Thursday, December 08, 2005

Narnia vs. Cowpokes

Y'know, I had wondered when I wrote this original post if I should mention the concurrence of the release of the "alternate lifestyle" movies and "The Chronicles of Narnia" and if someone out there had a plan. An "Us" and "Them" kinda plan. But, then I thought that just might be a little too far into tinfoil hat land (which have been proven not to work, by the way), and let it go. But since Salon.com and James Lileks also made similar connections, maybe I wasn't noticing something that wasn't there.

Heck, Salon made sure they weren't perceived as being subtle:



Since Lileks more or less mirrors what I think, I'll liberally quote him from his Bleat on the topic. But then I have a couple more thoughts after his:

Well, in retrospect my big essay turned out to be 94% typing and 6% thinking, so nevermind. It had to do with the fact that EW put “Brokeback Mountain” on the cover this week instead of that Nornio or Neeneria movie or whatever it’s called. For all I know next week's issue will eschew all things Kong for a big happy Narnia-o-rama, and my whole point will be moot, so there's no need to make a fool of myself. Again. The second feature in EW was a movie about a transsexual who discovers the existence of a son; for all I know it’s a fine movie too - but I do not think these are two subjects that necessarily grip the public mind. BUT THEY SHOULD! And that’s the sense that I got from the EW issue – not that you MUST see “Brokeback” to prove you’re not homophobic, but that you should, because it’s helpful. In some vague sense. Seeing Narnia is not necessarily unhelpful, but it gives off those Bible-y Christy vibes somehow, and while that’s fine, we must encourage movies about cowboys in love, because somewhere in some small town a gay youth looks at the box office grosses, and decides to stay in the closet out of fear he will be eaten by a computer generated lion who manifests the stigmata. Or something like that. As if the two movies are somehow in a meta-competition for the Soul of America; as if disinterest in a gay cowboy love story means that 99.98 percent of America HATE GAYS.

But disinterest does not mean intolerance.

I have no problem with EW putting it on the cover; I have no problem with the movie whatsoever. I do wonder why the editors chose that movie instead of Narnia, though, and I suspect that it was a matter of which provided the proper dose of societal spinach. Narnia appeals to them; Narnia isn’t helpful.

There. You’ve been spared two thousand words.


This all kinda strikes me the same way the bullshite debate about science vs. religion does. The only folks who have a horse in that race are the creationist fundies. The rest of us accept the theory of evolution (mostly), and go grab a cold one. Some scientists drink the koolaid and think there's a point to debating with Creationists/Intelligent Design guys, when in fact all they have to do is point out that Creationist/Intelligent Design theories aren't even science.

Well, again, religion is not the antithesis to homosexuality. Sure, some fundies think it's wrong, and that's their prerogative. Even I will allow that the Bible, in both the Old and New Testaments say the same gender shouldn't have sex. But, then, it can be legitimately interpreted that it means heterosexuals shouldn't engage in same gender sex for the sheer perverted fun of it. And, a broader point is that we are all sinners who need forgiveness and love, so that kind of trumps the sin that may or may not be the act of gay sex (to really, really oversimplify it).

Therefore, religion - traditional Christianity in particular - is not the enemy of gays and lesbians by any stretch, or vice versa.

So seeing these two movies and their subtext juxtaposed in nearly all the media recently just makes me wonder who thinks it proves some sort of point or makes any statement other than some folks must think them there windmills are really giants who need a good poke or two.

___________
Update:
Ok, it's not just me (and Lileks) who thinks this alignment of entertainment planets seems to be running a little retrograde into the pink. From Salon's "The Fix" article of Dec. 14, 2005 (emphasis added):

Award season continues: The Golden Globes list was announced yesterday and, not surprisingly, "Brokeback Mountain" picked up a bevy of nominations, including ones for best drama, best director (Ang Lee), best actor and best supporting actress in a drama (Heath Ledger, Michelle Williams) and best screenplay. Two themes everyone seems to note: All five of the best-drama nominations went to indies -- "Brokeback," "The Constant Gardener," "Good Night, and Good Luck," "A History of Violence" and Woody Allen's forthcoming "Match Point." And several of the films nominated feature gay or transgendered characters. Felicity Huffman gets a nod for "Transamerica," as does Philip Seymour Hoffman for "Capote" and Cillian Murphy for "Breakfast on Pluto." Even Pierce Brosnan picked up a nomination for his portrayal of a bisexual hit man in "Matador." Let the culture wars, er, continue. (Associated Press, Variety)

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

"Therefore, religion - traditional Christianity in particular - is not the enemy of gays and lesbians by any stretch, or vice versa."

Don't know if I can go there, Yahm. Your "hets shouldn't pervert themselves" interpretation of the OT condemnations is a bit of a stretch in light of the fact that every time gay sex is explicitly mentioned in the Bible, it is condemned. We might be able to discuss things more truthfully if we just acknowledge that there is actually a rift here, with traditional Christianity on one side and gays & lesbians on the other.

yahmdallah said...

Well, yes, it's a tough stretch. But consider how many people live together before getting married, and how many people practice "serial monogamy," both of which are also put in the sin category. What really is the large difference between that and gay sex? If everyone who does those things can be forgiven, and is if they want it, perhaps it all works out, eh?

Anonymous said...

Well, duh. Any sin can be forgiven - that's the whole point of the gospel - but there is a precondition here that is too easily forgotten in many churches: you must first admit that what you did was sin and that you do in fact need to be forgiven.

Jesus said two things to the woman caught in adultery: 1) neither do I condemn you; and 2) go and sin no more. Liberal churches tend to be very strong on part 1, while ignoring part 2 right out of existence. Fundie churches do the opposite. When I move to a new town, I look for a church says both parts with equal emphasis.

I don't mean to pick on gay sinners here, since you are right about the het sexual sinners as well. But gay sex was the topic of your posting.

Anonymous said...

for what it's worth, regarding Lileks:

"EW put “Brokeback Mountain” on the cover this week instead of that Nornio or Neeneria movie or whatever it’s called. For all I know next week's issue will eschew all things Kong for a big happy Narnia-o-rama, and my whole point will be moot..."

Well, EW did just that (the latest issue has Narnia on the cover), so there goes his alleged non-argument.

yahmdallah said...

I know. The second I plucked it out of my mail box, I laughed.

And they did a good job of containing their typical low-grade Christian bashing.

<Darth Vader voice>Impressive.</Darth Vader voice>