I apologize in advance…
If a gay man, say, goes to see “Wuthering Heights,” there is at least one romantic lead of the sex he’s interested in! In “Brokeback Mountain,” neither of the two romantic leads is of a sex I’m interested in. … My wild hypothesis is that more people will go see a movie if it features an actor or actress they find attractive! If heterosexual men in heartland America don’t flock to see Brokeback Mountain it’s not because they’re bigoted. It’s because they’re heterosexual. “Heterosexuals Attracted to Members of the Opposite Sex”–for those cultural critics wondering what a commerical disappointment for this much-heralded movie will Tell Us About America Today, there’s your headline. …
If I’m reading this right, Mickey thinks that the box office of a film depends on the attractiveness of its stars to the opposite sex. The reason Mickey (and his hypothetical American movie going audience) doesn’t want to see Brokeback Mountain isn’t because gay sex makes him uncomfortable, but rather because there are no women involved. Mickey, you see, watches movies because he likes to think about having sex with attractive actresses. This explains why he was just as skeptical about the box office chances of, say, Master and Commander (no female characters) as he is about those of Brokeback Mountain. No women, and guys won’t want to see it. Or so I assume; I haven’t actually checked back into his archives to find out. Also, I invite you to examine the 2005 box office list, and tell me how much the success of these films depended on the attractiveness of their stars to the opposite sex, as opposed to story, setting, acting, writing, directing, and so forth.
I can see why Mickey feels resentful about all this. Damn dirty liberals like Frank Rich are trying to make him feel bad about not wanting to see Brokeback Mountain. Well, they’re not actually trying, but Mickey suspects that they might. Sexual preference, you see, is genetic, and Mickey is a confirmed, genetically determined heterosexual, meaning that he can’t enjoy a movie in which men have sex with one another. Worse, if Mickey did find the sex scenes…interesting… then he would be forced to ask awkward, uncomfortable questions about himself. Since we are all genetically determined to like either men or women, Mickey might be forced to wonder about which way his genes actually pointed. I can see how that would be difficult for him.
Have no sympathy for Mickey. If he had written that he was reluctant to see Brokeback Mountain because Ang Lee is a hit or miss director, I wouldn’t be harassing him. If he were reluctant to see it because films on such topics often take on an Afterschool Special quality, I wouldn’t harass him. If he were reluctant to see it because he doesn’t care for cowboy romance films, I wouldn’t harass him. Mickey has been quite specific, though; he doesn’t want to see it because it’s a gay film, and thinks it will fail commercially for the same reason. That he may be right about the second doesn’t excuse the first.
UPDATE (from Scott): Roger Ailes finds the only film of the last half-century that Kaus could like.