Monday, February 13, 2006

Brokeback Mountain (with an unrelated rant about traffic)

I will begin today’s blog post with a small bit if advice to the drivers of the world. If you are at a red light and you decide to turn right on red, be sure to pay attention to the traffic on the street you are turning onto. You see, if your turning right on red causes traffic to need to brake hard…you are cutting it too close and you are a jerk. Also, if you are turning left onto a busy street and because there is a lot of traffic, you do that thing where you go into the left turn lane of the street you are turning onto, please don’t take off down the left turn lane like a bat out of hell while trying to merge into a wall of traffic. You will give me a heart attack when you nearly hit the sweet little old lady who is sitting a couple of blocks up in the left turn lane. Disclaimer: Yes, I know I am probably a worse driver than anyone I am complaining about. I know that there is probably someone out there bitching about the way I drive especially on mornings when I am late. But you know how it is…everyone thinks that everyone else is a worse driver than they are. I am no exception. Still, those people who drive slowly on days that I am late should know better! ;)

Ok, now that I have the driving stuff out of the way, I am going to talk a bit about my weekend. I finally got to see Brokeback Mountain. It was as good as I expected it to be considering how good the short story it is based on is and considering what a good director Ang Lee is. It is such a tragic story. It sticks with a person. It made me think a lot about how so many people are letting their homophobia keep them from a good story. Of course, as tragedies go, some bigots missing out on a good movie is a small one especially when compared to the big sort of tragedy the movie is about. Still, isn’t it those small things that add up?

It is just someone afraid to see this movie because he or she is afraid to see two men kissing. Then, it is a comment at work or maybe a joke told at a family gathering. Maybe in front of a kid. My very wise friend with whom I saw this movie mentioned to me how much she hates it when people she knows make jokes around children about homosexuality (or fat people for that matter). “Because,” she said, “You just never know how that kid will grow up.” It’s true. And even if they don’t consciously remember the comment or joke, they will know deep down that who they are is something people in their own family think is ok to ridicule. It isn’t a tire iron but it causes its own bit of harm.

I have been thinking about what makes this such a good story. I felt I could really relate to the characters in it even though in almost every way they are nothing like me. I remember some lecture some teacher of mine once gave about ‘universal truths’ and how they are what makes for a really good story. Brokeback Mountain has it share of those. There is deep love which is something almost everyone has experienced. And there is the tragedy of loving someone that one cant have for one reason or another which is something I have certainly experienced once or twice. There is that deep cultural hatred that pretty much everyone in this country who isn’t a white man has experienced on one level or another.

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