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Brokeback Mountain, in short

Since you can’t actually watch the gay cowboy movie yet unless you live in a place where the Village People have always made sense, you might as well read it. I remember the story when it was first published. I had read The Shipping News not long before and, frankly was a bit disappointed. (I wasn’t as disappointed as Kathy; she never finished it.) Characters sketched with bold, simple strokes; poignant scenes that linger in memory, but not in word. I was distracted by Proulx’s sentences—in the novel they’re often fragments, and weird fragments at that—which felt gimicky, and though the story was compelling, I didn’t see how its telling complemented it. In short succession, though, she wrote a couple of stories about the west, including “Brokeback Mountain.” I felt better about Proulx after I read it. Although I haven’t returned to read it again myself, I remember it being appropriately a short story. Characters sketched with bold, simple strokes; poignant scenes that linger in memory, but not in word. In some ways I imagine a short story makes for an easier film adaptation than a novel does: more freedom to fill in gaps for the director, and for the actors, to leave gaps unfilled. When I get the chance to see the movie, I’ll return to the story again: I am curious to see how it was done.

On the subject, but a bit to the side, Brokeback Mountain already won (since, apparently, according to the DVD-cover copy I religiously read at Blockbuster, to be nominated means “to win”) a buttload of Golden Globe nominations. A man on Keith Olberman’s Countdown today said the movie, because of all its nominations, was a pro-straight activist’s worst nightmare. My only question: Did he smoke crack before he went on camera? The fact that the liberal Hollywood elite lines up to honor a film about gay cowboys will more likely than not make Tony Perkins shudder with anticipation. Not only will he be handed a platform (Hannity and Colmes, Hardball, etc.) on which to stand erect and expostulate on how gays are ruining American families—which is, incidentally, a theme of the story—but also he’ll be able to deliver a final, climactic thrust at Hollywood. Having impaled them all on his spear, he’ll leave the studio for home or hotel, where he’ll throw himself down on his bed at night, exhausted but, yes, satisfied. I could be wrong, but then, nobody’s seen it—yet.

 

Comments

i wasn’t actually “disappointed” by The Shipping News. i just couldn’t read the dang thing…couldn’t get past the gimmicky style thing, as you say.

i think we’ve put ourselves into some kind of box for anti-proulx ignorami by saying so. got to be careful around the MLA crowd… :)

Careful? Naw. We’ll just call ourselves “pundits.” That way we can say anything we want; the MLA goons around here have to prove what they say. They’re the ones who are Zadie-reading professionals!

And no, I didn’t forget that I’m the one reading Benjamin!

i think that you may have to contend with the wrath of the hollywood types rather than that of the mla types.

and, aside from when i went and did my dancing bear show, i’ve never been back…though i fear i may be going back next winter.

had it been a real writer like carl hiaasen, then we’d be have a throw down

i’ve actually never read hiaasen…my knowledge of english writers isn’t as current once was…actually, it never was ever current

Hollywood, schmollywood!

What dancing bear show?

Although, I did notice that you played Jesus again last year….

ahh, yes, somebody’s gotta play jesus…but, i’ve finally shaved my face, much to t’s happiness, and gotten a haircut.

i no longer look like an outlaw, pot-smokin’ prof.; instead, i look younger than over half of my students.

in regards to narnia, which we haven’t seen…but rumor has it that the preacher of a cofc went out and booked a theater on his own card (in an attempt to relive the glorious days of the passion) and then showed trailers as the lead in to his sermons for a month or so as he tried to sell the tickets to his flock

Wow! That’s quite a big stump. I started on a post on Narnia with links to Outreach.com & Zondervan, but my heart wasn’t in it. That link’s better.

It seems strange that Tracy likes you shaved. Kathy asks me to grow a beard every year.

i really should call the mla police on you…reading benjamin and not even being one of us…the nerve!

didn’t you know that despite his never having become one of us, once we accepted him as a “theorist” that effectively foreclosed the reading of him to anyone but the initiated?

zadie-reading professional? what, b/c i get paid $1500 a course?

i will just enjoy being an mla goon this year, as it’s my first and probably last outing as a goon…next year i’m going to try junior league.

oops—I’ve just been informed it’s the Junior Auxiliary. Clearly I am not quite ready to submit my application.

OK, OK. I’ll reserve my anti-professionalism for when everyone but me has jobs…

As for Benjamin, I don’t think it would have matered whether anyone accepted him or not. He was just too afraid of the Nazis to care.