I was surprised that there wasn’t a bigger noise in Utah regarding a popular movie about gay cowboys. Like most fundamentalist churches, the Mormon church doesn’t like the homosexuals. This institutionalized hate and intolerance was one of a list about sixteen miles long of why I’m no longer a Mormon. My more progressive Mormon friends don’t like to talk about this aspect of the church teachings or it’s resultant culture, but it’s right there, under the surface. I expected the movie to be talked about, disdained and not shown except for the arty gay-friendly theater. Which apparently, there are two of in Salt Lake City. So while one could only see the movie in two theaters in the valley, one could still see the movie. This is the heart of Jesusy Good Conservativeland, USA after all.
Heather and I got a babysitter last week and despite me feeling like complete crap, we went and saw Brokeback Mountain. We didn’t see any protesters or signs of angst from the community that this film was playing down to the showhouse. Really fine film. Highly recommend it. It’s very difficult to watch. There is no overt agenda or preachiness. It’s just a story about people falling in love in a culture that doesn’t want to acknowledge that it’s ok to be gay. Kind of like today in most of the U.S. It’s very well told, tragic, and touching. We are an ignorant country, afraid of letting go the deeply genetic Puritan strains from our past. That the lead characters in the story are cowboys makes it more dramatic and compelling. I wasn’t expecting the universality of forbidden love to be so well-played. Heath Ledger is quite convincing, as is Jake Gyllenhaal. Ang Lee definitely atones for Hulk.
Well, my surprise at the lack of reaction was short-lived. It looks like the owner of the Utah Jazz, countless auto dealerships and a few very large megaplex movie theaters is either a homophobe, a bigot or both. I said looks like. Because I don’t know if he is or not. It just looks like it from where I’m sitting.
This morning on a local news show we watched a “debate” about Gay/Straight student alliance clubs in Utah High Schools. Seems the local nutburger Senator who wants his Jesus to run things is sponsoring a bill to outlaw the clubs. On the show, one of the guests was a screechy woman who was trying to say that gay culture was a health hazard and that’s what the issue was about. Countering her was Utah’s out and proud (and awesome) state Senator, Scott McCoy. As with most of these kinds of “discussions”, the right-wing nutjobs always argue that of course they aren’t homophobic. Of course. Mr. McCoy offered one of the best counters in the most relaxed way:
Screechy Nutjob: “Of course I’m not a homophobe. When I worked in New York, half my staff were gay.”
McCoy: “I don’t think you are a homophobe. Homophobes are afraid of gay people. You are a bigot.”