18 January, 2006

Quick, Somebody Find Me A Crack Pipe

Today I am sick of being responsible. I've had it with the getting up in the morning and getting things done and behaving appropriately. I'm tired of not hurting all the people I care about. I want to live selfishly and just forget about the feelings of others. Then the world will celebrate my passion and give me awards.

Brokeback Mountain. Sigh. I have a real problem with it, and it's not the Gay part. It's the "love story" part.

I've always hated Romeo & Juliet (and it's singin' 'n' dancin' cousin West Side Story) because of it's billing as a Love Story. One minute the dude is "In love" iwth Rosalind or Rosamund or Rosawhatever and then Juliet trips into his eyeline. From there on out it's two kids disregarding the pain they are causing everyone else to pursue their needs first. Call it lust, call it passion, call it what you will. But that ain't love.

Now we're back to Brokeback Mountain, another stirring passion story disguised as love. When I read the Annie Proulx short story many moons ago my first response was to consider this a tragedy. Quite frankly, I'm surprised at the marketing for the film, because the story is--at its root--tragic. These men allow their passion and desire for one another to wreak havoc and destruction on their own innocence (symbolized by the death of the sheep during their first encounter) and then on those around them. They cause their wives grief and pain with constant betrayal.

I know how I would feel if my husband had any lover of any gender on the side througout our marriage. I definitely wouldn't counsider him tragic and star-crossed. I would, perhaps, consider him dead. I darn sure wouldn't give him awards.

8 Comments:

At 12:34 PM, January 18, 2006, Blogger P. K. Nail said...

I think the real tragedy of Brokeback Mountain is that, in a world where people aren't shunned and/or beaten to death for choosing a certain way to live, Ennis and Jack might never have married at all, and the women they ended up marrying would never have been hurt. Unfortunately, that world did not exist at the time the story takes place. Still doesn't, really, in a lot of places.

I think the movie does a great job of dealing with the complicated situations and emotions that led to and resulted from the relationship between Jack and Ennis. They're not excused for what they do to their wives. The movie definitely sympathizes with those women and sees them as victims. But the point is that these are two people who are in love and forbidden - even before they are married and have responsibilities - from ever really being together.

Regardless of the marketing, the movie itself is definitely a tragedy, on a lot of levels.

 
At 1:09 PM, January 18, 2006, Blogger Kat Coble said...

I think the movie does a great job of dealing with the complicated situations and emotions that led to and resulted from the relationship between Jack and Ennis.

That was the impression I got from the source material, and is why I'm puzzled about the constant selling of this film as a "love" story.

 
At 1:13 PM, January 18, 2006, Blogger P. K. Nail said...

why I'm puzzled about the constant selling of this film as a "love" story

I guess they figure that's the easiest way to sell tickets. :P

 
At 5:27 PM, January 18, 2006, Anonymous tom said...

Yeah, definitely.

If you tell them that everyone's favorite piece of eye candy Jake Gyllenhall dies (which is SOOOOO obvious to anyone who's paid attention to the previews) No one is going to see it.

 
At 6:20 PM, January 18, 2006, Blogger Lee said...

Aaarrgh! C'mon people, spoiler notices.

Not that I had a real desire to see the movie, but others might.

 
At 3:06 PM, January 19, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can you give me examples of what you think a good love story is? I think most of them are tragic. Love in real life often is, so why not in fiction? Even the Shakespeare reference is important - the works are generally divided into 3 main categories: sonnets & poems, comedies & tragedies, histories. Love stories is not a category. Love is violent and tragic and painful. Hollywood romantic comedies and fluffy paperback novels don't do anything to teach us to be careful of others and lovingly committed to our current partners. I thought the movie was a beautiful love story. I felt those women's pain, but I thought it was more complex than insisting those men deny their passion or hope for a better, more understanding society where they could live their passion. I guess I wouldn't any more wish for those women to be in passionless marriages than for them to be left by their husbands for other men, or even be cheating on them.

-Fred

 
At 4:42 PM, January 19, 2006, Blogger Kat Coble said...

Hollywood romantic comedies and fluffy paperback novels don't do anything to teach us to be careful of others and lovingly committed to our current partners.

You thought this movie DID?!? Okaaaay.

There are all kinds of Love stories. Love is a story. Jane Eyre is about loving people in spite of their flaws. She was plain, he was a monster married to a monster.

Pride & Prejudice is excellent for using its multiple plot threads for detailing the various kinds of romantic love and how they affect the larger society both positively and negatively.

Love stories are NOT a category in Shakespeare primarily because Romantic love was viewed as a comical hobby of the upper classes. Shakespeare's works are designed to entertain the lower classes and they do so by providing the hoi polloi with a healthy dose of Schadenfreude. "Love" in Shakespeare is either funny (Taming of the Shrew) or tragic (Hamlet.)

But, you know, Shakespeare didn't invent literature, and literature didn't stop with him. There are plenty of Love stories--such as the ones I mentioned above--that are not nascently tragic. I tend to dislike tragic love stories of any stripe (witness my utter hatred of Anna Karenina). I am irked that this film perpetuates the notion of true love as a Ruling Passion that destroys everyone in its path.

 
At 3:29 PM, March 26, 2007, Anonymous La BellaDonna said...

Love is the most painful thing there is.

(Yes, even more than the kidney stones, and I'm not belittling them, believe me. It's just, eventually, they pass.)

 

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