Variation on a Theme by Andrew Brown

Brokeback Mountain: it’s disturbing to watch these men feel each other up

Watching Ang Lee gaining Taiwan’s first Best Director Oscar in years, I found myself wondering: is men kissing each other passionately a perfectly wholesome film topic? This wasn’t a bit of pretend kissing. Jake and his Australian co-actor, Heath Ledger, were properly smooching with each other, thrusting each other with full force on the ground. They both showed pure, naked, fierce, animalistic fervour of a sort that one doesn’t naturally associate with two men – or two girls for that matter. Quite honestly my initial reaction was one of shock. I felt rather as I would if I’d bumped into two drunken guys groping the hell out of each other outside a Soho gay bar on a Friday night – a bit unsettled. The photographs of the cowboy men will be all over the papers tomorrow, because they’re dramatic and sensational.

With those cowboy lovers – and I realise this will probably sound appallingly homophobic – I couldn’t help retching at the thought of their rough beards scraping the sides of their cheeks. Would it bother me to see one of my own sons ferociously Frenching another man by a campfire for people’s entertainment? I’m really not sure. Possibly. On the other hand I might be proud of his skill as an actor. I know full well that, as a heterosexual, it’s none of my business, but it’s what I thought and felt. After a few minutes I’d got used to it. But, then, you can get used to anything, can’t you?

[Disclaimer: It should be blindingly obvious, but since we’re on the internets (where it is apparently obligatory to turn off all sarcasm and wit detection mechanisms upon arrival) it can’t hurt to emphasise: this is satire.

And for anyone that missed it, the target of the aforementioned satire is a fantastically ignorant post by Andrew Brown on his Telegraph blog called “Women’s judo: it’s disturbing to watch these girls beat each other up”. In short, the lack of femininity in Olympic Judo apparently offends Brown’s patronising sexist sensibilities. Perhaps I’m alone on this one, but:

  1. I find women’s judo entirely wholesome thanks, Andrew, just like everything else that women do that’s none of my fucking business. Then again I have a feeling that the question was just rhetorical, so perhaps I shouldn’t have answered.
  2. Similarly, I’m not sure if I was supposed to be included under the banner of this amorphous ‘one’ that has strong feelings about which qualities are ‘naturally’ associated with women and which aren’t. Just to set the record straight, though, I’d like to opt out please.
  3. Protip: It’s not the fact that you’re a man that means that it’s none of your business what women choose to do with their lives or their free time. The wonderful thing about sexism is that it comes in all shapes and sizes.
  4. I’m glad that you have “got used” to the unbefitting spectacle of women doing something other than pushing out babies. Turns out that you really can get used to anything, no matter how “unwholesome” or “unnatural” it is. Next thing you know we’ll be giving them the vote!]