Friday, April 07, 2006

I Wish I Knew How To Make Everybody QUIT IT

Okay, seriously - is this Brokeback Mountain reference thing going to go on forever? I mean, I think it's great so many people have seen a film about homos - oh, wait, not homos, queer love... no, oops, it's just about love, silly me - so sorry! Actually, can we just say it's about queers? Because, although everybody's cooing that it's about universal love and how it should be celebrated no matter what genders it's between, blah bling blah, the fact is that the central theme of the movie is how the characters can't express that love because they are, in fact, queer. I'm not going to get into debate over labels and were they gay, bi, just in love with each other, whatever, because the fact of the matter is that if you fall in sexual love with someone of the same sex you are officially queer. Thank you.

Anyway, I thought it was a pretty good film, with great cinematography, some excellent moments and a nice adherance to the exquisitely written original story. I have to say I can't tell you exactly how good I think it was, because, quite frankly, all the hype clouded my perceptions to the point that I can't decide whether I really liked it or not. But I do know that I'm sick of that hype. The fact is, Brokeback Mountain has become some sort of cutesy shorthand for being gay, and it's really tired.

For example, back in February my friend at Life Below The Line was reporting the annoying prevalence of straight men using Brokeback Mountain to tease each other. You know how it goes, one guy expresses some kind of emotion and the other "jokes" something like "Hey, don't get all Brokeback Mountain on me, here." This may be mildly amusing the first several times, but at this point it's just being used to reinforce the same stereotypes that any other fag jokes do, except just replacing the word "fag" with the hipper version, "Brokeback Mountain." It also allows the straight jokester to deflect any protests to his or her joke by alluding that if they are sensitive and liberal enough to have seen BBM, or even just heard of it (which... who hasn't?), then they can't really be bigoted and offensive. Right.

At the same time, even homages within the gay and gay-friendly world can be tiresome. As Joe.My.God reported, among other things, BBM catchphrases are showing up in both romance and retaliation between gay men. Elsewhere, several sites on the Web have been chuckling over an ice-skating routine done by men dressed as cowboys (did the creators know it was gay? Was it produced before or after BBM? How gay would it be on the scale of gay dependant on that fine point?). Meanwhile, here in NYC, Jacques Torres is selling chocolate Brokeback Bunnies for Easter. Is it an adorable homage, or a passé marketing ploy? Looks like both to me.

Which all boils down to: listen, people, enough's enough. It's just not cute anymore, and it's certainly not fashionable. Yes, even I indulged in references up until several weeks ago, but it has reached its saturation point. So quit it. Because much further and we'll be out of Montana and into Macarena territory.


Helen said...

I call bullshit on your definition of queer. Sexuality comes in every variation and gradation one could imagine. Labeling someone based solely on who they love doesn't make sense, because it doesn't take that into account. I'm just sayin'.

Now the Brokeback jokes...yeah. Wow. Over it. And we're only at the tip of the iceberg...this is the new "Where's the beef?" Sigh.

Da Nator said...

Oh HO, missy my, you call bullshit? Okay, let me clarify.

Traditionally, and even today in the MW dictionary, "queer" means "unconventional" or "homosexual" - usually in a perjorative sense. While the term has morphed over the past couple decades to be both more positive (at least when used within liberal/gay/academic culture) and more comprehensive, I would contend that the Jack and Ennis characters are still queer. Just because queer can now include the genderqueer, bisexual, trans, etc as well as the original homosexual, it doesn't take away from the historic and still understood meaning of queer as it applies to people who have same-sex sexual relationships.

Indeed, in this case it applies even moreso, as the film takes place before this shift in definitions/understanding even take place. Their love is beyond the norms of society, it's gay, and it's beyond the norms because it's gay. If it wasn't, they'd have settled down happily and there'd be no basis for the movie.

Unless you're arguing that there should be no classification of "queer", at all?

As for "Where's the beef?", I thought of that while writing the post and just... couldn't...bring myself to type it. (Shudder.)