Brokeback Mountain and the Passion of the Left: Deconstructing the Deconstructers
This intrigued me, so I decided to do some investigating. I went to the website for the movie, which has links to many of the reviews. Reading the reviews made me realize that this is indeed the secular Passion of the Christ. It has so many religious overtones that the implicit message is inescapable, and demonstrates the religious underpinnings of secular belief.
In my very first post on this blog, Where Did the PC Virus Come From?, I put forth the idea that political correctness is a specifically Western perversion of Christianity, since Christianity is the religion that elevates the ultimate victim to the status of Godhood: God is the innocent victim and the innocent victim is God. But in the bi-logic of the unconscious mind, the message easily becomes distorted, so that all victims are seen as sacrificial-victim gods. Therefore, improperly understood, this Christian cognitive template puts in place a sort of cultural "race to the bottom" in competition for who is more oppressed, and therefore, more godlike. People who actually practice Christianity don't generally have this confusion. Rather, it is only secular types who are nevertheless parasitic on the deep structure of a specifically Christian phenomenology.
Therefore, in secular liberal iconography, the victim is by definition godlike by virtue of his being persecuted and oppressed. Brokeback Mountain deals with one of the holiest of holies of leftist iconography, the homosexual. Being that homosexuals are by definition victimized by a homophobic society that hates their innocent expressions of love, homosexuals are elevated to the highest realm of the leftist pantheon.
The movie strains to convey the message that those who do not celebrate homosexuality are at war with nature. Under the title of the movie, the newspaper ad even proclaims "Love is a Force of Nature." This is because in the upside down world of the secularist, who has removed God from the equation, nature becomes the highest expression to which humans may aspire. If you deny nature, you deny God.
In his review, Kenneth Turan of the L.A. Times manages to get in three references to nature and naturalness. The two protagonists are "Alone in nature's grandness," and are "are drawn to each other almost without their knowing it's happening." Turan writes that the film "is determined to involve us in the naturalness and even inevitability of its epic, complicated love story." Moreover, "watching it gradually develop on screen, unfolding with a quiet, step-by-step naturalness, makes it emotionally convincing." In a world devoid of hierarchy, doing what comes naturally is the highest good.
Stephen Holden in the New York Times gets to the heart of the matter with a seemingly gratuitous reference to the writer Leslie Fiedler, who "characterized the bond between Huckleberry Finn and Jim, a runaway slave, as an unconscious romantic attachment shared by two males of different races as they flee the more constraining and civilizing domain of women." Holden adds that Fiedler's observation "certainly could be applied to the Lone Ranger and Tonto.... it might also be widened to include a long line of westerns and buddy movies, from Red River to Midnight Cowboy to Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid: the pure male bonding that dare not explore its shadow side."
This is a fascinatingly backward interpretation of male bonding. The entire basis of culture involves the transformation of the male of the species from aggressively competing with other males to cooperating with them in a desexualized, symbolic manner. As the psychoanalytic anthropologist Weston LaBarre wrote, culture is "the non-bodily and non-genetic contriving of bonds of agreement that enable this animal [males] to function as human. Such relationships--of father and son, and of male and male--must be forged morally....What connects father and son, male and male, is the mystery of logos and logos alone.... logos as laws, agreements, rules, and regularities of behavior."
In other words, culture is founded on the ability of males to rise above nature (including their own nature). Therefore, to elevate nature to the highest is a quite explicit assault on culture and civilization itself. Maleness is given by nature, but manhood isn't. Manhood can only be conveyed from man to man, from fathers to sons (either literally or symbolically). Males must be initiated into manhood, into the "wisdom" that holds males together. To sexualize this link is astoundingly subversive, something the Boy Scouts recognize but leftists do not. It is absolutely vital to civilization that young men be provided with a realm of male love that is unencumbered by sexuality, and there are fewer and fewer such realms available today because of the leftist assault on traditional manhood. This film is truly a shot across the civilizational bow.
Not surprisingly, one of the protagonists of Brokeback Mountain has a dysfunctional relationship with his own father. Ennis is "haunted by a childhood memory of his father taking him to see the mutilated body of a rancher, tortured and beaten to death with a tire iron for living with another man," and "is immobilized by fear and shame." Here is the reversal of the male-to-male civilizing process: a wicked father who has failed to initiate his son into the ways of manhood, and instead conveys the message that the world of the Fathers is a violent and oppressive one.
Holden draws exactly the wrong message, writing that "America's squeaky closet doors may have swung open far enough for a gay rodeo circuit to flourish. But let's not kid ourselves. In large segments of American society, especially in sports and the military, those doors remain sealed. The murder of Matthew Shepard, after all, took place in Brokeback territory. Another recent film, Jarhead, suggests how any kind of male behavior perceived as soft and feminine within certain closed male environments triggers abuse and violence and how that repression of sexual energy is directly channeled into warfare."
Even if Matthew Shepard had been murdered because he was gay, these would not be examples of manhood, but failures of the culture to properly initiate these violent and abusive males into manhood.
Jan Stuart in Newsday is also amazingly clueless in her analysis, writing that "the two intrepid young actors manage to bust up several mythologies," including "the myth of the cowboy West, a land of manlier-than-thou men who release any pent-up longings with a quick stop at the local cathouse and a long drag on a Marlboro cigarette." Again we see an explicit devaluing of the realm of the masculine, even the possibility of a non-sexualized and nonviolent realm of manhood. Not surprisingly, sex and violence are linked in the film: "Their simmering mutual attraction overtakes them by surprise, in a violent coital burst."
Stuart also makes explicit the Biblical connection to paradise and fallen man, except that it is not a catastrophic fall away from God, but from nature: the movie "coaxes audiences to walk several hundred miles in its characters' shoes, luring us with the scent of forbidden fruit," as "the men attempt to re-create their youthful Eden on the sly over the ensuing years."
Mike LaSalle in the San Francisco Chronicle finds implicit resonance with the revelation of Sinai, writing that the film "makes no sense, except in one place in the world, the place where it started, on Brokeback Mountain in Wyoming. And though they come down from that mountain and go about their lives, they keep going back to it, over the course of years, because however much the love doesn't make sense, it's real - so real, it makes their lives unreal." Again, it's the reverse Sinai-dispensation of the secular left: that nature is the highest to which we may aspire, the only thing in the world that makes sense.
Roger Ebert in the Chicago Sun Times also makes reference to the dysfunctional father that is at the heart of the movie, quoting Ennis: "There were two old guys shacked up together. They were the talk of the town, even though they were pretty tough old birds." One day they were found beaten to death. Ennis says: "My dad, he made sure me and my brother saw it. For all I know, he did it."
So the father not only fails in his civilizing mission, he is the murderer at the heart of the film. This is the original sin: the violent father symbolically murdering his own son instead of ushering him into manhood. Indeed, Ebert acknowledges that "This childhood memory is always there, the ghost in the room.... When he was taught by his father to hate homosexuals, Ennis was taught to hate his own feelings." This film goes way back, all the way to the beginning of civilization: Abraham, the primordial father, instead of pulling back and founding monotheism, sacrifices Isaac and initiates the Culture of the Holy Victim.
Ebert gushes that Brokeback Mountain is "the story of a time and place where two men are forced to deny the only great passion either one will ever feel."
Perpetual victims, crucified for doing what comes naturally. The Passion of the Secularist.
Just in case it isn't clear, I am writing about deeper cultural trends, not about particular homosexuals, many of whom are obviously fine people. This is about homosexuality being used by the left as a sort of cultural battering ram, in exactly the same way that they use race and "gender." Just as the left doesn't actually care about the interests of blacks but simply uses them to advance the leftist agenda, so too do they use homosexuals for that purpose, the ultimate purpose being to attack the transcendental and hierarchical realm that actually makes us human.