Author Topic: A Ninth Viewing Observation  (Read 128575 times)

Offline serious crayons

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Re: A Ninth Viewing Observation
« Reply #230 on: August 12, 2006, 03:01:04 pm »
Why is it that I never get any responses like:

"Wow Jane, I agree completely with ever'thing you just wrote!"

"You are hunnerd percent right"

"exactly what I was gonna say, you took the words right off my computer screen!  Damn you JT!"

 ??? ;D ;D

PS:  I still stand by ever word I wrote... not sure why you guys can't see this logic like I do.   ???

What's funny, Jane, is that I DO think a lot of people agree with much of what you say. As for me, I know of only one other person here whose views are consistently very close to mine, a couple more whose views overlap mine quite a bit, and maybe a couple of others with whom I have some views in common, but not all.

And then there's a whole bunch of people whose views are diametrically opposed to mine on a lot of issues! You're probably one of them, Jane, judging from the debates we've had, but I think you've got plenty of company on your "side" (so to speak -- not that we're taking sides, exactly! :)).

As far as I can tell, the only thing that seems particularly unusual about your views is that you see Ennis acknowledging that he is gay early on, but not acknowledging it's love until the end. Seems to me that most people either feel it's both early on, or it's both at the end. So yours is a different, I think. That said, I think you'll find plenty of agreement with you on both points (just not necessarily from the same people).

 :)
« Last Edit: August 12, 2006, 05:54:53 pm by latjoreme »

Offline welliwont

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Re: A Ninth Viewing Observation
« Reply #231 on: August 12, 2006, 05:45:56 pm »

As far as I can tell, the only thing that seems particularly unusual about your views is that you see Ennis acknowledging that he is gay early on, but not acknowledging it's love until the end. Seems to me that most people either feel it's both early on, or it's both at the end. So yours is an unusual combination, I think. That said, I think you'll find plenty of agreement with you on both points (just not necessarily from the same people).

 :)

Well, in my unending quest to pin down every nuance of this film I now believe both of those seemingly contradictory views.

yeah, all those rainbow questionnaires were great, weren't they?  Here are the links to the latest responses to each questionnaire.

Jack's Questionnaire, Part 2:

http://bettermost.net/forum/index.php?topic=3196.msg56899#msg56899

Jack's Questionnaire, Part 1:

http://bettermost.net/forum/index.php?topic=3196.msg56823#msg56823

Fun Brokeback Questionnaires 3:

http://bettermost.net/forum/index.php?topic=3129.msg55828#msg55828

Fun Brokeback questionnaire 2:

http://bettermost.net/forum/index.php?topic=3148.msg55646#msg55646

Fun Brokeback Questionnaires:

http://bettermost.net/forum/index.php?topic=3107.msg74242#msg74242

Jane

« Last Edit: August 12, 2006, 07:09:03 pm by JakeTwist »
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Offline Front-Ranger

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Re: A Ninth Viewing Observation
« Reply #232 on: August 12, 2006, 05:51:56 pm »
I'll agree w/everything U say a hunderd percent, no instruction manual questionnaire needed, if you'll let me take off yr sunglasses!!
Too much to do. . .I don't have time to get old!

Offline welliwont

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Re: A Ninth Viewing Observation
« Reply #233 on: August 12, 2006, 05:55:20 pm »
I'll agree w/everything U say a hunderd percent, no instruction manual questionnaire needed, if you'll let me take off yr sunglasses!!

hahahahaha!   :laugh: :laugh:

I wish I could take off those damn sunglasses!   :D  Just wait till you see my next avatar!

J
Then the clouds opened up and God said, "I hate you, Alfafa."

Offline serious crayons

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Re: A Ninth Viewing Observation
« Reply #234 on: August 12, 2006, 05:56:21 pm »
Well, in my unending quest to pin down every nuance of this film I now believe both of those seemingly contradictory views.

yeah, all those rainbow questionnaires were great, weren't they?

Thank god we all have different mixtures of opinions. Or else what would we have to talk about?

 :D

Offline nakymaton

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Re: A Ninth Viewing Observation
« Reply #235 on: August 12, 2006, 06:18:55 pm »
That sad fact is that WY was not and may still not be a safe place to be out. Ennis fears were not without reason. He did long for the sweet life with Jasck but he knew it wasnt possable.

This is a really important point, and it often seems to get lost in discussions. Maybe that's because the movie doesn't hit us over the head with the time and place, but lets it simply be part of the story and the characters. Maybe that's because the movie doesn't belabor the threat (for instance, making Old Man Twist a jerk, but not an obviously homophobic jerk). But still... Matthew Shepard was killed a year after the short story was published. It would have been illegal for Jack and Ennis to have sex in Texas, Utah, and Idaho (and several other states) until a few years ago (!). (So much for moving to Texas being an improvement...)

The story is so emotionally powerful for me, I think, because it's mostly about internal conflict (especially within Ennis). But, all the same, Ennis is not internally conflicted and a stickler for rules -- he's also the realist in the relationship. Jack is a pie-in-the-sky dreamer; Ennis knows (and, I think, loves) that about him. (I'm thinking of the look Ennis gives when both Lureen and OMT mention Jack's dreams -- it's this look that says "yes, that's my Jack f***ing Twist," so fond and sad at the same time.)

I guess I could also characterize Ennis as a pessimist and Jack as an optimist. The question of whether Ennis was being paranoid or realistic is one of those bits of open space between what we know and what we try to believe, I think...

(Cause, as they say, you're not paranoid if they're really out to get you.)
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Offline Mikaela

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Re: A Ninth Viewing Observation
« Reply #236 on: August 12, 2006, 07:56:35 pm »
Quote
It would have been illegal for Jack and Ennis to have sex in Texas, Utah, and Idaho (and several other states) until a few years ago (!).

That's one thing I've been wondering about: I've been assuming that gay sex was illegal in Wyoming in 1963, and I've been wondering how long it stayed illegal.... whether it still was at the time of Jack's death. Do any of you know?

And as to the Matthew Shepard tragedy - I know that has made a deep impact, and very rightly so. But was violence towards gays the rule even at that much later time, or was the kind of violence (though at a less lethal scale) perpetrated towards him rather an exception to the rule? I do sincerely hope the latter but I admit to knowing far too little about it, I've never read any statistics concerning harassment cases, or opinion polls concerning gay rights. Where is Wyoming today on the issue of gay marriage? Probably set against it?

I guess what I'm saying is that yes, I completely agree; - Ennis was surely right in being extremely cautious and careful. But if he hadn't carried all the heavy emotional and psychological baggage from watching a man tortured to death and having to live in secret terror with a parent who he had to assume might well kill him for being who he was, - wouldn't that sweet life still have been feasible somehow, if they were careful about it? And if not in 1967, then at least as time went by, when they reached the early '80's? I would think so?

TV just aired "Far from Heaven" and I re-watched it mainly for the "Brokeback"relevant side of the plot. Set in a upper middle class urban setting it's not only very far from Heaven but also from the Wyoming of Ennis and Jack, - but nevertheless it does have the husband in the story eventually, after much soul-searching and self-loathing and alcohol abuse, moving out to be or live in a gay relationship, and that in the late 1950's....



« Last Edit: August 12, 2006, 07:59:25 pm by Mikaela »

Offline dly64

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Re: A Ninth Viewing Observation
« Reply #237 on: August 12, 2006, 09:27:44 pm »
I am reading through all of these notes and I am probably one of those dissenting from the majority. I know we have gone round and round about this … so I doubt that I will change anyone’s mind. But, I am still going to reiterate my point (in regards to Ennis acknowledging that he is gay). IMO, Ennis does not acknowledge this until the lake scene when, at that moment, he realizes this “thing” he feels for Jack is love. Before that, Ennis did not see himself as gay and certainly not “queer.”  I don’t know that he ever labeled himself as “queer.” (NOTE: I am not saying that he didn’t know he loved Jack. What I am saying is that he could not label the intensity of his feelings as “love.”)

Let’s look at this from a psychological standpoint:
1.   Ennis was nine, a very impressionable age, when his father made him look at a beaten and dismembered man who was murdered because he was gay.
2.   Ennis suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder …. the definition being:
·   a type of anxiety problem. It can develop after your life is threatened, or after you experience or see a traumatic event. Usually, the event makes you feel very afraid or helpless.

·   Symptoms include:
·   flashbacks, nightmares, or frightening thoughts, especially when exposed to anything reminiscent of the traumatic event,
·   increased consciousness of one’s own mortality,
·   avoidance of reminders of the event
·   flight/fight syndrome,
·   outbursts of anger,
·   hyper- vigilance and alertness to possible danger,
·   increased startle reaction re-experiencing the traumatic event,
·   feelings of guilt,
·   failed relationships/divorce,
·   severe depression, anxiety disorders or phobias, 
·   employment problems.

3.   If not treated, this condition can last for years.

Symptomatically, PTSD describes Ennis to a tee. It is important to understand this because it lays the foundation for everything Ennis is … how he sees himself, how he sees the world, how he reacts to situations, etc. (as an additional note …. Ennis was not, IMO, a responsible person. He quit as many jobs as he could and was unable to support his family. It wasn’t until he was forced  to pay child support when he began holding down jobs).

Now, let’s move on to the acknowledgement of Ennis’ sexuality. Ennis was taught that homosexuality was a bad thing. He was taught to hate his feelings … i.e. deny any feelings of attraction towards the same sex. This is where “defense conformity” comes into play. This can be described as follows:

·   The conformity to norms is often quite unconscious.  It has been internalized (learned well), probably in early childhood.  Our societal norms are seldom doubted; rather, we take them as givens, as "the way things are."  The learning is supported throughout life by the "validity" of the norm -- i.e. it works because it is the norm. But most of what is called conformity concerns something "somewhat conscious" and "not quite voluntary."  It is usually brought on by social anxiety and fear

Often the argument is made that Ennis acknowledged he was gay because he certainly was enjoying their sexual relationship on BBM. But, one cannot compare the life on BBM with the life post mountain. BBM was free of societal norms and expectations. Ennis’ fears were suspended because he had no external pressures. There was another thread that talked about the “punch” Ennis gave Jack. The more I think about it, the more I see the “punch” as a way for Ennis to (attempt) to divorce his feelings towards Jack.


The last piece to this puzzle is Ennis’ denial. We know that 1) Ennis suffers from PTSD and 2) conforms to societal expectations out of fear. Denial is described as:

Denial is a psychological defense mechanism in which a person faced with a fact that is uncomfortable or painful to accept rejects it instead, insisting that it is not true despite what may be overwhelming evidence. The subject may deny the reality of the unpleasant fact altogether (simple denial), admit the fact but deny its seriousness (minimisation) or admit both the fact and seriousness but deny responsibility (transference).

This describes Ennis, too. His internal dialogue rejects any thought that he might be gay. Is this logical? No. But denial
isn’t
logical. We can look at Ennis and think it is obvious that he is gay. But just because he says certain things like, “ …she don’t ever suspect?” does not mean he is acknowledging that he is gay.
There is a well known phenomenon of married men who want to have sex with other men. One of their requirements is that the other man is not gay. They usually try to hook up with other married men. We look at that and say, “what??” But their view of “gay” or “queer” is not the sexual act. It is a lifestyle.

The psychology of Ennis (or any human being) is not cut and dry. It is not always logical. As I look at Ennis, I see a very complex person who has experienced a lot of tragedy and pain in his life. So, what may seem illogical to us, really makes a lot of sense to Ennis’ way of thinking.



Diane

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Offline serious crayons

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Re: A Ninth Viewing Observation
« Reply #238 on: August 13, 2006, 12:47:07 am »
The psychology of Ennis (or any human being) is not cut and dry. It is not always logical. As I look at Ennis, I see a very complex person who has experienced a lot of tragedy and pain in his life. So, what may seem illogical to us, really makes a lot of sense to Ennis’ way of thinking.

I can certainly agree with this paragraph! And here is one other paragraph I agree with:

Quote
Often the argument is made that Ennis acknowledged he was gay because he certainly was enjoying their sexual relationship on BBM. But, one cannot compare the life on BBM with the life post mountain. BBM was free of societal norms and expectations. Ennis’ fears were suspended because he had no external pressures.

That's exactly what I think. Often, I have thought that people who say Ennis can't acknowledge that he is gay, or can't accept that he loves a man, are referring to internal pressures. In other words, that he has been too traumatized as a kid to face up to their relationship even in his own mind.

But on Brokeback, in the absense of external pressure, his fears go away. As do his denial, reluctance, etc. As long as there is no chance of social disapproval, he's thrilled to be with Jack. He's crushed when their time together has to end.

That's why I don't agree that Ennis was reluctant to accept (in his own mind) that he loved a man. He just didn't want to do so openly. He loved being with Jack -- as long as it was in the middle of nowhere. Look at his expression when he gets out of the truck in the "look what I brought" scene. Look at the cozy spooning in TS3. To me, those say he's extremely happy to be there, not that he's reluctantly showing up for something he doesn't even want to admit to himself he enjoys. (Actually, I can fairly easily imagine someone in that sort of a denial situation. But when they show up for the rendezvous, they don't have a huge beaming smile on their face. And when it's time to go to sleep, they don't snuggle up to the other person; they turn away.)

In fact, the only thing that says to me that Ennis can't admit he loves a man is that one frickin line in the short story (which Andrew helpfully pointed out contains a "then," fixing it in the past). Otherwise, everything about Ennis' behavior in the film and even, for that matter, in the story, tells me that his problem is not that he can't accept loving a man but that he can't be public about loving a man. That's a whole different thing. But it still is in perfect accordance with which the way many people think of as the film's (and story's) theme: the damage wrought by societal homophobia.

Offline serious crayons

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Re: A Ninth Viewing Observation
« Reply #239 on: August 13, 2006, 01:05:47 am »
Why is it that I never get any responses like:

"You are hunnerd percent right"

PS, Jane, I just happened to go back and read your recent post with your responses on one of those questionnaires. And I can truthfully say about half of my answers match yours. So:

You are 50 percent right!

(Does that help?  ;) ;) ;))

No, really, I think people agree with you more than you might think.