THIS IS A MERGED THREAD:
I guess this topic really got to me, because I started it two different times a week apart, without remembering. The two threads are essentially the same discussion, so I have merged them.
And I'm going to take a chance and make this first post huge, by including both first-posts in it. I think I stated the issue better--and more globally--the second time, so I'm going to start with that, and follow it with the original post.
FIRST POST FROM THE SECOND THREAD, NOW MERGED IN:
We've been having a lively discussion in the Oprah thread about whether Oprah will and/or should show a clip of The Kiss.
And a certain post--below--really got me thinking; thinking back, really to the biggest gay dream I have, and to one of the biggest hope I have for short/medium-term impact of this film: the accelaration of acceptable kissing. Or at least non-gasp gay kissing.
Here's the line from the post that sent me reeling slightly:
I don't think the Oprah Show should show the kissing scenes. Without knowing the background of the characters or having the chance to become absorbed in their plight, it could take away from the story.
I can't wait to look back on comments like this in 20 years and chuckle or gasp.
I'm not even disagreeing with shesanapagirl, it's the the truth in the statement that sort of rocked me. We don't live 20 years from now, and the kiss is indeed shocking to a lot of people, and men kissing "out of context" is indeed . . . God, I don't know, in desperate need of context?
Which is just so freaking insane to me.
Which is such a measure of how deeply the entire gay population of America is STILL halfway in the closet.
We have come so far so fast 35 years since Stonewall in one huge sense. Far from all, but most gay people now seem willing to come out and admit it, at least to most people in their lives. And most straight people--at least a slim majority--more or less accept it. Yeah, OK, there are gay people, and I guess they're OK too.
But this whole kiss thing--and the refusal of every and and every TV show from Leno to Good Morning America to the Globe telecast and even Charlie Rose to show it, when every other romantic movie ever marketed uses the kissing shots over and over and over. (Check out the 30-second Tristan and Isolde ad: about three different kissing shots. Good God, even the freaking Brokeback
ad has two kisses in it, just not between the romantic leads!) Charlie Rose really takes the cake. Even on PBS? On an intellectual show, where the entire hour was devoted to Brokeback--half the length of the film--with half a dozen extended clips used?
It all points up the fact that every gayguy knows, but I think most straight people have no idea is still plaguing us: We're only out of the closet verbally. Our bodies are still in there. We're still standing in the freaking closet with the door shut firmly in front of us so they can't actually see us, calling out through the little air gaps, "I'm gay!"
And they have gradually come to call back in, "OK, we get it. It's OK you're gay." But the unspoken--or occasionally spoken, on the rare occasion that we're uppity enough about it to be need to told to keep that shit to ourselves--end of their statement is, "Just don't ever step out of there or open the freaking door and let us see any of it. That's disgusting!"
Which is exactly what we're hearing from a lot of the straightguys about this movie: I don't want to see
See the sex, OK, that's understandable--and Ang was wise not to really show it, just show enough to suggest it.
But the kissing, come on. I see straight people kissing EVERY DAY. You can't go to a restaurant without seeing half a dozen brief little exchanges, if you happen to look around. You certainly can't stand by the arrival area at O'Hare without seeing one after another after another after another. Did you watch the World Series? Did you see any of the reaction shots when a Sox player hit a homer? Lots of high fives, lots of jumping up and down, and also lots of kissing. It's so taken for granted it's invisible (unless it gets all mushy and erotic, like Al and Tipper Gore way back at that convention.)
Even the most harmless act of affection that we all take for granted, has to remain hidden.
For 35 years of coming "out," the whole gay thing has only been out in theory. In words. The can handle the idea of us being gay, but not the reality of it.
And I, for one, am SO OVER THAT.
I wrote way back a couple years ago in one of my early blog entries on gay marriage in 2003
, that what I really wanted most in my gay life was just to be able to go to a Rockies' game at Coors field and walk in holding hands with my boyfriend like all the thousands of straight couples were doing, and to share a quick kiss with him without even pausing to think about it when somebody hit a homer, just like all the thousands of straight couples.
AND I wanted him to feel comfortable doing it. Because I have been to that game and wanted to hold hands and kiss when appropriate and he refused. He was sure we'd get beat up. Or spit at, or at the very least stared at, sneered at.
I doubt very much we would have gotten beat up, though if we tried it a hundred times our luck may well have run out. And there was no denying we'd get sneered at and stared at, even just the one time.
And gay people have to take ownership of this.
Most gay people have done a very brave thing and come out verbally. (I know it scared the shit out of me. And God, if only I had to do it once. Each freaking friend and group of friends, I sure wish I could have just emailed a memo.)
That was hard, but it's much harder to actually step out of the closet, instead of just shouting through the closed door. Very few of us have taken that step, or take it very often. It's hard. Straight people have no been very ready for it. And we have all been fragmented--very hard to do it when hardly any of the other homos are.
Well . . .
Two young straightboys some creative straight writers and a brilliant straight director and a whole lot of other creative people have done a great big piece of it for us.
Jake and Heath are up there kissing on the giant screen, and--here's the astounding part--for a huge chunk of Americans, those two straightboys kissing will be the first romantic kiss between two men, they have ever seen.
And it will be / has been shocking and unsetting for them, but . . . well, you're only a virgin once.
It's up to us to quit being such chickens about it and start being ourselves more. PDAs, no. That is just as offensive as when a straight couple does it, and will only turn people off. But anytime a straight couple would do it, we should too. And not just in the gay ghettos, but when we're in the suburbs or at the ballpark, or wherever.
And this freebie. This Heath & Jake kiss. I want EVERYone to see that. I want Oprah to show it to 5 million housewives, I want the Oscars to show it to a billion people around the world . . .
I want them to get used to it.
We're here. We're queer. Not just in theory. Get used to it.
FIRST POST FROM THE FIRST THREAD:
Last night, after the Globes, Wayman made a comment that got me rolling on something. I posted it on my blog, and it's starting to generate some reaction there, so I thought I'd bring the discussion here.
The blog post follows, or it's here: http://blogs.salon.com/0001137/2006/01/17.html#a1865
-- and you can click on the comments there if you're interested in those:
The wonderful NY Daily News writer Wayman Wong posted this tonight on my Brokeback Mountain Discussion Board, looking back on the Globes ceremony:
I'm thrilled for the movie. I'm thrilled for Ang Lee. I'm thrilled for Diana Ossana and Larry McMurtry. But couldn't someone in their acceptance speech even acknowledge the simple fact that the movie is a love story about two guys, and they're thrilled at how audiences have reacted to how universal that story is? Neither the word ''gay'' or ''homosexual'' ever came up. Look, I'm not asking for anyone to read a GLAAD statement or wave a rainbow flag, but something. . . http://davecullen.com/forum/index.php?topic=285.msg13230#msg13230
Yeah, I was feeling a little of that too.
But I really starting getting irked when the film-summary/mini-trailer they ran for Brokeback a best pic nominee also skirted it. It's been one thing to omit it in the ads--if you're selling something, why grab the one aspect most unsettling to most of the audience and stick it in their face? But this wasn't (supposedly) about selling. This was supposedly a show about awarding the work, not selling it. (I know that's really naive, I know it's not true, but at least it ought to be a mixture of awarding and selling.)
At what point is it both dishonest and implicity copping to a self of shame not to admit what the hell it's about in the damn segment devoted to it?
I'm starting to feel more and more like this is the closeted movie. One of those ridiculous cases where everyone knows the guy's gay, but everyone pretends. In certain circles. Fine to discuss it, awkardly, on talk shows but not in the ads and not on awards shows?
For once they actually showed the clip of the boys getting close to kissing, so it was suggested. Suggested, great. Still, we get shots of the guys kissing their wives and dancing with them, but they still can't show the kiss that's at the heart of the movie? One of the other nominated films showed a bedroom shot and they can't show a kiss?
This really would have been the time. Just show the damn kiss!
One of the many crucial reasons for straights to see this film is to see two guys can kiss without the world coming to an end. For a lot of people out there, it will be the first time they ever see two men kiss. That's a real problem. Millions of us kissing each other every day of the year, but we're still doing it in hiding, so they're still unnerved by it, because it's been sanitized out of their lives.
That part of our lives is still very closeted. Not the sex, not gross PDAs--nobody needs to be seeing that--but the simple tender, everyday moments of happy couples holding hands, exchanged a brief kiss in public without a second thought. For thaty 99% of all gays 99% of the time still closet ourselves.
And it's a fully self-propogating system, because the straight people will always be unsettled by it and rightfully so if we keep hiding it.
Half a billion people watchig, they claim. Show them the damn kiss.
Maybe at the Oscars.
I won't hold my breath. But maybe. At least they'll be all done worry about any effects on the oscar race by then. They'll be worrying about getting the max box office bump out of the oscarcast, though.
And yeah, that's important to me, too. I'd rather see people actually get to the film and be taken in by the whole experience than just see one kiss, out of context, and out of emotional involvement on tv.
So maybe they're right, it's unpragmatic to do it.
Maybe I'm just getting angry again, that the longer this goes on, the more times they have to quake and wonder "should we show the kiss?" "should we mention the gay word?" it just reminds me how damn preposterous the whole situation is that most of the country has been sticking their heads in the sand and pretending millions of men in this country don't kiss each other, much less fuck.
It's freaking annoying. And I know I've been getting ahead of myself, feeling like straight people are finally starting to see it as this film rolls out--and not turning into pillars of salt!--but man, do we have a ways to go.
Which all leads me back full circle to Brokeback Mountain. What a wonderful, wonderful gift to our world this film has become.