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Author Topic: BBM General Discussion 2  (Read 310839 times)

Offline CANSTANDIT

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Re: BBM General Discussion 2
« Reply #30 on: January 16, 2008, 08:56:08 AM »
I think the point is maybe being missed..AIDS has nothing to do with what Ennis thinks-but it does have to do with the era in which the story is ending. That is the real point-it begins in 63 and ends almost 20 years later.
'This is the era of America losing its innocence, IMO. Starting with Kennedy's assassination..In that light, I think there is a bit of a parallel with Ennis's revelation at Lighting Flat.
That is the connection I see; its purely metaphorical and only a suggestion. I don't think it plays a part, beyond Jack being more aware than Ennis, and perhaps being more motivated to become more monogamous, than he was earlier. Purely a practical suggestion. :)

Offline Ellen (tellyouwhat)

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Re: BBM General Discussion 2
« Reply #31 on: January 16, 2008, 08:56:39 AM »
In the spring of 2006, when I was seeking out every smidgen of info on the story and the film, I read a little interview with AP in which she said that she decided at the outset to have the story span 20 years. She wanted it to begin when the west and the economics of ranching  were changing and said that the early sixties was the latest possible start date. She did not say so but the implication was clear that AIDS would have been too complicating a factor. I have searched for this interview ever since the subject came up on this or another thread sometime back but cant  even remember if it was online. So you will just have to take my word for it.  :)


Well -- my .02 is that I just really don't find this a burning question in my mind about Ennis and Jack's relationship.  There was a time in the past century w/o AIDS, and then AIDS became part of the public consciousness.  I am fine to leave it at that. 

There are some things I do long for.  I long for more displays of affection by Ennis in the movie (the SS had them... "little darlin" and the bright sparks.)  Um -- I long for Ennis to contact by telephone after the last scene on the mountain, before Jack died.  I long for Ennis to ask Jack to stick around for a couple of days until the girls went home Sunday night, after the divorce.

I do not long for either Ennis or Jack to ponder the dilemma of AIDS.  It just seems beyond what the story is about.

For me the whole issue is kind of like those "deleted scenes" we have been reading about in TDS -- for the most part, we are really glad they didn't make it into the movie.  What if James Schamus wrote a scene where Lureen says at the breakfast table "honey, it says here in the paper homo-sexuals are dying from some strange disease!  Aren't you glad we don't have to worry about that?"

And then Jack would choke on his Texan coffee.  "What?  oh sure honey... say I wonder how people catch that, anyway?"


snip!!! cut!!! EDIT!!!
« Last Edit: January 16, 2008, 09:07:58 AM by tellyouwhat »
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Offline afhickman

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Re: BBM General Discussion 2
« Reply #32 on: January 16, 2008, 09:00:08 AM »
I can't find anywhere else to post this, so I'll try it here.  Eric Patterson has written an insightful article on Brokeback, the book and film, that is available to read on the GLBTQ encyclopedia site: http://www.glbtq.com/sfeatures/pattersonbrokeback.html.  It's been so long, I don't remember how to make that a live link, but, if you can cut and paste, you'll get there.  I don't agree with all of Patterson's conclusions, but his article is an ambitious attempt to place Brokeback within the context of gay history and present-day attitudes.  Both the short story and film continue to provoke meaningful discussion.


It is a good article, and fyi, Eric Patterson has agreed to do an interview for our Daily Sheet.  We may even ask him to do a live author chat in books if he is willing.   :)

I would love to ask him a few questions about his article.  Thanks.
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Re: BBM General Discussion 2
« Reply #33 on: January 16, 2008, 09:05:55 AM »
A universal reaction to the film -- at least among my crowd -- is the desire for more affection in general and that they should have embraced and kissed at the beginning of their third trip.  And at least the hug was filmed -- we've seen stills of it.  I haven't seen a still of a kiss.

Including that clip would have extended the movie by maybe 10-30 seconds.  Such a pity.

And the scene feels awkward w/o that greeting.

I realize Ang Lee is a better director than I am, but he made a mistake here that was so easy to fix.  But if you can't fix it ...

Offline garyd

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Re: BBM General Discussion 2
« Reply #34 on: January 16, 2008, 10:40:25 AM »
I didn't realise that AIDS didn't get to be news in Wyoming - I'm used to national news in the UK, and had just assumed that the whole of the US got the news.    Over here, it was big news after 1983 - I do remember people talking about it a lot.  There were demos of how to put condoms on on TV, etc., and there seemed to be changes in the way casual sex was shown in popular culture  (I remember that in the next Bond film, Bond was monogamous) - if I remember correctly we all had a letter through the door about it.   It would have been impossible to miss it here, but if there wasn't publicity in Wyoming, I suppose Ennis could have missed it altogether - I hadn't even thought of that. 

Thanks for the info, Chapeaugris.   I feel that the timing did sidestep the issue before Jack's death - I really don't think it would be something Jack would have considered much.    But at the same time, it puts Ennis's slow-dawning awareness and acceptance right into the AIDS era.

Des, just for an attempt at clarification.  I used the word "reported".  By that I meant "reported to the U.S. Center for Disease Control".  I have to believe that by 1983, some media reporting regarding the disease occurred in Wyoming.  Certainly, by the time of the prologue, whenever that is, ;D there would have been news reports.  I, of course, have no idea by what method Ennis obtained news of the day.  My guess is that the Ennis's local paper had yet to do an expose and neither had the local country/western station.  I also just assume that Ennis was not a devotee of National Public Radio or "Frontline". 
Furthermore, it my understanding that AP is a trained historian in the French Annales School of historical research and reporting. This specific discipline places emphasis upon geography, material culture, and zeitgeist.  AIDS, at least until a good while subsequent to Jack's death, would not have been an element affecting the Annales historical context of the period examined in the story. 
Consequently, I do have difficulty in believing that the specter of AIDS had any affect whatsoever on the motivation or rationale for the behavior of either Jack or Ennis. 
As always, IMO and with the caveat that I have been so VERY wrong before and can and will be again! :-[

Offline Desecra

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Re: BBM General Discussion 2
« Reply #35 on: January 16, 2008, 11:13:49 AM »
Thanks for the clarfication - yes, I agree with you about Jack.    He died too early - a year or too later and he might have been more aware, but I don't imagine much had filtered through at that point.   Ennis, though (I'm talking about after Jack's death)  ... maybe he could have missed it, or maybe he could have heard about it and it just didn't register.    One thing about the AIDS publicity is that it kind of made homosexuality more 'out' in a way - sex in general had to be talked about.    I wonder if Ennis would have been exposed to more positive images after 1983 (ironically). 
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 #36 on: January 16, 2008, 11:30:28 AM »
It is of course, possible, that during the ensuing years, Ennis was exposed to a more expansive view of homosexuality. 
There was, also, a multitude of truly negative publicity initially..."the gay plague" etc.  So initially it caused more fear, I think, than understanding.
In addition, it is difficult to discount that Matthew Shepard was murdered in 1998 in Laramie. 

Offline Desecra

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Re: BBM General Discussion 2
« Reply #37 on: January 16, 2008, 12:48:39 PM »
Yes, I posted earlier about the 'gay plague' wonder if Ennis's fear would lead him to buy into that 'judgement' in a way.   I agree that Matthew Shepard's death would confirm his own fears, but not necessarily his own homophobia - the general public feeling was outrage and anger at his killers, wasn't it?   Ennis didn't get to see that when Earl was killed.   He only saw his father's approval of the killing.  That would be after the prologue though.   

I think Ennis is shown as isolated from his society - but actually his society was moving on.   The progress we see in the prologue was internal, I think, but I wonder how much the changes in society would have affected him.                 
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 #38 on: January 16, 2008, 12:58:25 PM »
I suppose what I am trying to say is that  I have serious doubts that "Wyoming society" was moving on or changing in any profound way that might have had an affect on Ennis
In the final analysis, he probably learns some things about himself, Jack, and their relationship but he is still the guy who's idea of traveling (which metaphorically means so much more than just travel) is moving his hand around the coffee pot.

There certainly may be a story incorporating your thoughts, but I don't think AP wrote it.

Offline Desecra

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Re: BBM General Discussion 2
« Reply #39 on: January 16, 2008, 01:28:54 PM »
Well, I think she wrote in the sense that Ennis seems to be shown as cut off from society a little.   It's interesting that there is very little mention of the 'outside world' (current events), in contrast to another story in the collection where the characters' lives are tied in to what's going on around them.    There are references to the draft, and the Thresher early on, and later we see that Ennis is affected by economic changes, but apart from that there's very little ... we're aware of the passage of time over 20 years, but barely aware of the massive outside changes going on between the '60s and the '80s.    So Ennis seems to exist in his own world, and that gives much more power to his father's message.

By the prologue, he still seems to be a little cut off, and the book is vague about the date.   It's maybe the '90s by that time.   As I mentioned, I think the changes we see in Ennis are internal - his own gradual working through of what Jack meant to him.    So it's just speculation about how things like AIDS and Matthew Shepard would have affected him - I take the point that he might not even have heard of these things, being more cut off than most people.    I tend to think he would have heard of them, but it's interesting to imagine how he might have applied them to himself.   Do you think Annie Proulx is sidestepping those issues altogether - almost as if she's setting Ennis in an alternate universe where the world continues not to change around him (as it apparently doesn't change during the 20 years - although we know it did, and others - Jack, Alma, probably noticed it - I think the film makes that point), or not change as far as he's concerned anyway?   In that case, all the progress is internal?
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 #40 on: January 16, 2008, 01:41:08 PM »
Yes, I see your point.  Ennis is certainly not illiterate.  He liked school.  He was up enough on current affairs to chat about them with Jack on the mountain.
(Of course, he only read catalogues of some sort)
So, who knows? 
I honestly believe, however, that Ennis, no matter what his fate subsequent to the prologue, remains pretty much an island.

I can much more easily rectify your observations regarding post-Jack Ennis with movie Ennis than I can with SS Ennis.
« Last Edit: January 16, 2008, 01:52:28 PM by garyd »

Offline CANSTANDIT

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Re: BBM General Discussion 2
« Reply #41 on: January 16, 2008, 03:28:16 PM »
One thing about how AIDS might or might not affect Ennis after Jack's death, that I thought of reading gary's and Des's posts
;
We have no evidence he ever came to consider himself 'gay'-so the whole AIDS thing may have been something he was dimly aware of, but kept at a distance from himself..and keep in mind, he said' one's' enough' so he never had cause to worry about anyone else after Jack.
I could see Ennis easily thinking, one had to be gay to catch it...


My guess is if this ever did cross his mind,  or he had a worry about Jack, he'd dismiss it; and I doubt his family would discuss it with him. They had no reason to, he was pretty successfully closeted. His relationship with the all-kowing Alma Jr, is from the movie, mostly.

 I do think for Ennis it is rather irrelevant-but for the viewer, it can seem highly ironic, given his terror over the tire ironing that never happened to him. Like I said, its wallpaper, muted and in the background, in terms of this story.

...and how ironic is it, that the relationship spanned the era of 'free love'-when it was hardly that.

[to clarify, I'm speaking of the homophobia, not anything they actually did in bed together-when there was a bed...]
« Last Edit: January 17, 2008, 07:20:13 AM by CANSTANDIT »

Offline o2binla

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Re: BBM General Discussion 2
« Reply #42 on: January 16, 2008, 10:38:18 PM »
and how ironic is it, that the realtionship spanned the era of 'free love'-when it was hardly that.

I generally agree, though have always enjoyed that the reunion takes place during the Summer of Love -- as if even two closeted men deep in the heartland could not help but be swept up...  :D
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Offline CANSTANDIT

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Re: BBM General Discussion 2
« Reply #43 on: January 17, 2008, 07:21:08 AM »
and how ironic is it, that the realtionship spanned the era of 'free love'-when it was hardly that.

I generally agree, though have always enjoyed that the reunion takes place during the Summer of Love -- as if even two closeted men deep in the heartland could not help but be swept up...  :D
Of course! 1967..let it all hang out, man.

Offline janjo

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Re: BBM General Discussion 2
« Reply #44 on: January 17, 2008, 08:36:45 AM »
I think that is the best article I have read about Brokeback Mountain, and I've read a few. Thank you for the link.
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