When Gay Cowboys Attack

The vicious vitriol with which the supporters of Brokeback Mountain have attacked anyone who doesn’t share the opinion that Brokeback is the year’s best film reached a new low today: They pissed off Roger Ebert.

Two days after Crash, in a surprise upset, won Best Picture over Brokeback Mountain at the Oscars, the debate still rages. Accusations have been flying fast and furious from the Brokeback camp, in editorials, emails, and yeah, even on our message board. The accusation? Brokeback Mountain lost because everyone who voted for Crash is a homophobe.

This tactic is nothing new for extremists campaigning for the movie as if its acceptance as the world’s greatest film somehow heralds a new world order. They’ve been harassing, haranguing, and intimidating anyone who disagrees with them for months. Gene Shalit was beaten down by GLAAD. His reasons for not liking the film apparently weren’t acceptable to them. Our friend John Campea over at The Movie Blog was assaulted by vicious hate mail accusing him of homophobia when he proclaimed Brokeback overrated. I’ve certainly had no shortage of focused, attack-hate emailing here at Cinema Blend as well. Some of the messages sent my way in response to my mixed-positive review of the film are little more than death threats. In the case of John and I, we both overall liked the movie, even recommended it. Apparently we didn’t recommend it enough.

Liberal extremist entertainment writers have only been too happy to jump on the activist attack band wagon in any way they can. For example, internet writer Devin Faraci of CHUD.com, in his attack on those not properly trumpeting the film’s praise, labeled anyone who doesn’t enjoy watching gay sex as a homophobe, and in the process (in words of one of his site’s own readers) he, “broadened the definition of homophobia until it no longer has any meaning.” Calling his readers to war Devin says, “Every time one of you red state dwellers goes to see Brokeback Mountain, you are scoring a victory.” Of secondary concern it seems, is whether or not the movie is any good.

Both before and now after, the film’s supporters have resorted to tearing down Crash as a way to push their agenda. Many have echoed the sentiments of Los Angeles Times writer Ken Turan who says, “So for people who were discomfited by 'Brokeback Mountain' but wanted to be able to look themselves in the mirror and feel like they were good, productive liberals, 'Crash' provided the perfect safe harbor.” Ken seems to be confusing opinion with fact. Because he thinks Brokeback is the year’s best picture, doesn’t necessarily make it so. He seems unwilling to consider the possibility that perhaps, Oscar voters simply liked Crash better.

Finally, we’re back to Roger Ebert, who himself pegged Crash as the year’s best film and not Brokeback Mountain. America’s top dog film critic spoke out today, via an eloquently worded column on his website, to address the issue of Brokeback supporters and their load of sour grapes. It’s worth reading because, well, he’s Roger Ebert and whether you like him or not he’s beyond reproach when it comes to film criticism.

Says Ebert, “What is intriguing about these writers is that they never mention the other three best picture nominees: "Capote," "Good Night, and Good Luck" and "Munich." Their silence on these films reveals their agenda: They wanted "Brokeback Mountain" to win, saw "Crash" as the spoiler, and attacked "Crash." Roger, is of course right.

Make no mistake: Brokeback Mountain is a good movie. I don’t think it’s better than Crash, Good Night, and Good Luck, or even Munich, but that’s my opinion and having it shouldn’t indicate some dark agenda to eradicate gay people from the universe. If you want to know who’s rooting for that, take a look at the folks forcing that evil constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage, not at whether someone voted for Crash or Brokeback Mountain to win a Best Picture Oscar.

No doubt Roger, like I did, had hoped this whole thing would be over and done with after the Oscars, whatever the outcome. But Brokeback’s followers continue the assault unabated. If anything, they’ve only gotten more vicious. Stop it people. It’s over with. Take a minute and read Roger Ebert’s entire article here. Then send me the usual number of death threats and hate mail, which will be deleted, completely unread.

In the end, the thing that’s most disheartening here isn’t that a bunch of useless film critics are unfairly under attack, it’s that the film’s supporters are hurting their own cause. By pushing the movie so viciously in an effort to find gay acceptance, they continue to run the risk of finding fresh resentment instead.