Sun Pony Ranch

Diary of novice (clueless) ranch owners

Friday, September 08, 2006

So -- Brokeback.

I haven't written much here about my love of Brokeback Mountain. Actually, I've been trying to do just that for some time, but have found that its a struggle. Why do I struggle over this? In part because of the injustices I see strike me as so self evident that I just cannot grasp how anyone could believe that these prejudices are justifiable. Another part is that I'm not into debate or convining others of my arguments. And a big part is that I already have a place where I quite simply don't have to explain my feelings -- because everyone else there already understands them and shares them. Well - at the macro level at least because actually the discussions do get heated to say the least! No one can ever accuse any of us of not being passionate.

So why should I, then, bother to face the struggle to write here? This indeed was the first question I had to settle, and it came down to: Because those of you who actually read this blog are people for whom I care and who I think deserve to get a glimpse of me that otherwise you likely would not.

Dave and I first saw the movie in March, rather late in the theater run actually. Driving home I felt like I'd been sucker punched. Depressed as hell, and feeling the beginnings of the shame that would continue to develop in me as the story plagued my thoughts.

I fairly quickly sought out Brokeback resources online. It took me about a week to discover The Ultimate Brokeback Forum. I went there in search of fan fiction, but I stayed because of the amazing discourse that was being held all over the forum about every imaginable aspect of the movie: it's impact upon it's audience, it's cast and crew, scene and characterization critiques, theatrical imagery discussions, many topics on LGBT issues, as well as a number of purely for fun threads. Of course it is ultimately the people that make a forum good or bad, and I found this group of people to be almost universally caring, open individuals who are witty, poignant, incredibly diverse and brave all at once.

It was through reading many of the posts there, and then eventually starting to post myself, that I started to recognize the shame that was lurking in the back of my psyche. I'd always considered myself absolutely sympathetic of homosexuals. Who was I, after all, to suggest to someone else who they can love? We'd had a handful of gay friends, though none with whom I'd ever discussed gay issues.

It was, in a way, the ultimate in denial: If I'm fine with their orientation, they must be fine, right? If I treat them as if there are no social stigmas surrounding their lifestyle, as if they don't face tremendous pressure just to express who they really are -- then those stigmas and pressures don't exist, right? How naieve.

The movie cracked the door on my realization that many, many homosexuals are not fine. Being on the forum kocked that door clean off its hinges. Many are, in fact, so not fine that they are unable to even acknowledge their true orientation to themselves.

Forget not being able to come out.

Forget not being able to find someone to love and be loved by.

Forget not being able to spend their life with or that person, or, *gasp*, to marry.

All are very real and signficant problem for many gays, but for me the worst tragedy is that we're talking about lying to yourself about who you really are -- because you've been taught that the truth is too horrifying to even consider. To go through life at the least unfulfilled, and at the worst hating yourself because you cannot be at peace with yourself...

That we as a society would sentence anyone to that fate is an inexcuseable crime, in my opinion. True, we no longer live in 1963 rural Wyoming. But the astonishing fact remains that Matthew Shepard was tied to a fence outside of Laramie and beaten to death for being homosexual - 1 year after this short story was published! These prejudices are alive, and the most insidious of them are those that can't be pointed to in the newspapers. With societal issues, if you aren't part of the solution, you are the problem. I can't say I'm part of the solution yet, but I'm trying to educate myself. We signed the petition for a domestic partnership amendment ballot issue in Colorado -- and then tried to recruit my two friends to do the same, but they'd already signed! :) I'm on the alert list for Equal Rights

I've actually only seen the movie 3 times. It is so painful I've found it to be harder to watch each time, and I'm not sure when the next time is that I'll open up my own DVD again. I am, however, going to Chicago in a month to attend a gathering of what looks now to be about 35-40 people from my little corner of the forum. At the gathering we're planning on having a screening, and it is with no little bit of trepedation that quite a few of us look forward to that event. The saving grace will be, of course, that many of us will be seeing it for the first time with kindred spirts. I fully expect that to be an amazingly cathartic night -- but that will be an entry for another time.

Meanwhile I'm quite active in the forum -- both from a purely recreational aspect but I'm also now one of the administrators. I field requests from the team of moderators and general members (nearly 5000 of them) alike and I'm trying to do some site redesign for a number of our websites.

One of the things that impresses me most about this forum is that these people are Do-ers. You might have heard about the advertisement that was purchased by members of the forum after the Academy Awards when BBM did not receive the award for best picture. Instead of sponsoring a complaint letter campaign, these people designed a full paged thank you advertisement addressed to everyone involved in bringing this story to a reality. They garnered national media attention in doing so.

Now, we're publishing a book. The stories being shared about how the movie had a revolutionary impact upon so many lives make up an unprecidented tribute to this extraordinary film. So, they've decided to publish a book of the greatest posts. BEYOND BROKEBACK: The Impact of a Film is to be published in September. And be forewarned, I've ordered my small gross of books -- one is likely to be on it's way to you shortly. ;) No, I'm not trying to push any agenda upon anyone. It's just so many of these stories have touched me in ways I never would have imagined, and I want to share that with you so that maybe you'll see why I'm proud to call myself a Brokeaholic.


On other news (since this is so late in being posted I feel the need to combine topics) Dave and I are headed for Vegas this weekend for his brother Eric's wedding! We're going to dual celebrate with them and in honor of our 13th anniversary which was last week. Woo Hoo -- We'll be having fun, hope you are too.



Blogger amdaz said...

As one of a forum member who are so proud to call you a friend I can't say enough how grateful I am to be given the chance to know you Monica.
Soon I will meet you in person, all because of a little movie that dared.



9/12/06, 3:01 PM  
Anonymous Cynical21 said...

If the whole world was filled with people with hearts and minds like yours, and the ability to see people for what they are rather than what the uptight world thinks they should be, we would be well on our way to discovering a true paradise on earth. Speaking for the Dave Cullen forum, we are ever so proud to call you friend.


9/12/06, 7:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


What wonderful, inspirational, and deep thoughts to share. You put my same feelings into an emotional and meaningful post. I'm one of those who considers you a friend, and I feel blessed to have met you and many others on the DC forum.

Brokeback Mountain is something special, something that has shaken me to the core, and has made me think seriously about the issues that surround me and others I care about. I appreciate your words and the care that went into them. I sincerely feel the same way as you, and I am trying to become a better person as a result of this beautiful, life-changing movie. These characters and their love live within me, and the choices I make, everyday.

I can't wait to meet you in a few short weeks.


9/12/06, 7:21 PM  
Anonymous Melissasjack said...

My Dear Monica,
In just a few weeks now, we will be able to meet in person, although I for one have had the true pleasure of knowing you all these past months at Dave Cullen. What a beautiful, warm, wonderful, and intelligent woman you are! I am proud and honored to be counted as one of your friends. It still amazes me that this one little movie, that has grown to beloved proportions among those of us who understand, has had the power to bring such a group of wonderful diverse people together...and hold us all together strong so that when we are together it is like we are a family, and together, we can start changing the world we live in to make it brighter for all those folks out there facing Jack & Ennis's fate, or any other kind of fera or oppression.
You are amazing, Monica....
I am lucky to know you.
Your friend,

9/12/06, 7:31 PM  
Anonymous planetgal471 said...

You are such an inspiration to us. I have to admit that sometimes Brokeback is an issue I avoid at work or with my more conservative family members, and I think that makes me complicit somehow in the shroud of shame surrounding not only the movie but the concept of homosexuality. I should be able to stand up and talk proudly about ti as I would with any other movie. Thank you for being my moral compass, as well as for being a beacon of light to others, and WELL as being one of the best mods a forum could ask for. I know for a fact you are a compassionate person and a good listener. I've only seen the movie all the way through 4 times, and then it became too powerful and too sad for me and I couldn't make it through. Trepidation is the perfect word to describe my feelings about that screening. Only a few days left!


9/12/06, 7:48 PM  
Anonymous Brokaholic said...

Hello Monica,

What a beautiful post! You have managed to express in a few paragraphs months of my own internal dialogue about this movie and what it means to me.

I'd like to add that for me, this movie also had the additional role of making me analyze my priorities; my moments of hapiness and sadness, and how I was comtributing to them. There are many cages we tend to build around ourselves. Many paths we are told is the right one until we start believing it is so ourselves. I took a step back from my life and tried to make sure I'd never be in Ennis's shoes with so many things left unsaid, the one person most important to you cast aside in the quest to fit in with what is expected of you.

I admire you for posting about your love for this movie on your blog. I haven't yet, and, perhaps I should follow suite.

I am honored to have the priviledge of your friendship, and your company over at the DCForum has meant the world to me.

Hugs from a brokaholic friend.

9/12/06, 7:59 PM  

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