Author Topic: What would it take to help Ennis be OK about himself?  (Read 9831 times)

Offline Penthesilea

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Re: What would it take to help Ennis be OK about himself?
« Reply #40 on: June 08, 2007, 08:55:31 am »
I wonder if she calls him OMT!   :laugh:

I always felt we should change that abbreviation to MOMT, MeanOldManTwist

Offline Fran

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Re: What would it take to help Ennis be OK about himself?
« Reply #41 on: June 08, 2007, 09:26:38 am »
I always felt we should change that abbreviation to MOMT, MeanOldManTwist

Well, we can probably come up with a more descriptive word than "Mean."  But "Mean" is moving in the right direction.  :)

FOMT?

Offline malina

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Re: What would it take to help Ennis be OK about himself?
« Reply #42 on: June 09, 2007, 04:54:24 am »
ohhh... what a great thread. Reminds me of what it used to be like on IMDB in the good old days...

now... about OMT... Well, essentially, I agree with Katherine on that one. I certainly don't like OMT or want to exonerate him of being... well, a prick... and that hawking-in-the-coffee-cup thing alone, besides being ...well, gross.... is sort of a shorthand for disdain and dismissiveness and contempt, BUT... no, we don't see any overt signs of homophobia from him. And we do see signs to the contrary.. besides the fact that Jack wanted to bring Ennis there, and OMT would have allowed or even wanted that to happen... well, that may be self-serving, but it doesn't seem homophobic.

Even more telling, possibly, is Jack himself. Unlike Ennis, Jack IS pretty much okay about himself - about his homosexuality - even to the point of truly believing that the 'sweet life' was possible for them - even to the point of being able to look Aguirre in the eye when he says his bit about their 'stemming the rose'. Jack is okay about himself... more or less... despite the society he lives in ... and that in itself is odd enough that we have to ask WHY?

Considering that quality in Jack always makes me think about the Fisher King/ Parceval legend. Basically, Parceval heals the Fisher King, who had been suffering from a 'wound that never heals'... oh, there are a lot of associations there but OT for this thread... and he is able to do so because... he is innocent and sort of "not of this world". He was raised by his mother away from society, away from community... so he is like a breath of fresh air, and can see things differently and do what no one else could.

And I think Jack is a bit like that. And I had always assumed it was because, like Parceval, he was raised by his mother away from society.. and his mother seems loving and accepting. BUT, with a homophobic father, what chance would Jack have had, of being accepting of himself?

so... what's that expression? The proof of the pudding is in the ... um... anyway, maybe the proof of OMT's relative freedom from homophobia is in the way his son turned out. Not just gay, I mean, but.. able to be accepting. But that certainly doesn't mean OMT wasn't a prick in other ways or that he and Jack had a good relationship.

I also think that we see so relatively little of OMT, that it's like shorthand.. or speed reading. We are meant to fill in the blanks, and it's easy enough to fill them in with what we know of the society, and see him as homophobic. But, considering what and whom we DO know - Jack - maybe it's possible to fill in those blanks differently.

There's so much more here that's interesting, though... you know, lately, I can't stop thinking about 'the sweet life', and what that actually meant. The long and the short of it, I think, is that the 'sweet life' in a broader sense is a life lived without fear - or, at least, without decisions that are based on fear. And, this is very simplistic, but I think that's related to why Ennis wasn't okay about himself. He made and lived with decisions that were based on fear. I know that's more an effect than a cause of what ailed him, but, maybe it works both ways. Maybe both kinds of living are self-perpetuating.

But what about Jack? He wants the sweet life... he can see it in front of him... but I can't help thinking that his acceptance... his okay-ness with himself, his ability to live without fear.. those things erode and diminish over time. And most of Jack's ideas never come to pass. And OMT seems disappointed. dismissive? disparaging? disappointed.

Offline Penthesilea

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Re: What would it take to help Ennis be OK about himself?
« Reply #43 on: June 09, 2007, 08:06:21 am »
ohhh... what a great thread. Reminds me of what it used to be like on IMDB in the good old days...

now... about OMT... Well, essentially, I agree with Katherine on that one. I certainly don't like OMT or want to exonerate him of being... well, a prick... and that hawking-in-the-coffee-cup thing alone, besides being ...well, gross.... is sort of a shorthand for disdain and dismissiveness and contempt, BUT... no, we don't see any overt signs of homophobia from him. And we do see signs to the contrary.. besides the fact that Jack wanted to bring Ennis there, and OMT would have allowed or even wanted that to happen... well, that may be self-serving, but it doesn't seem homophobic.

I agree with you and Katherine about OMT not being outright homophoboc. And I think Katherine has a very good point in saying that it's at least intersting, that Ang Lee doesn't show him homophobic. Believing Lee did everything in his movie for a reason, I find this fact not only intersting, but very telling.

Quote
Even more telling, possibly, is Jack himself. Unlike Ennis, Jack IS pretty much okay about himself - about his homosexuality - even to the point of truly believing that the 'sweet life' was possible for them - even to the point of being able to look Aguirre in the eye when he says his bit about their 'stemming the rose'. Jack is okay about himself... more or less... despite the society he lives in ... and that in itself is odd enough that we have to ask WHY?


Of course we ask why. How is it possible that Jack escaped from a lonley childhood with an abusive parent he could never please and being okay? It's not only odd that Jack is relatively okay about his sexuality, but it is almost a miracle that he has any self-esteem at all. Let alone that he is such an optimistic, loving and open man as he is.

Of course Mrs. Twist must have played an important role in this. But: when Jack's immanent nature/given character and the support of his mom were enough to get him through a horrible childhood and let him turn out okay, couldn't it be that the same facts (Jack's character and his mom) were enough to make him be okay with his sexuality even if OMT were a homphobe?

I think yes, and therefore I think that Jack being okay with his homosexuality is not a proof for OMT being not homophobic.

Offline serious crayons

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Re: What would it take to help Ennis be OK about himself?
« Reply #44 on: June 09, 2007, 12:36:59 pm »
Malina, it is so great to have you posting here! And not just when you say things like

essentially, I agree with Katherine on that one.

:laugh: but especially when you write things like

Quote
Considering that quality in Jack always makes me think about the Fisher King/ Parceval legend. Basically, Parceval heals the Fisher King, who had been suffering from a 'wound that never heals'... oh, there are a lot of associations there but OT for this thread... and he is able to do so because... he is innocent and sort of "not of this world". He was raised by his mother away from society, away from community... so he is like a breath of fresh air, and can see things differently and do what no one else could.

I would love to have people here see your "phallic Jungian tangle" thread. I could post a link to it (in fact, I may have done so back when it first appeared!?) but maybe I'll ask TOoP/Bruce if he could repost it, if that's OK with you?

Offline malina

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Re: What would it take to help Ennis be OK about himself?
« Reply #45 on: June 09, 2007, 04:31:31 pm »
Hi Katherine!

Yes, it would be fine with me if TOoP/Bruce has that thread and reposted it... I would be honored, actually.... I'd do it myself but I don't have it saved.

You know, I haven't thought about it lately, but every time I think about the Fisher King legend - which I have CaseyCornelius to thank for, as he was the one who brought it up in response to the Jungian stuff - every time I think of it, I get fascinated all anew. And, you know... I feel like I really in some ways came to terms with what Ennis was all about, sometime last fall... well, I'm sure there's a lot more I haven't thought of, but what I mean is that I was so .. engaged.. with Ennis, for so long, and that felt like one 'stage' of the BBM experience, and right now I am fascinated by Jack. There's so much about him that encourages the simple observation of how wonderful he was. That's one layer. But what ELSE is there? On one of my threads on IMDB someone commented that, whereas Brokeback was Ennis's "domaine" or "wormhole" - a place beyond your regular reality which, having experienced it, you keep wanting to get back into - kind of like BBM for many of us! - if Brokeback was Ennis's "wormhole", Jack's was Ennis. And somehow I didn't like hearing that. I wanted Jack to be perfect, I guess, and needing a 'wormhole' to escape into is... well, really a type of addictiveness, which we know he had as well. So... what made Jack tick? What was Jack all about... and is there a message in his deficiencies and in the miraculous - there's no other word for it - role he was nevertheless able to play in Ennis's life? Can we be each other's angels even while being all too human?

BUT... I badly digress...

Hi, Penthesilea - nice to know ya!

I agree with you and Katherine about OMT not being outright homophoboc. And I think Katherine has a very good point in saying that it's at least intersting, that Ang Lee doesn't show him homophobic. Believing Lee did everything in his movie for a reason, I find this fact not only intersting, but very telling.

Of course we ask why. How is it possible that Jack escaped from a lonley childhood with an abusive parent he could never please and being okay? It's not only odd that Jack is relatively okay about his sexuality, but it is almost a miracle that he has any self-esteem at all. Let alone that he is such an optimistic, loving and open man as he is.

Of course Mrs. Twist must have played an important role in this. But: when Jack's immanent nature/given character and the support of his mom were enough to get him through a horrible childhood and let him turn out okay, couldn't it be that the same facts (Jack's character and his mom) were enough to make him be okay with his sexuality even if OMT were a homphobe?

I think yes, and therefore I think that Jack being okay with his homosexuality is not a proof for OMT being not homophobic.

I think you may have a point. I have heard it said that all children really need is ONE person who is truly crazy about them and gives them unconditional love... and there is, also, sort of an innocent quality to the young Jack.. he almost seems to be able to ... well, I don't know, there's a part of him that passes unscathed through his circumstances. I fully believe that his mother had a greater influence on him than his father did. And we really have so little that's concrete to go on, with regard to OMT and whether he was homophobic...so, no, the way Jack turned out wasn't proof, I guess, but maybe a hint... but..

Well, they lived in such an isolated place. Away from society. They were like Ennis, in a way, maybe... never traveling, I mean... not even to come to their own son's funeral. They'd be in Lightening Flat till the day they die... AWAY from everything and everyone else... doesn't that make them misfits, in a way? And as misfits, as people 'apart', would we expect them to have the same attitudes as the larger society - especially when there's some evidence (Jack's comfort with his sexuality) that they in fact didn't?

By the time Jack meets Ennis, he has been out in the world a little, and he knows enough to have put a tiny facade of caution over his sexuality... but underneath that, he seems... innocent. Innocent of the idea that it would "really" not be okay... of course, I think he gets less innocent of that as his life progresses. But still... would he have that innocence at the age of 19 if one of the two main figures in his life up to that point - remember, cut off from society, so they would loom large - if one of those main figures was truly homophobic? I don't know... maybe he still would have... I admit it's possible, because Jack was special... but the likelihood... coupled with the fact that he wanted to bring his male lover to his "daddy's place" to live... well, the long and short of it is, I would rather condemn OMT for being terminally unpleasant and a disgusting coffee-cup-hawker (sooo gross!) than a homophobe, because I'm not at all sure that he was.

Jack's innocence... that made me think of a quote: "An innocent heart is the true wilderness".

Offline LauraGigs

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Re: What would it take to help Ennis be OK about himself?
« Reply #46 on: June 09, 2007, 05:25:01 pm »
Oh gosh—just caught up with this whole thread (hate to be posting such simple initial impressions after all yall's brilliance, but here goes). As for Katherine's original question:

What's striking to me is that after Jack's death, Ennis essentially comes out.   Not to society as a whole (not that he talks to anyone on the street anyway), but to the very people who would be the most affected by his relationship with Jack (and therefore potentially the most vindictive): Jack's wife and parents.

When Lureen is obviously perplexed about Brokeback Mountain, he comes right out and tells her about it (knowing that she'll put 2+2 together: Jack wanting his ashes in the place he worked with Ennis = Jack loved Ennis. And Ennis' calling = He loved Jack ).

Visiting the Twists? Same thing.  Ennis had to figure the Twists knew about Jack's persuasion. (With what Ennis' dad may have suspected about him, plus the fact that subtlety wasn't Jack's strong point.)  He knew that 1) showing up there as a lone male guest  2) saying what Jack meant to him and 3) offering to scatter the ashes where they'd spent the summer together would be tantamount to a giveaway.  Does this deter Ennis?

Anyway, that's my answer to the question: it took Jack's death. Ennis had nothing left to lose.


Some may argue that this coming-out may not completely equal self-acceptance. Maybe — but compared to where he'd been (afraid to even be seen talking in his driveway with Jack), it was a hellava transformation.
« Last Edit: March 16, 2009, 05:52:27 pm by LauraGigs »

Offline Penthesilea

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Re: What would it take to help Ennis be OK about himself?
« Reply #47 on: June 10, 2007, 09:28:09 am »
Hi, Penthesilea - nice to know ya!

I think you may have a point. I have heard it said that all children really need is ONE person who is truly crazy about them and gives them unconditional love... and there is, also, sort of an innocent quality to the young Jack.. he almost seems to be able to ... well, I don't know, there's a part of him that passes unscathed through his circumstances. I fully believe that his mother had a greater influence on him than his father did. And we really have so little that's concrete to go on, with regard to OMT and whether he was homophobic...so, no, the way Jack turned out wasn't proof, I guess, but maybe a hint... but..

Well, they lived in such an isolated place. Away from society. They were like Ennis, in a way, maybe... never traveling, I mean... not even to come to their own son's funeral. They'd be in Lightening Flat till the day they die... AWAY from everything and everyone else... doesn't that make them misfits, in a way? And as misfits, as people 'apart', would we expect them to have the same attitudes as the larger society - especially when there's some evidence (Jack's comfort with his sexuality) that they in fact didn't?

By the time Jack meets Ennis, he has been out in the world a little, and he knows enough to have put a tiny facade of caution over his sexuality... but underneath that, he seems... innocent. Innocent of the idea that it would "really" not be okay... of course, I think he gets less innocent of that as his life progresses. But still... would he have that innocence at the age of 19 if one of the two main figures in his life up to that point - remember, cut off from society, so they would loom large - if one of those main figures was truly homophobic? I don't know... maybe he still would have... I admit it's possible, because Jack was special... but the likelihood... coupled with the fact that he wanted to bring his male lover to his "daddy's place" to live... well, the long and short of it is, I would rather condemn OMT for being terminally unpleasant and a disgusting coffee-cup-hawker (sooo gross!) than a homophobe, because I'm not at all sure that he was.

Jack's innocence... that made me think of a quote: "An innocent heart is the true wilderness".


Hi Malina, welcome to BetterMost (where were my manners yesterday?)! I'm sure you already had a cup of coffe but couldn't eat no cherry cake right now  ;). So grab the whiskey and stick with us  :).

Telly ya what... I was more or less playing advocatus diaboli here, because for logical reasons I don't see it as proof, but of course it's a hint.

And I totally agree that Jack wanting to bring Ennis to his parent's farm is a strong indicator for OMT not being a decided homophobe.


I just watched the scene again, with full attention to OMT. I see a lot of disdain, yet not because Jack was gay, but because "he thought he was too goddamn special", because Jack had high hopes, he had essorant dreams. Additionally comes the fact that they "never came to pass".
But in the essence, I think OMT resented Jack that he didn't knuckle down , that OMT could not break his spirit.
Which of course leads to OMT's motivations. I could imagine that he himself had been a spirited and ambitious young man once (after all, he had been a bull-rider!), with high hopes, but got broken by life early and well. Whayt remains after 70 or so years is a bitter and mean misanthrope.

But I also digress badly ...... :)

Offline Rayn

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Re: What would it take to help Ennis be OK about himself?
« Reply #48 on: July 12, 2007, 04:44:17 am »
Well, it took the loss of Jack to begin a break through the defensive fortress he lives in, so I would say, lots of therapy would help Ennis, but can you imagine Ennis in therapy!    Nope, neither can I.

Offline Brown Eyes

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Re: What would it take to help Ennis be OK about himself?
« Reply #49 on: March 16, 2009, 01:35:59 pm »


I just re-discovered this cool thread after noticing a guest viewing it via the "who's online" function. :)

This really is a great topic!

So, bump!




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