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Author Topic: BBM General Discussion 2  (Read 296990 times)

Offline Nax

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BBM General Discussion 2
« on: January 06, 2008, 02:35:19 PM »
A follow on from the first BBM General Discussion topic.
« Last Edit: January 07, 2008, 03:11:45 AM by Nax »

Offline Desecra

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Re: BBM General Discussion 2
« Reply #1 on: January 11, 2008, 02:32:55 PM »
Yes, after I posted  I tried to remember  what the situation was. It crossed my mind that I may have been assuming too much. Dare I say, it may just have been something that AP didn't consider?

LOL!  Now this is the one possibility I *definitely* don't believe...  :)

It's hinted that Jack has a rising sense of self-destructiveness, and of course one of the ultimate expressions of that is unsafe sex.  I don't think he would have wanted to give anything to Ennis, but yeah he could have lied and said he got whatever from a woman.  Also, condom usage was not the norm in the early 80s, according to my memories, and Jack doesn't seem like he'd be a stickler for it. 

I think this reading is far afield, but it is not outside the realm of possibility given the story's timing, that Jack or Jack and Ennis both have contracted HIV by the final scene.  They're also arguing just as HIV is about to reshape gay identity culturally in a big way.

Its timing w/HIV just makes the last scene that much more complicated, which is why I think AP included it on purpose.  As I've said before on other threads, I think Jack and Ennis are more than just two individuals: they also embody cultural attitudes and historical situations. 

After posting the other day, I started thinking that "hell yes I been to Mexico" doesn't just mean, yes I have sex with men.  It's also Jack saying, yes I have other partners b/c you don't give me enough of you. 

Anyway: I do think Jack had multiple partners, that HIV was on the sidelines but not center stage in their relationship, and also that Jack sick and tired of the closet and getting ready to come out of the closet one way or another -- which might be why he mentioned the ranch neighbor to his parents, rather than b/c he really cared all that much for Randall. 

Just continuing this discussion of the relevance of AIDS to the story....

I'd pointed out that the timing of Jack's death took them just into the era when AIDS was becoming public knowledge - it had been named and was being reported in the news.   Well, now I've thought again and realised that the film script takes them just out of that era.    Jack dies in 1981, before AIDS was called AIDS, and before the public health campaigns.    It almost makes you wonder if that was the reason for changing the timing.  The film-makers have chosen to sidestep the issue, perhaps. 

When this issue first came up, I didn't agree that it was relevant to the story - not every story about gay men in the '80s has to be about AIDS.  But now I'm not so sure.   People tend to make the connection - gay men, early '80s, one seems to be promiscuous, one not ---> AIDS is an issue. ( I'm surprised it hasn't yet been suggested that AIDS was the cause of Jack's death  - maybe it has been suggested!).    I imagine that Annie Proulx would expect that readers might make that connection.  She's chosen a date which invites that connection. 

Somebody - was it CSI? - suggested that she might be contrasting Ennis's mainly imagined fears with the real danger which was rising up at the end of the story.    I think I could see it that way.   It's funny - Ennis would have completely missed that time of innocence pre-AIDS through his fear of a different death.

Jack and Ennis already having contracted HIV - I don't know about that.   That news clip I linked to showed the cases still being mainly in big cities.   We know there was a lot bubbling under of course, because of the gap between contracting HIV and and developing AIDS.    We don't know how promiscuous Jack was.   It sounds like he may have visited sex workers.   But by the end, Lureen says that he kept his 'friends' addresses in his head - does that indicate a few regular partners?  And we don't know exactly what sort of sex he had - the only sex act we see properly is the FNIT, where Jack first tries to get Ennis to touch him.   He didn't necessarily have anal sex with other partners.  And we don't know if Ennis had receptive anal sex with Jack, or what exactly they did.   Jack could have been infected and Ennis not.   Lureen could have been. 
Unless, I say otherwise, I'm probably talking about the short story, not the movie. :)

Offline CANSTANDIT

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Re: BBM General Discussion 2
« Reply #2 on: January 11, 2008, 02:59:00 PM »
Tx, Desecra for hauling the chat over here...I see it as not thematic, so much as suggestive of the background of the central theme of how love is affected by the homophobia as the undercurrent in the story.Just a clarification..I'm glad you've given thought to the irony of Ennis being terrified via a childhood incident-and missing the looming threat coming down the pike.
 I don't see it as relevant about whether or not anyone actually contracted anything; I think the point is mostly a set up of the time and place. We are given nothing to imply Jack was not at least aware if not overly cautious in his one-night stands.
After all, he leaves rodeoing because of 'other things' along with the broken bones from the broncing; its been theorized-by me, too-that the other things relate to his sexuality, and the constant threat of bashing, that was probably just part of his life, after BBM.

So it does not appear we are being told he was careless physically, beyond the drinking and the fact he gained a few pounds and went over the border, IMO.

Just some more feedback for ya. :)

Offline Desecra

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Re: BBM General Discussion 2
« Reply #3 on: January 11, 2008, 03:37:04 PM »
Yes, just saying though that back in the '70s unprotected sex wasn't seen so much as being 'careless physically', was it?  It was after AIDS that it came to be seen that way.   So I do think Jack could have been careless, as most of us were back then.   I agree that the 'other reasons' sound like it could have been the threat of bashing (the film implies that, I think) - but I don't think Jack would have seen condom-less sex as being risky.  Not back then.

Whether anyone contracted anything - I agree, probably not relevant, but it would affect the prologue if Ennis had, I suppose.
Unless, I say otherwise, I'm probably talking about the short story, not the movie. :)

Offline CANSTANDIT

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Re: BBM General Discussion 2
« Reply #4 on: January 11, 2008, 03:42:59 PM »
Yes, just saying though that back in the '70s unprotected sex wasn't seen so much as being 'careless physically', was it?  It was after AIDS that it came to be seen that way.   So I do think Jack could have been careless, as most of us were back then.   I agree that the 'other reasons' sound like it could have been the threat of bashing (the film implies that, I think) - but I don't think Jack would have seen condom-less sex as being risky.  Not back then.

Whether anyone contracted anything - I agree, probably not relevant, but it would affect the prologue if Ennis had, I suppose.

Well, its true, with penicillin around, that the threat of insanity from the ravages of syphillis had pretty much disappeared, no arguments there. So it WOULD be mostly STDs in the 70's. I guess also by careless, I mean in general, endangering himself, too....but you're right, the threat of disease would not be as imminent prior to the actual onset of the disease in general circles.

Offline Desecra

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Re: BBM General Discussion 2
« Reply #5 on: January 11, 2008, 03:50:53 PM »
Yes, I don't mean so much the actual risk - there was hepatitis, etc. - but the perceived risk. 

I'm thinking more that it was looming over them - not that either contracted it.    It was another possible result of Ennis's refusal to be with Jack - if they could have been together they'd have been safe from what ended up being such a huge, scary, tragic and terrible thing.   It may have occurred to Ennis, later - the relative risks that you mentioned. 
Unless, I say otherwise, I'm probably talking about the short story, not the movie. :)

Offline garyd

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Re: BBM General Discussion 2
« Reply #6 on: January 11, 2008, 04:12:24 PM »
Oh my, the prologue is already so incredibly devastating,
must we now give poor Ennis AIDS?

Offline Desecra

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Re: BBM General Discussion 2
« Reply #7 on: January 11, 2008, 04:54:33 PM »
I don't think so - I think he probably wouldn't have it.   But after Jack's death, he'd be hearing about it when he turned on the news.   I'm just wondering how it would fit with his conflicted feelings about their sexuality and his guilt and regret.
Unless, I say otherwise, I'm probably talking about the short story, not the movie. :)

Offline o2binla

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Re: BBM General Discussion 2
« Reply #8 on: January 11, 2008, 05:43:33 PM »
I don't think Jack or Ennis had HIV -- but the story's timing makes it not impossible that Jack would have come into contact with it.  SF was presumably a much more dangerous place re HIV than Mexico or the Midwest in 1983, but that sure doesn't mean it wasn't around. 

It's been very interesting reading everyone's responses, though I can go much further with this than to notice it and surmise that it means _something_ .  The timing surely can't be accidental, yet once again AP refuses to get concrete.  And it is more a story about tragic love than a response to an epidemic.  But if the epidemic is a major factor for the repressed group from the '80s on...?
"curiouser and curiouser"

Offline garyd

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Re: BBM General Discussion 2
« Reply #9 on: January 11, 2008, 05:55:33 PM »
I don't think Jack or Ennis had HIV -- but the story's timing makes it not impossible that Jack would have come into contact with it.  SF was presumably a much more dangerous place re HIV than Mexico or the Midwest in 1983, but that sure doesn't mean it wasn't around. 

It's been very interesting reading everyone's responses, though I can go much further with this than to notice it and surmise that it means _something_ .  The timing surely can't be accidental, yet once again AP refuses to get concrete.  And it is more a story about tragic love than a response to an epidemic.  But if the epidemic is a major factor for the repressed group from the '80s on...?

The timing may not be accidental at all. It may very well be that the story is timed to specifically avoid this sort of speculation thus moving away from the central themes.
There were already a plethora of excellent AIDS literary and theatrical explorations of the epidemic when this was written:

"The Normal Heart"
"Beat the Sunset"
"Long Time Companion"
Love!Valour!Compassion!
and the AIDS play to end all "Angels in America"


Offline Desecra

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Re: BBM General Discussion 2
« Reply #10 on: January 12, 2008, 02:36:49 AM »
Yes, I have a feeling that the film deliberately avoids it, by moving Jack's death to 1981.   The book seems to deliberately just touch on it though - why not 1981 in the book? 

I'm now thinking more that the timing is about how it would affect Ennis - Jack's death is brought into a period when AIDS was in the news.   Ennis would be hearing about it while grieving for Jack.   And the horror of AIDS did get people talking about sex more, I think.   
Unless, I say otherwise, I'm probably talking about the short story, not the movie. :)

Offline Ministering angel

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Re: BBM General Discussion 2
« Reply #11 on: January 12, 2008, 05:58:10 AM »
FWIW ages ago someone suggested that the spots on Ennis's hand in the last scene with Jack may have been lesions, and that the added line "It's cause of you that I'm like this..." may have been an AIDS reference. I disagree, incidentally. I think the marks are a nod to the sparks and lies flying upwards and burning their faces and hands.

Offline CANSTANDIT

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Re: BBM General Discussion 2
« Reply #12 on: January 12, 2008, 10:06:49 AM »
I agree, Mini-I said that myself. It makes sense, all those campfires, and working around animals, with branding equpment and such...

Offline Marc

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Re: BBM General Discussion 2
« Reply #13 on: January 14, 2008, 10:16:10 AM »
I'm repeating myself, but the discussion is back.

I've always thought one reason for the timing was to keep AIDS off the table.  Also, Jack's relationship w/ Randall is a good reason why Jack wouldn't have been exposed.  This assumes he's having sex only w/Randall and Ennis, a reasonable assumption given how important Randall has become.

I always thought they were age spots on Ennis's hands.  He's spent a lot of time out in the sun.

Offline wintersweet

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Re: BBM General Discussion 2
« Reply #14 on: January 14, 2008, 11:29:35 AM »
I believe the scars on Ennis's hand were actually the wounds Heath got during the shooting period, they were not the makeup. In some of the scenes, we can see the wounds were quite new. If we can track the healing progress through out the film, I believe we can find out the sequence of shooting schedule.