12.18.2005

stop the presses

A brief detour to the serious. Sorry, I will return to usual sarcastic form when I get over my total seething anger at the following.

There is a staggering, extraordinary article in the New York Times today. It's a profile of real-life gay cowboys in Wyoming, a la Brokeback Mountain, and in it various men who are alternately accepting of and struggling with the contradictions of their hypermasculine lifestyle and their attraction towards men are candid about what goes on inside their heads. Two admit to having been on the brink of suicide. One claims that a Matthew Shepard-esque hate-killing will happen again. We learn that Brokeback Mountain has yet to find a distributor in Wyoming - between the lines it's clear that it might never find a distributor, that this movie is too devastating for an entire state hyperaware of the lines between the rugged cowboy lifestyle and, as one ranch hand puts it, "getting involved with being hairdressers."

This article is killer. It's important. Everyone should read it, the same way everyone should go see the movie it's inspired by the movie which is starting this whole conversation about how you don't have to be a mincing stereotype like Sean Hayes on Will & Grace or Nathan Lane in virtually his entire performing career in order to be a gay man. The movie is stone-facedly upfront about violence - particularly of the gruesome, punishment-fits-the-crime variety. Whether or not you agree with the lifestyle choices of the characters whose lives it follows - in fact, particularly if you don't - you can't help but relate to one of them. Are you a Jack Twist - trying to change the world to fit yourself? Or an Ennis Del Mar - trying to change yourself to fit the world? So you watch the movie, you relate to a character (or both, or an inevitably described as "long-suffering" wife, or a ranch foreman, or a grasping daughter) and all of a sudden you realize that you are psychologically putting yourself in the same space as someone who if you met him in a bar or on the street you wouldn't think twice about - rugged and cowboy manly - and then you realize this is a man who falls in love with men and in that one second your mind is turned in a way that any number of GLAAD outreach campaigns have failed to do.

This is an important movie, because it does that. This is an important article, because it shows us that the story of the movie isn't restricted to just the movie. So why isn't it on the front page?

Because here's the thing. The article is in Fashion and Style. Fashion and fucking Style. Which is Timesspeak for "women and gay men." So sure, the Times wants Wyoming to open their minds, but their readers? Not worth the hassle.