? Brokeback Mountain.

Bonnie   ·  January 7, 2006 3:34 PM

So, if I didn't like the movie I'm a "homophobe?"

anonymous   ·  January 8, 2006 8:58 PM

Every time I hear about this movie, I can't help but think of the South Park episode where an indy film festival comes to town. The whole time, Cartman mocks all indy films as just being about, "Gay cowboys eating pudding."

Strikingly prescient of him. Well, except for the bit about pudding.

Beck   ·  January 9, 2006 9:40 AM

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