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Brokeback Mountain I

No, I haven't seen the movie yet. I've just read it.

This afternoon, I came across not one but two links to The New Yorker's upload of "Brokeback Mountain," the Annie Proulx story that appeared in the magazine in October, 1997. I know I missed it then. I had had such a hard time with The Shipping News that I'm sure I didn't even give the story a try. Whatever that was all about, "Brokeback Mountain" read quite beautifully today, and I was crushed by its outcome, even though I'd read in all the reviews that it doesn't end "happily." In fact it ended much better than I thought it would. Nobody seems to have pointed out that Ennis Del Mar holds back from the relationship with Jack Twist - as a relationship - because his father decked his innocence by taking him to see the mutilated corpse of a local rancher who lived with another man. Jack, untested by such sights, imagines that the unimaginable is possible. Ennis is no fool, and he ends up ruefully alive. Maybe it's better to be dead than excluded from every hope of love, but Ennis's temporizing has a practical optimism that makes Jack's acting-from-the-heart just plain stupid. There is a symbolic story here about gay marriage that I hope will stir up truly serious debate. As someone even stranger to the people among whom I grew up than a gay man would have been, I sympathize completely with the gay community's solidarity, and only wish that I had some solidarity of my own, which I don't. But, like Ennis, I know that the choice is between life and death, not life and love. There are still too many unhappy men out there who want to play golf with their tire irons.



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even stranger

Now that's intriguing.

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