Aesthetic Abnormality

On a recent Friday night "date night" with my wife, we squirmed through the trailer of "Brokeback Mountain." Directed by Ang Lee, the movie is further evidence that we, as a culture, are plummeting down a slippery slope, having sacrificed morality on the altar of civil rights. In most circles, it's being called the "Gay Cowboy Movie." It's a romantic tale of two male cowboys who meet and fall in love while working together as sheep ranch hands near Wyoming's Brokeback Mountain in the summer of 1961. The film is already being pumped as one of the years' best and is almost guaranteed to garner lots of critical acclaim and awards.

But how audiences receive it, is another story.

As much as the societal gatekeepers of "compassion" and "sensitivity" attempt to frame homosexuality as a viable alternative lifestyle, the majority of Americans still view it for what it is: abnormal. But the lines are clearly drawn and it appears "Brokeback Mountain" will engender another round of skirmishes.

Jared, with Thinklings, posted a brief commentary on the movie at the WorldMag Blog which ballooned into 120 plus comments before he pulled the plug. Most of the contributors were avowedly supportive of homosexuality and took Jared to task. Apparently, the post was picked up on Google News and quickly spread to gay sex blogs, who issued marching orders to their troops. The comments range from intelligent and courteous, to crude and hateful.

It appears a line of sorts is being drawn with this movie. To some folks, to see the film and enjoy it, is the equivalent of condoning homosexuality. To not see the film and/or not like it, is homophobic. In other words, your stance toward the movie is indicative of your stance toward same gender sex. Is this rationale valid?

Of course we must make a distinction between the aesthetics of the movie and its message. I can freely admit Elton John is a good songwriter without condoning his sexual preference. To judge objectively, we must separate art from the artist. Likewise, there's probably some very good things about "Brokeback Mountain." Good cinematography, direction, dialogue, acting, etc. However, I will not see the film because the subject matter is repulsive. To me, there is no redemptive value in a film that legitimates homosexuality. Now it could be argued that the story is about real people struggling with real emotional issues. Point taken. Nevertheless, we cannot separate the film from its culture.

The arts have always influenced and been influenced by the cultural climate of their times. If the response to Jared's piece is any indication, our culture remains at an important juncture. Even if "Brokeback Mountain" is neutral toward homosexuality, the fact that its centerpiece is two gay men, played by two prominent actors, directed by an acclaimed director, in a mainstream film, with a big budget, raises the stakes. At the very least, films like "Brokeback Mountain" tend to "normalize" the homosexual lifestyle. But coalitions of gays and lesbians see it as much more. They have planted a flag here and will make a stand.

So get ready for the gushing reviews, the year end awards and the touting of a new era for "civil" (i.e., homosexual) rights. Nevertheless, I ain't seeing it. Call me homophobic, gay basher or censor. I just happen to believe that no amount of aesthetics -- great cinematography, direction, acting or storytelling -- can make homosexuality what it is not: normal.


Heather Smith said...

A verse saying the wrong will be called right, and right will be called wrong comes to mind. Those who stand with a Biblical point of view are constantly put down at "hatemongers." I don't hate homosexuals, but I have a right to disagree with them. And like you, I definitely won't be seeing this movie. I won't be made to think this is normal!

Gina Holmes said...

That movie reminds me of a play I was taken to see for my birthday. Reference after reference to homosezuality was made. It was supposed to be funny but was just perverted and disgusting. I would have walked out if it wasn't a present. But I wouldn't have wanted to sit through a play about straight people using disgusting references to body parts to get laughs either. The play was well done but a good portion of the audience looked as uncomfortable as I felt.

I'd think this movie probably will not have very good sales, critical acclaim or not.

Kelly Klepfer said...

I don't know why it's politically incorrect to object to seeing anyone make out. I am not a prude, or anti-fun, or anti-expression.

I won't see it for the same reason I refuse to watch teen sex romps. Putting sex before and outside of the proper relationship cheapens it.

Just like dumping sewage in a pristine mountain lake steals the benefit and the beauty of the created purpose. You can still swim in a sewage filled lake, heck, you can even have fun. But you're poisoning yourself in the process, and the others around you who just might be thirsty.

Whoa - almost as long a rant as Mike's. Okay, I'm stepping away from the soap box. : )

mike duran said...

Nowhere close to one of my rants. A good start, Kelly, but it takes time. Like they say though, the rant of a thousand words begins with the first breath.

jared said...

Thanks for the link(s), brother.

And hope you make it into the InFuze book!

evandahlke said...

What about those poor cowboys who have created such a strong masculine image. Now they are going to have to wear pretty pink paisley shirts, shave, color their hair and put rhinestones on their belt buckles in order to be politically correct. Sorry guys!