Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Brokeback Mountain

The Conversion of Saint Paul
3 Epiphany

2 Hilary

I went with some college friends and most of the Georgetown students to see Brokeback Mountain last week. The cinema was full. I warned one of the guys that if he actually laughed at the sight of a couple of guys in cowboy hats making out, he would get beaten down by some 250 pound queen. And I would not come to his defense.

In fairness, if I saw anybody making out and wearing cowboy hats, it would be hard not to laugh. Cowboy hats are just like that.

The film was very sad. It did not end very pleasantly. But it was a very good and well-done film.

It was particularly noteworthy that our lil' Irish friend kept complaining about the country western soundtrack all the way through:

(I'll let you imagine the accent) "Oh my goodness, the music is so horrible. Look at that guy, he's cryin.' No wonder he's so unhappy, country western music depresses everybody."

Well, yeah.

Some commentators have found it noteworthy that the religious right is throwing a big fit over Brokeback, but not Hostel, a film about torture. Rather, that depicts torture. For fun.

So let me anticipate a comment or two that I might get. Many Christians believe it important that they contribute to a culture in which people are pressured to have sex only in ways of which those Christians approve. Many Christians believe it's important to contribute to a culture that respects life and human dignity to such a degree that "dehumanization as entertainment" would never be an option. Do you rank one of those things as more important than the other? In theory? In practice?

Why do you think ancient Christians so conspicuously skipped important civic entertainments such as circuses and gladiator bouts?

I'm starting to understand what Hauwerwas is getting at in terms of "letting the world know it's the world." Come back tomorrow. Things are going to get a little mean.

Get Religion: "Some Sins Are Okay"
Amy Welborn: "Hostel Takeover"


Ben Finger said...

Aren't they gay shepherds ;O)

+ Alan said...

I think they are shepherds. Just soudns more dramatic to say "cowboys" I guess.

Anyway, I think we get way too wound up about movies made about whatever and how the "world" should behave and how that effects us. Sure, there are all manner of agendas going on in movies in Hollywood or from wherever - there always have been. So what.

Sure, babies are killed every day here and people are killed by the State in gas chambers and yes, people do torture people for fun. We don't like to think about it but it happens. They catch a few of them but they're out there. This is a sick sick world.

So, what should we be about? How do we participate in it's healing? By bitching about gay shepherd movies? Or movies depicting Jesus as a real human being (Last Temptation of Christ)? By pickiting abortion clinics?? I personally don't think so. I'm not sure what good that does anyone.

How about let's be about the business of being the Church and being transformed by the Kingdom in us and naturally allowing that to infect the world around us as we live. That's my vote. OK, homily over. Peace.

Bryan said...

Amen. Well said Abbot Alan.

Aaron said...

i think perhaps the proliferation and acceptance as societal norm of an errant and perverse sexuality is a bigger fish to fry in the United States than torture, present i'm sure in far lesser degree.

that being said, holiness should not discriminatory.

Anonymous said...

I haven't seen Brokeback Mountain, although I am planning on it. I have seen Hostel, and I can tell you, it made me appreciate the sanctity of all human life, regardless of religious persuasion.

So many people, especially now that I am back in conservative southern Idaho, complain about the moral issues present in these films. But (As I have not seen Brokeback, I can only speak about Hostel), it spoke volumes about the directors view of human life. Something sacred.

It was terribly graphic and quite disgusting at times, but so was the "Passion of the Christ." And very few of my friends, outside of fundies, were going off about that film.

Overall, I wouldn't recommend Hostel to most. But, for those who want to see culture meet the cross, I think seeing it and others present us with a foothold, so to speak, that would otherwise be lacking. I agree with Alan, let's be transformed by the Kingdom in us and plow the culture we have been placed in towards on of Kingdom values AND acceptance.

katie said...

Forget comparing sex to violence, why not compare sex to sex. It's interesting that no one feels like protesting Heath Ledger's other movie "Casanova" which seems to me to be an extreme perversion of Christian ideas concerning sex and love.

Kyle said...

Aaron, are you sure torture isn't an issue for Americans? Aside from all that, I do agree with Alan and Mike ( that whether or not the culture itself glorifies or condemns particular moral stances has little to do with the Kingdom.

Good point, Katie.

Thanks for commenting, everybody.

Ben Finger said...

I overheard a line from a conversation at another table today. The individual whom is a lesbian made the remark about how Christians will love inmates in prison but damn people like her to hell. She then followed it up by saying well hell I haven't killed anyone yet. Food for thought.

#Debi said...

I only had a couple of thoughts while reading your post.

1) I have tried that thing where you're wearing a cowboy hat and try to kiss someone else also wearing a cowboy hat (back in my "Honeysuckle Rose" days, but no one knows that movie any more). It's darned difficult to accomplish. The brims keep banging together.

2) Did you by chance point out to your Irish friend the irony of him calling C&W music depressing? Now you know I'm a big fan of Irish music, but seriously, a lot of it is very morose...

3) I haven't heard of this movie Hostel, but if I were ranking sins (which I try not to do, since God seems not to) I'd put torture down as worse than homosexuality. Torture is generally not consentual (if it were, it'd be called S&M), whereas the two parties involved in gay sex are generally both equally "sinning" (unless you're in prison, and that, again, is another story).

Anonymous said...

Debi makes a very good point. But, again, I can't rank sins.

Ben also brings up a good thought, why are we more open towards some sinners and less open to others? I thought we all had the same human heart... anywho, I don't feel like throwing my 2 cents in, you all already know what they are.

Kyle said...