The pioneer of blogging has an excellent post today on Brokeback Mountain — mainly the undeserved hype that it gets. Mickey Kaus, a writer for Slate.com, analyzes the box office receipts of the movie and the misinformation that's used for political gain.
Essentially, Hollywood would like you to believe that it's a breakout hit, transcending political and social boundaries and finding a massive audience across demographics. In reality it's an art flick with the media behind it, a fact that really doesn't change its appeal. Like most of these films, it's not changing minds or revolutionizing opinion, but simply preaching to the choir.
- Keep in mind that "The Passion of the Christ" was roughly six times larger in gross receipts but it didn't get near this kind of positive coverage.
Kaus manages to do a superb job of taking the facts — the isolated data — and applying it to the larger picture. ‘Brokeback Mountain doesn't deserve all the hype’ is a theme conservatives have been hammering at since its release. What they forgot to address, however, was the larger politically relevant issue.
But this B.S. falls into a special category: the sort of gratifying myth that in the past has helped lull liberals (and gay rights activists who may or may not be liberals) into wild overconfidence. Remember when Democrats actually believed that Fahrenheit would help push Bush out of office? It didn't work out that way. Moore's film didn't change many minds in part because, as York puts it, it "never reached audiences that had the power to defeat the president at the polls."
A movie that was shoved down the public's throat at every awards show, newspaper, and magazine isn't going to change minds. It's going to appeal to the people it was aimed at and alienate everyone else. Instead of realizing this, or being grateful for the initial acceptance the movie garnered, liberals are out proclaiming the century's greatest achievement. Two gay cowboys in a moderately successful movie aren't going to unravel 150 years of collective idealization and legend. Gay's are going to progress rapidly forward because the Sundance film festival had a critical orgasm at their expense.