Author Topic: Annie says Jack's death is a "test"  (Read 8608 times)

Offline SFEnnisSF

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Annie says Jack's death is a "test"
« on: November 09, 2007, 01:06:49 pm »
Over on TOB is an interesting topic and theory I've never heard before.  A few posters over there quote Annie Proulx as saying the ambiguity of Jack's death is a "test". 

Quote "forloveoffilm":

"Further, I love how Proulx chose to make Jack's death ambigious. She said it was a litmus test. Those who choose to see it as an 'accident' are more confident and comfortable with their own sexuality. Those who choose to see it as a 'murder' are those still struggling with their identity or think of homosexuals as victims."


I find this facinating!

For me, I have always believed Jack was murdered.  I also admit that I am personally fearful of violence or hatred directed at me for being gay.  So, this test or theory, does ring true for me.


Here is the thread:
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0388795/board/flat/89411013?p=1

Thoughts from Bettermostians....?

Offline Front-Ranger

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Re: Annie says Jack's death is a "test"
« Reply #1 on: November 09, 2007, 01:22:42 pm »
Well, I thought of Jack's death as a murder, but that was because of Matthew Shepherd. I think I am a realist. I can see where Annie Proulx set this up this way, but she was not quite successful in my opinion because she did not make his demise quite e-nuff ambiguous. What works better is the fact that Ennis, with all his paranoia, lived his days out in peace in his trailer, while trusting Jack met an early end.

 :'(

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Offline SFEnnisSF

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Re: Annie says Jack's death is a "test"
« Reply #2 on: November 09, 2007, 01:38:05 pm »
she did not make his demise quite e-nuff ambiguous.

Really?  Do you not remember the long discussions and debates about this?  Or is it that it was not enough ambiguous for you, as you concluded he was murdered, based on your feelings about Matthew Shepherd?  I admit I have always thought it was a murder, probably because I've personally seen first hand things similar like this covered up, because of Matthew Shepherd, because I myself have been a victim of anti-gay violence...

Well, I thought of Jack's death as a murder, but that was because of Matthew Shepherd. I think I am a realist.

Could this mean perhaps that everyone who sees it as an accident is in denial?  Or perhaps they themselves have never experienced anti-gay violence or hatred directed at them or their loved ones first hand?

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Re: Annie says Jack's death is a "test"
« Reply #3 on: November 09, 2007, 01:43:55 pm »
There's something about this whole exercise that bothers me.  I question the psychology she uses.  I don't know of anyone who saw the film who thought it was an accident.  I have to think on this for a while.

Offline SFEnnisSF

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Re: Annie says Jack's death is a "test"
« Reply #4 on: November 09, 2007, 01:46:41 pm »
There's something about this whole exercise that bothers me.  I question the psychology she uses.  I don't know of anyone who saw the film who thought it was an accident.  I have to think on this for a while.

My ex-partner was adament it was an accident.  Him and I got in a huge argument about it in the car after seeing the movie.

And what makes it interesting and why I believe this theory, is that he is quite the "openly gay" man.  Seems to have no fears about it.  Has always lived in the big accepting City.  Came out when he was 12 and all.

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Re: Annie says Jack's death is a "test"
« Reply #5 on: November 09, 2007, 02:05:21 pm »
Really?  Do you not remember the long discussions and debates about this?  Or is it that it was not enough ambiguous for you, as you concluded he was murdered, based on your feelings about Matthew Shepherd?  I admit I have always thought it was a murder, probably because I've personally seen first hand things similar like this covered up, because of Matthew Shepherd, because I myself have been a victim of anti-gay violence...

I am so sorry to hear that! Surely it did not happen in the Bay Area?

The accident just didn't seem plausible to me. If the tire blew up on him and knocked him out, he would have come to when he started choking. He could have turned himself over. He was so adept at getting out of the way of charging bulls after being thrown off them. I just can't believe he could die that easily.


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Offline Jeff Wrangler

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Re: Annie says Jack's death is a "test"
« Reply #6 on: November 09, 2007, 02:50:22 pm »
Hunh!

I don't know what to think.

Considering all the antigay violence that continues in this world, I'm offended by the assertion that because I go along with Ennis's belief that they got Jack with a tire iron that means I'm insecure in my sexuality.

It is too bad we don't have Annie's alleged comments in print. It just doesn't sound right to me that she would make a blanket statement that all gays would "get" that Jack died in an accident and all straights would assume it was murder.

I'm not prepared to take as gospel these memories of what Annie Proulx is alleged to have said six years ago.

Rontrigger's posts were always intelligent and worth reading.  :)
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Re: Annie says Jack's death is a "test"
« Reply #7 on: November 09, 2007, 02:52:42 pm »
Hunh!

I don't know what to think.

Considering all the antigay violence that continues in this world, I'm offended by the assertion that because I go along with Ennis's belief that they got Jack with a tire iron that means I'm insecure in my sexuality.

It is too bad we don't have Annie's alleged comments in print. It just doesn't sound right to me that she would make a blanket statement that all gays would "get" that Jack died in an accident and all straights would assume it was murder.

I'm not prepared to take as gospel these memories of what Annie Proulx is alleged to have said six years ago.

Rontrigger's posts were always intelligent and worth reading.  :)

Thank you Jeff.  That's exactly how I was feeling about it.

Offline Jeff Wrangler

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Re: Annie says Jack's death is a "test"
« Reply #8 on: November 09, 2007, 03:20:57 pm »
Thank you Jeff.  That's exactly how I was feeling about it.

Friend, you're welcome.  :)  ;)
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Offline SFEnnisSF

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Re: Annie says Jack's death is a "test"
« Reply #9 on: November 09, 2007, 03:27:23 pm »
I was at first offended also when I read this on TOB...  I at first thought, oh, because I think Jack was murdered, I'm not comfortable in my sexuality?  WTF? 

Then I thought about it and read deeper into it, and applied my own experiences and that with my ex-partners views of it being and accident, and have found the thoery/test to be quite interesting...kind of like a pysche test.  Optimist vs. Pessismist.  Half full vs. half empty.  etc.

Offline Jeff Wrangler

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Re: Annie says Jack's death is a "test"
« Reply #10 on: November 09, 2007, 03:41:49 pm »
I was at first offended also when I read this on TOB...  I at first thought, oh, because I think Jack was murdered, I'm not comfortable in my sexuality?  WTF? 

Then I thought about it and read deeper into it, and applied my own experiences and that with my ex-partners views of it being and accident, and have found the thoery/test to be quite interesting...kind of like a pysche test.  Optimist vs. Pessismist.  Half full vs. half empty.  etc.

I'm inclined to agree that how we believe Jack died says a lot about us individually, but not about whether or not we are comfortable in our sexuality.

Now, let me add this: From my reading of the comment through the link, I'm taking "sexuality" as used here as a synonym for "sexual orientation." I'm prepared to entertain the idea that how you view Jack's death may say something about how comfortable you are with sex, but not as litmus test of comfort with your sexual orientation.
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Offline Artiste

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Re: Annie says Jack's death is a "test"
« Reply #11 on: November 09, 2007, 04:01:41 pm »
Wow!

Maybe Annie can explain!

This is like hurt, or an even anti-gay or a gay test??

Hugs!




Offline Shasta542

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Re: Annie says Jack's death is a "test"
« Reply #12 on: November 09, 2007, 08:08:22 pm »
I always argued "accident" on IMDb. I knew a man in my hometown who got killed when a tractor tire came off the rim, so I saw Lureen's explanation as realistic and Ennis's feelings as fearfulness.

Artiste -- it's not an anti - gay test.
« Last Edit: November 12, 2007, 09:06:29 pm by Shasta542 »
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Offline Brown Eyes

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Re: Annie says Jack's death is a "test"
« Reply #13 on: November 09, 2007, 09:29:24 pm »
There's something about this whole exercise that bothers me.  I question the psychology she uses.  I don't know of anyone who saw the film who thought it was an accident.  I have to think on this for a while.

Do you think readers of Proulx's story feel that his death is more ambiguous than the way it is portrayed in the film?  I mean... do you think she's in any way more successful in conveying a true sense of ambiguity than Ang Lee was in his representation of this issue in the movie?

In any case... This is a great topic!  Thanks for bringing this over here Eric!  I do agree that to a very casual viewer of BBM (someone who only watches it once and doesn't spend too much time analyzing it) might not quite understand that the visualization of Jack's death is ONLY Ennis's imagination.  But, I do think that a careful viewer understands this and the debates that continue to rage over how Jack died seem to bear this out.

I tend to believe Jack was murdered.  And I don't know what that says about my own sexuality or self-confidence.  But, for me, while it's definitely possible that Jack could have died the way Lureen describes... it always sounds a little too far-fetched to me.

But, I truly believe that we only can know what Ennis *thinks* and what Lureen *says*, so there's no real way to every resolve the debate.  It's a very smart element of BBM I think.

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Offline Jeff Wrangler

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Re: Annie says Jack's death is a "test"
« Reply #14 on: November 09, 2007, 11:35:58 pm »
But, I truly believe that we only can know what Ennis *thinks* and what Lureen *says*, so there's no real way to every resolve the debate.  It's a very smart element of BBM I think.

Which kind of reminds me of something I've said before: Ultimately, what matters is what Ennis thinks, not what we think.  ;) And Ennis thinks it was the tire iron.
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Offline Lynne

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Re: Annie says Jack's death is a "test"
« Reply #15 on: November 10, 2007, 12:02:56 am »
Hmmm..

I have seen this movie 20+ times plus numerous DVD viewings to interpret every subtle detail I ever heard mentioned.  BUT it never crossed my mind that Jack's death was anything short of a murder.  To put this in context, I didn't really know the Matthew Shepherd story when I first saw BBM, so I couldn't be influenced by that.  I think what convinced me was Lureen's almost completely unemotional description of the events.  When someone dies tragically, there are way more 'I don't knows' compared to of such a pat story...way too much cover up to convince me I was hearing the truth.

So, if Annie thinks this is a test - those of us with real fears see the tire irons, whereas those of us comfy with ourselves/our sexuality see an accident??  I just don't buy it.  Purely anecdotal, but the people I know who insist on the 'accident' version of events seem to be unable to accept Jack's murder.  This is valid and my heart goes out to them - it's a heinous thing to come to terms with. 

This is strange though because Annie herself in BBM lends more credence to the tire iron scenario - as Ennis is listening to OMT - he realizes that it was the tire iron that got Jack - he no longer is holding on to ambiguity.  The movie softens it for us and leaves us open to more interpretation, IMO, than does the canon short story.
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Offline Artiste

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Re: Annie says Jack's death is a "test"
« Reply #16 on: November 10, 2007, 12:10:10 am »
I can never think that Jack was not murdered in the movie! And yes, it is an anti-gay film!

Nor can I see a first or often a person sees the  BM movie that Jack was not murdered; everything points to Jack being murdered by many because Jack was a bi or gay man!!


As far as Jack's wife in the movie, it seems evident that she did hide Jack's gay tendercies, why? Was she anti-gay?

Hugs! Have a good night or a good day all!!

Offline Brown Eyes

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Re: Annie says Jack's death is a "test"
« Reply #17 on: November 10, 2007, 12:17:21 am »
Which kind of reminds me of something I've said before: Ultimately, what matters is what Ennis thinks, not what we think.  ;) And Ennis thinks it was the tire iron.


Jeff, I agree with you... that Ennis's perspective/ thoughts in many ways are our guiding perspective for the whole plot given his role as protagonist.  And, as his fears about the tire iron (some even sometimes call it "paranoia"... although I'm not a big fan of that word) seem to increase over the years, I think his fears begin to drive or at least influence how the audience understands the perils potentially facing their relationship and their safety.  I think in the film, by the time we see the image of Jack's death we're so used to identifying with Ennis that it's easy to see this illusion of his death as entirely plausible. 

Or, I wonder if from the perspective of an audience member who believes the accident scenario... Could the argument be made that Ennis's ability to imagine a graphic violent scene happening to Jack be the ultimate extreme expression of his "paranoia" or of the fears that were the main reason he kept himself removed from Jack all those years?

When it comes down to whether the audience believes what Ennis "thinks" or what Lureen "says"... I think it's definitely a test of the audience to see who we think *knows* Jack better.   Does Lureen know Jack better since they lived their daily life together and she had a much fuller context/perspective on his Texas life (but of course with crucial gaps in her knowledge about his sexuality, Ennis and affairs with other men).  Or, given Ennis's deep connection with Jack and his knowledge about most everything to do with Jack's sexuality (even the affairs with other men by this point) does he have the more reliable guage on what might have happened to Jack?  I do think this is some kind of test for the audience... Lureen or Ennis.

After saying all of this... I personally still think Ennis was probably right.

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Offline Jeff Wrangler

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Re: Annie says Jack's death is a "test"
« Reply #18 on: November 10, 2007, 01:12:41 am »
Hmmm..

I have seen this movie 20+ times plus numerous DVD viewings to interpret every subtle detail I ever heard mentioned.  BUT it never crossed my mind that Jack's death was anything short of a murder.  To put this in context, I didn't really know the Matthew Shepherd story when I first saw BBM, so I couldn't be influenced by that.  I think what convinced me was Lureen's almost completely unemotional description of the events.  When someone dies tragically, there are way more 'I don't knows' compared to of such a pat story...way too much cover up to convince me I was hearing the truth.

But the thing is, though--and I laugh at myself to find myself seeming to defend Lureen's story--in RL, by the time Ennis and Lureen spoke on the telephone, even if her story were real, she would probably have had to tell it many times before she told it to Ennis, which could account for her unemotional tone when she tells it to Ennis.

I still don't buy it, though--and I haven't since 1997.
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Offline Lynne

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Re: Annie says Jack's death is a "test"
« Reply #19 on: November 10, 2007, 01:41:35 am »
Yes, Jeff I agree that there could be several reasons for Lureen's monotone relating the story of Jack's death to Ennis - she's in shock, she's likely recited it verbatim many times before, etc...  Maybe that's the central question here - are we really so quick to jump to the conclusion where Jack is a victim of a hate crime, realizing Ennis' worst fears?  Or is there a more 'innocent' explanation?  I'm too jaded to believe the dressed up version (and shit, when does even the accident version become so much more palatable?!).

Another piece of the puzzle, though, may come to us thru Lureen - the hitch in her voice and the coldness - when Ennis relates that he and Jack herded sheep up on Brokeback in 1963.  It seems that when she assembles those facts with what she really knows, fully realizing the connection Ennis had with Jack, perhaps that's when she herself realizes she's relating a glossed-over story of the actual event?  At any rate, when she regroups, tells Ennis to see Jack's folks and about his wishes regarding Brokeback, she redeems herself admirably.

But as to the interpretation of Jack's death being a test - I'd never called myself bisexual before BBM - didn't see the point of a label.  BBM and specifically BetterMost made it impossible to not acknowledge that part of myself.  One data point doesn't make a trend, but it works in my case.
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Offline ifyoucantfixit

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Re: Annie says Jack's death is a "test"
« Reply #20 on: November 10, 2007, 03:19:20 am »
        Me personally, the way I saw it.  And have seen it thru every time I have watched the "movie."
Has continued to be the same.  I have two reasons for how I feel this..besides the way Ennis feels.
Maybe it is Ang Lees interpretation, rather than Annies, so it only fits the movie version...
        The way that Lureen recounts the way Jack died.  Is like she has to hesitate and remember the
way she has told the story before... She goes uh, yes well, he was out on a back road,pumpin up a tire...,,etc etc etc...
         If you are telling a story you dont usually have to qualify it, to begin with, as to how to start it.  This
always sounded more like a moment to remember her lines...Just my thoughts.   
         And having had two people in my family that worked in automotive repair and tire service as youngsters...A regular tire just doesnt  blow  like that..A big 18 wheeler with the kind of rims they have would do that...the rims blow can and do blow off, and hit people in the face...they are called split  rims..very dangerous things...That would have made total sense if he was driving a big rig...but a pickup...very unusual to have split rims.  That could have blown apart and hit him in the face like that.   But those split rims have killed many a maintance person, and injured a great many  more...That is the reason they are being fazed out i believe...
        But maybe I am just plain dumb, and it certainly isnt beyond the range of possablity, 
        However  I just dont have what it takes in logic ,to make the jump...from; if you see it as an accident you are more  comfortable with your sexuality, and if you see it as a murder, you're insecure with yours..  I dont see how anyone could be more set with their sexuality than I am...I am a card carrying proud heterosexual.  I like men...period.  and I saw it as a murder also... But there again I could be being influenced, by Mr Lees interpretation and presentation...So at this time, I dont think we can ever separate our own thoughts represented in, or  by the movie, from his...
        Because however subtly he has done it.  He has ingrained us with his own personal view.
        My logic also has always told me that Ennis had good reason to be afraid.  Especially back then.
Matthew Shephard has been testamony to that.  I myself saw the aftermath of some poor man,
having been beaten up by a bunch of straight guys.. I dont think that I am any different than a gay
man or even woman, as to thinking it is quite feasable to have someone being murdered for their
sexual orientation...To me its plain common sense.



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Offline belbbmfan

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Re: Annie says Jack's death is a "test"
« Reply #21 on: November 10, 2007, 08:38:52 am »

Or, I wonder if from the perspective of an audience member who believes the accident scenario... Could the argument be made that Ennis's ability to imagine a graphic violent scene happening to Jack be the ultimate extreme expression of his "paranoia" or of the fears that were the main reason he kept himself removed from Jack all those years?



This is how I've always seen it. Ennis doesn't believe Lureen's version. Even as she's talking, he 'knows' what happened, Jack was murdered. His worst fears have come true. And Ennis had already witnessed a graphic violent scene, when his dad took him to see Earl's corpse... which left him scarred for life.

I'm still wondering why Annie Proulx used the word 'accident' in the short story Ennis didn't know about the accident for months. The movie was more ambiguous as to exactly what had happened to Jack. The first thing my husband asked me after we saw the movie was 'was Jack really murdered?' I had read the story first, so I said I didn't think he was. Like Jeff said, what matters is what Ennis thought.
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Offline Artiste

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Re: Annie says Jack's death is a "test"
« Reply #22 on: November 10, 2007, 03:23:17 pm »
Jack was murdered unfortunately because he was bi or gay! That is a plain fact we see in the BM movie!!

Jack's wiife will never tell that her husband was murdered, because she goes with the Jones!!
She will not tell the truth about her husband, even when we (the audience of the movie) know that she knows that Jack is bi or gay!! She does not use the word murder... so not to complicate her life, in her high society!
So, of course, she will call that murder simply an accident!!

For that reason Annie calls also Jack's death not murder, but an accident?

Hugs!

Offline tampatalon

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Re: Annie says Jack's death is a "test"
« Reply #23 on: November 10, 2007, 04:32:39 pm »
I can never think that Jack was not murdered in the movie! And yes, it is an anti-gay film!

As far as Jack's wife in the movie, it seems evident that she did hide Jack's gay tendercies, why? Was she anti-gay?

Hugs! Have a good night or a good day all!!


Artiste, I am trying ta get a grip on this anti-gay thang. Okay, First Lureen dazzles Jack with her
B ;D ;D Bs, then they do the wild thang which results in a doughboy in the oven. Is Lureen anti-gay because she is trying to make Jack strait or because it covers up he is gay?

TampaTalon^">
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Offline Jeff Wrangler

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Re: Annie says Jack's death is a "test"
« Reply #24 on: November 10, 2007, 11:02:18 pm »
I'm still wondering why Annie Proulx used the word 'accident' in the short story Ennis didn't know about the accident for months. The movie was more ambiguous as to exactly what had happened to Jack. The first thing my husband asked me after we saw the movie was 'was Jack really murdered?' I had read the story first, so I said I didn't think he was. Like Jeff said, what matters is what Ennis thought.

I'm glad to see someone bring up Annie's word choice in the story, as I've wondered about that myself. She could just as easily have written, Ennis didn't know about Jack's death for months, but she didn't. What this may mean for the truth about Jack's death, however, I really don't know.

I think it's interesting to note, too, that--I guess in the editing stage of the film--a decision was made--I presume by Ang Lee--to make Jack's death more ambiguous. We know from the trailer that a scene was filmed showing Jack and Randall separating after a rendezvous, and being observed by some mechanics--the same people we see in Ennis's imagining of Jack's death. If the scene with Jack and Randall and the mechanics had been left in the final cut of the film, I think it would have clearly pointed to murder. Not including the scene makes the truth of Jack's death more ambiguous.
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Offline BelAir

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Re: Annie says Jack's death is a "test"
« Reply #25 on: November 11, 2007, 12:27:44 am »
I would also say that Annie's "quote" doesn't quite ring true/make sense to me.  Maybe it is like that old game of "telephone" and perhaps she did say something about Jack's death and litmus test, but exactly what she said has gotten rephrased with the passing of time.

The point about the use of the word "accident" in the story is very interesting.  It is only used in that one sentence.  Lureen is not quoted as saying "accident" and Ennis does not again refer to the death as an "accident."  I have two thoughts.  1) Perhaps she uses the word accident in an attempt to convey the mystery around his death.  Ennis thought it was the tire iron, but perhaps he was never sure.  I do not know, but I would wonder, if that lack of knowing with a certainty how Jack died, is one of many things that kept Ennis lonely in his trailer.  (2) My mind remembers an Annie quote regarding each reader completing the story (any story) for themselves... So maybe she uses the word accident to put doubt in our minds, so we would be forced to work on completing the story for ourselves...  (no idea if my quote is any more accurate than the litmus test quote)
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Offline Artiste

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Re: Annie says Jack's death is a "test"
« Reply #26 on: November 11, 2007, 12:04:47 pm »
Thanks tampatalon, and others. I will reply to others later...on.

It seems obvious to me in the BM movie that Laureen covers up that fact that she knows that her husband (Jack) is bi or gay. Like Alma, she did mention once (or more? surely often being married to Jack all these years that he saw alone Ennis: why does your fishing friend do not come to Texas, another words to pay us a visit!!?? She surely noted that Jack is nervous or hides, (goes away quickly when this subject comes up! She is no fool!! And, Lureen also heard in her office two men talking about Jack (now her husband) being gay?? You say that Lureen is trying to make Jack straight? and, therefore, she knew that Jack is a gay man or bi? To me, she does cover up that Jack is bi or gay, look at the two men who seems to say so in front of her in the office??!!

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Offline Penthesilea

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Re: Annie says Jack's death is a "test"
« Reply #27 on: November 11, 2007, 01:53:48 pm »
Regarding Jack's death being a litmus test, I'm with Lynne. I just don't buy it.
You think murder --> you're insecure about your sexuality
You think accident --> you're secure about your sexuality.

C'mon, that's far too simplistic and shortsighted. Annie is an intelligent and articulate woman. Therefore I think she either didn't say it the way it's cited. Or, the other side, everybody has a stupid day sometimes or makes a not well thought-out comment. So maybe she said it in exactly those words, but didn't mean in so simple.

I find it interesting that somebody (Lynne?) said Annie was more ambiguous in the story than Ang was in the movie. I think it's vice versa.
I think the story is less ambiguous, because of her use of the word "accident". "Ennis didn't know about the accident for months". Later she writes "So he [Ennis] knew it had been the tire iron".

I think the emphasis of the sentence is He knew - and not He knew. See what I mean? Ennis knew. And for hundreds of years people knew that the earth is flat. It is Ennis's subjective perception of truth at this very moment.

When I read Annie's story, I tend to believe it was an accident, but I'm not sure.
When I see the movie, I don't know what to think. My initial reaction to the movie was that it was murder. Lureen tells a lie and what Ang shows us is the objective truth = murder. But the more I thought about it the more unsure I got. At later viewings I recognized that what we see is Ennis's projection. Maybe I had read about it somewhere on imdb in the meantime, I don't think I was able to be so observant so early. To this day I'm not able to consciously notice any subtleties in the last part of the movie. They come later consciously to my mind, when I'm thinking about it; or I detect them on stripedwall.

I'm still totally undecided about what caused Jack's death; respectively sometimes I'm more in the murder-camp, sometimes more in the accident-camp. Regarding the OP theory, what does this say about my confidence about my sexuality? Nothing.

Offline Artiste

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Re: Annie says Jack's death is a "test"
« Reply #28 on: November 11, 2007, 04:58:07 pm »
I think that I am starting to understand Annie's point!

But my butt can not yet explain it! Without my lower cheeks, my upper ones are trying to understand it! And I think that I am commencing that, but can not grab it yet nor explain it!

Being a gay man, one must fight for such freedom; it that what she means??

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Offline tampatalon

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Re: Annie says Jack's death is a "test"
« Reply #29 on: November 11, 2007, 05:32:49 pm »
This term "accident" reminds me of news reports where one spouse "accidently" shoots the other spouse. It seems to me its a polite term for the murder.

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Offline Artiste

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Re: Annie says Jack's death is a "test"
« Reply #30 on: November 11, 2007, 05:39:18 pm »
Thanks tempatalon!

Annie does also test us readers??

Yes, it seems that Annie talks using the word accident for another word for murder!!


She does test our nerves as we are gay men, as straights, as others, as civilized society, etc., very much, because murdering of a gay man is seconded, as least in the BM movie?

Annie does warns us of the danger of gay life, but butts in too saying that a gay man must be out there??

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Offline SFEnnisSF

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Re: Annie says Jack's death is a "test"
« Reply #31 on: November 12, 2007, 03:15:22 pm »

It seems obvious to me in the BM movie that Laureen covers up that fact that she knows that her husband (Jack) is bi or gay. Like Alma, she did mention once (or more? surely often being married to Jack all these years that he saw alone Ennis: why does your fishing friend do not come to Texas, another words to pay us a visit!!?? She surely noted that Jack is nervous or hides, (goes away quickly when this subject comes up! She is no fool!! And, Lureen also heard in her office two men talking about Jack (now her husband) being gay?? You say that Lureen is trying to make Jack straight? and, therefore, she knew that Jack is a gay man or bi? To me, she does cover up that Jack is bi or gay, look at the two men who seems to say so in front of her in the office??!!



Great point Artiste!  I think I always believed that Lureen "puts it all together" at the phone call, that Jack is gay.  Perhaps this is her final confirmation of it.  But I've never really thought about the fact that she may have had her suspicions prior.  The guys makin' fun of Jack in her office.  The line "why can't your buddy come down here to Texas and fish?"  And then, as her hair's gettin whiter and whiter, "Husbands don't never seem to wanna dance with their wives...why is that Jack?"  Yes, it is definitely plausible that she had her suspicions over the years, or even knew for a fact and was herself in denial, and tried to cover it up as the years went on.

Offline Jeff Wrangler

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Re: Annie says Jack's death is a "test"
« Reply #32 on: November 12, 2007, 03:32:57 pm »
Or, the other side, everybody has a stupid day sometimes or makes a not well thought-out comment.

Got that right, Little Darlin'! And the older you get, the more and more of those days you have.  ;D  :-\
"It is required of every man that the spirit within him should walk abroad among his fellow-men, and travel far and wide."--Charles Dickens.

Offline Artiste

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Re: Annie says Jack's death is a "test"
« Reply #33 on: November 12, 2007, 05:24:28 pm »
Thanks sfericsf!

You do pose some answers as well as questions about her. Sure, she (Laureen) knew that Jack was gay! She sure knew how to pinpoint that to Jack too? In his ribs! Is that what is when she says to Jack: ''Husbands don't never seem to wanna dance with their wives...why is that Jack?"

Lureen was not that innocent before having sex with Jack the first time? This way Annie contiues to test us gay men, about Jack's death as well about many other things??

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Offline TOoP/Bruce

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Re: Annie says Jack's death is a "test"
« Reply #34 on: November 13, 2007, 02:18:54 am »
I would also say that Annie's "quote" doesn't quite ring true/make sense to me.  Maybe it is like that old game of "telephone" and perhaps she did say something about Jack's death and litmus test, but exactly what she said has gotten rephrased with the passing of time.


Another possibility is that Annie did say it, and perhaps she even meant it, and she might be wrong about what it means.  Many brilliant artists create dazzling works of art, and are notoriously unreliable critics of their own work.
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Offline Dal

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Re: Annie says Jack's death is a "test"
« Reply #35 on: November 13, 2007, 02:51:06 am »
   split rims have killed many a maintance person, and injured a great many  more...That is the reason they are being fazed out i believe..
Yes you're right.  But here's Lureen -- "...Jack was pumping up a flat on the truck out on a back road when the tire blew up. The bead was damaged somehow and the force of the explosion slammed the rim into his face..."   I.e.  the bead was the problem.  Bead failures really do cause tire inflation explosions, on light trucks.

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Offline Shasta542

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Re: Annie says Jack's death is a "test"
« Reply #36 on: November 13, 2007, 07:18:08 am »
Another possibility is that Annie did say it, and perhaps she even meant it, and she might be wrong about what it means.  Many brilliant artists create dazzling works of art, and are notoriously unreliable critics of their own work.

Agreed. She's not a psychologist/psychoanalyst or whatever you'd have to be to know that.
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Offline Artiste

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Re: Annie says Jack's death is a "test"
« Reply #37 on: November 13, 2007, 09:58:26 am »
Did Annie say that?

Anyone found that proof yet if Annie did say that expression?

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Offline SimonNolan

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Re: Annie says Jack's death is a "test"
« Reply #38 on: November 15, 2007, 04:02:48 pm »
Hi all, this is my first post, after getting a comment on my blog from someone here ("J"?).

Anyway, here's my thoughts: I'm one of those people who likes to let a movie just "be". A movie is what it is, and BBM is an excellent example of that. It's supposed to be ambiguous. There are no firm answers, and that's okay.

Either way, murder or accident, one point comes across clearly: If you care for someone, don't just settle for a few "high altitude f***s". Don't wait, don't let yourself be filled with regret when you're older, don't let yourself be shocked when someone you thought would always be there is gone.

I just saw BBM for the first time a few days ago, and that realization hit me like a ton of bricks. So, in a couple of weeks I'll be moving a few hours away to be with a man who loves me very much, and who I love very much. Thanks, Annie, for that.

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Re: Annie says Jack's death is a "test"
« Reply #39 on: November 15, 2007, 04:05:10 pm »
Hi all, this is my first post, after getting a comment on my blog from someone here ("J"?).

Anyway, here's my thoughts: I'm one of those people who likes to let a movie just "be". A movie is what it is, and BBM is an excellent example of that. It's supposed to be ambiguous. There are no firm answers, and that's okay.

Either way, murder or accident, one point comes across clearly: If you care for someone, don't just settle for a few "high altitude f***s". Don't wait, don't let yourself be filled with regret when you're older, don't let yourself be shocked when someone you thought would always be there is gone.

I just saw BBM for the first time a few days ago, and that realization hit me like a ton of bricks. So, in a couple of weeks I'll be moving a few hours away to be with a man who loves me very much, and who I love very much. Thanks, Anne, for that.

Well good for you!  Hold onto that brass ring as long as you can!  Gonna be a fun ride.

Offline Jeff Wrangler

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Re: Annie says Jack's death is a "test"
« Reply #40 on: November 15, 2007, 10:32:40 pm »
Well good for you!  Hold onto that brass ring as long as you can!  Gonna be a fun ride.

"Ain't no reins on this one!"  ;D
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Offline Brown Eyes

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Re: Annie says Jack's death is a "test"
« Reply #41 on: November 16, 2007, 01:11:41 am »
Another possibility is that Annie did say it, and perhaps she even meant it, and she might be wrong about what it means.  Many brilliant artists create dazzling works of art, and are notoriously unreliable critics of their own work.


I also completely agree with this.  Artists (in general) really often do have an interesting blind spot when it comes to truly looking at their own work.  I suppose this is somewhat understandable since they're also **so** close to the work itself.  Sometimes it takes an objective viewer to get a real grasp on a work of art or to see how it might have greater/fuller meaning than even the artist could predict or articulate.


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Offline delalluvia

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Re: Annie says Jack's death is a "test"
« Reply #42 on: November 16, 2007, 02:01:28 am »
I've no idea what Annie Proulx meant.  Obviously not everyone who watched BBM is gay, so I'm not sure what a 'test' is supposed to conclude.

I'm straight and I always thought Jack's death was an accident.  So what does that mean?

Personally, I relate to the story/movie in very realistic terms and in reality, more people die from accidents while working on their cars than by violence of any kind.

Yes, Ang most definitely wanted to make Jack's death less ambiguous than Annie intended, hence the scenes we all saw in the preview, but Ang made some changes to the short story that I don't agree with and probably shifted Annie's intent of the story somewhat for the sake of artistry and symbolism which I agree was brilliant.  Making Jack's death a murder would have fit neatly into the bookends/circles the plot/Ennis character goes through in the movie and made it much more satisfying artistically, but I find it reassuring that the Book Gods decreed that it not be so. Ang tried to fit in the unambiguous scene, but it kept the story from flowing smoothly. 

I think the writers said Ang tried to make the scene work, but in the end left it out because it just didn't.

Some things are just meant to be and Jack's fate in BBM was meant to be ambiguous and it is.

Offline Lynne

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Re: Annie says Jack's death is a "test"
« Reply #43 on: November 16, 2007, 02:33:16 am »
Hi all, this is my first post, after getting a comment on my blog from someone here ("J"?).

Anyway, here's my thoughts: I'm one of those people who likes to let a movie just "be". A movie is what it is, and BBM is an excellent example of that. It's supposed to be ambiguous. There are no firm answers, and that's okay.

Either way, murder or accident, one point comes across clearly: If you care for someone, don't just settle for a few "high altitude f***s". Don't wait, don't let yourself be filled with regret when you're older, don't let yourself be shocked when someone you thought would always be there is gone.

I just saw BBM for the first time a few days ago, and that realization hit me like a ton of bricks. So, in a couple of weeks I'll be moving a few hours away to be with a man who loves me very much, and who I love very much. Thanks, Annie, for that.

Welcome to BetterMost, SimonNolan, and thanks for posting!

I had much the same take on BBM especially with respect to missed opportunities.  Congratulations on your move and to your commitment to your lover - I wish you every happiness!

-Lynne
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Offline smellykellyjay

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Re: Annie says Jack's death is a "test"
« Reply #44 on: November 16, 2007, 04:06:54 am »
I read the short story awhile before I saw the movie, which I saw the week of its release in New York City, so I'd pretty much made up my mind before I saw the film, discussed it with others, and read BbM message boards. 

My first thought was that Jack's death was an accident, and I stick to that interpretation.  I suppose it's plausible to me because the father of one of my elementary school classmates died when a tire blew up in his face back when I was a kid.  I've never forgotten that.  I also worked for several years in an auto plant and have hung around enough auto shops to be familiar with safety when it comes to tires.  Now that it's been mentioned here, I recall that Proulx’s describing it as an accident contributed to my thinking as well. 

But I stick with the accident theory, even with thoughts and potential to the contrary, mainly because it makes me feel better.  I mean, it's bad enough that he died, but I can't hardly stand to think of Jack being murdered.  It makes an already sad situation unbearable and is even too cynical and pessimistic for me.  It feels hopeless.  It feels like it makes Ennis right, possibly even justifying and condoning why he lived as he did. 

I think Ennis's interpretation of Jack's death as murder is a reflection of Ennis's fears.  In the story (not in the movie), Ennis says when he and Jack are in the hotel room, “I don't want to be like them guys you see around sometimes.  And I don't want to be dead.”  Then a little later, regarding his father, “If he was alive and was to put his head in that door right now you bet he'd go get his tire iron.” 

Seems to me that Ennis was preoccupied with the idea that being gay lead to being killed for it.  It's kinda like how some people refuse to step one toe into a big city because they see those places as crime-ridden war zones where they'll be mugged or beaten or killed within 15 minutes of entering the city limits. 

I've long thought that part of Ennis's getting so upset with Jack when they last saw each other was because he was concerned that Jack was being too open with his homosexuality and that it was putting Jack's life in danger and that Jack kept pushing Ennis to be “careless” too.  As far as Ennis was concerned, what Jack was doing and suggesting that Ennis do was about the same as lying down on the railroad tracks and taking a nap. 

Regarding Lureen and Ennis's telephone conversation. . . I've read a lot of people say they just know, can tell, that Lureen is lying to Ennis when she tells him how Jack died, but only in this thread have I've seen it suggested that maybe Lureen is telling the truth but that she's told the tale so many times that she has a script of it memorized. 

I mean, a 39-year-old man in good health doesn't often just up and die.  People are going to be curious as to how he died and ask questions about it.  It's surely not pleasant recounting over and over again how he died, being quizzed for the details. 

Maybe she worked up a response that told the whole story (flat tire, alone on a back road) in a few sentences so she could just get it over with, avoid a long conversation, answering questions about it.  Maybe by having it scripted, she could recite it by rote and not have to really think about it or dredge up too many emotions. 

Maybe the “Oh yeah” that preceded her telling Ennis was her digging that script out in her mind.  It had been several months since Jack died, and Ennis's call was unexpected.  She had probably not had to talk about how Jack died for awhile, so she needed a couple of seconds to remember it. 

I'm too tired right now to think much on what all this says about me.  Hell, I've had a tough enough time making sure I didn't mess up on my verb tenses in this post.  Y'all figure it out if you want and get back to me.  I'm going to bed. 
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Offline BelAir

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Re: Annie says Jack's death is a "test"
« Reply #45 on: November 16, 2007, 09:54:34 am »
I think it says that you have a good handle on the English language, and have given time and consideration to the characters' motivations in both the movie and the short story.

  ;)
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Offline Artiste

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Re: Annie says Jack's death is a "test"
« Reply #46 on: November 20, 2007, 07:13:33 pm »
Jack was murdered!

Other way than that... is just wishfull thinking!

There are too many gays being murdered because one is a gay man!! Unfortunate, but facts are real!

That to me is what Annie says!! So a gay man must be careful! And society needs to be changed!

But the BM movie seems to accent maybe for death?

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Re: Annie says Jack's death is a "test"
« Reply #47 on: January 14, 2008, 03:05:29 pm »
Well, she did say (and I'm quoting from our front page here):

Quote
"It is my feeling that a story is not finished until it is read, and that the reader finishes it through his or her life experience, prejudices, world view and thoughts." - Annie Proulx
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Offline Artiste

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Re: Annie says Jack's death is a "test"
« Reply #48 on: January 15, 2008, 12:43:45 pm »
Thansk Atz, and thanks to others too!!

Atz, you say: I also completely agree with this.  Artists (in general) really often do have an interesting blind spot when it comes to truly looking at their own work.  I suppose this is somewhat understandable since they're also **so** close to the work itself.  Sometimes it takes an objective viewer to get a real grasp on a work of art or to see how it might have greater/fuller meaning than even the artist could predict or articulate.



....

Atz, may I agree with you! Plus say too that, since I am an artist who create paintings on canvas, that there are times (mostly in my case) that I know what I did; as an example, there were some abstracts (in a way) created by me years ago, and when I met a friend of a friend, I was so surprised that he had realized what I had done!! He was a student becoming soon a minister (pastor), and he told me exactly which religious or humanistic subject I had created in EACH different painting I had created!!

I think that Jack's death was a test... in many ways. I am starting to understand that... I feel.

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Offline RossInIllinois

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Re: Annie says Jack's death is a "test"
« Reply #49 on: January 30, 2008, 03:40:00 pm »
It sure makes sense to me.  Even more so because Ennis is in "hiding" and he sees it as a killing/murder in his eyes in the short and in the film. What she did was give the story two endings and let the readers/viewers decide Jacks fate on there own. Its really very clever considering the subject matter.