Howdy, partners. Don't know if'n y'all heard about it yet, but we're a-fixin' to be talkin' about cowboys a whole bunch in the next few weeks. Yup, cowboys. 'Cept these cowboys are little different from the hard-ridin' wranglers we all grew up a-watchin' on the television. These cowpokes are gay. Yup.
Unless you've spent the last couple of weeks in a cave, you've heard by now about the new movie, Brokeback Mountain. Based on a short story originally published in The New Yorker, the film is the tale of a ranch hand and a rodeo cowboy who meet in the summer of 1963 while sheepherding in the mountains of Wyoming. The two form a bittersweet sexual and emotional relationship that continues through their subsequent marriages, children, etc.
Critics nationwide have raved about the film. And it's already won "film of the year" from both the New York and Los Angeles film critics and has garnered seven Golden Globe nominations. In a limited opening last weekend -- on five screens in New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco -- Brokeback Mountain sold out every screening.
But will it play in Peoria? Or Cleveland? Or Memphis? Is middle America really ready to embrace a movie about cowboys who aren't, um, straightshooters? Who knows?
What I do know, or at least can predict, is that there will be a firestorm from those who object to any attempt to portray the "homosexual lifestyle" in anything but a negative light. Which, I suppose, helps make the movie's central point: There is no singular gay lifestyle, any more than there is a "straight lifestyle." Just lives, lived as best we can live 'em, pardner.
Bruce VanWyngarden, Editor
(such a sky and such a sun
i never knew and neither did you
and everybody never breathed
quite so many kinds of yes) — e. e. cummings