Sex, drugs and disco is no where to be found in the 1960's pastoral setting of “Brokeback Mountain”, Hollywood's latest depiction of homosexuality. While good to see Hollywood depicting gay men as something other than drug using, panty wearing, promiscuous party-boys; exploration of self-loathing men who happen to have sex with other men is not the gay positive image I would qualify as "progressive," "groundbreaking" for gays. Written by two straight women, Brokeback is really more of a Feminist deconstruction of the male ego than gay men or gay life.

What explain the "intimacy" between the two main characters, Ennis and Jack, is the silence that surrounds both the landscape. This movie indirectly posits the idea that both of these men's emotional and conversational distance (and by extension, their homosexuality) were created by a bad relationship with their parents. Fermented by continued lifelong isolation and finally wanting for that one person, often assumed to be a woman, more devoted to her man than her career and who can touch the damaged portion of his ego. Both these men live their lives broken and bare.

The way the sexual relationship starts between the men is jerky, unrealistic and borders on rape. It furthers stereotypes of the unbridled sexual aggression of men, that homosexuality at it's core is sex, and that the act of anal sex is THE behavior of homosexuality. We see this in Ennis flipping his wife over and having her anally in the one sex scene we see them complete. Gay sex is seen at first to have nothing to do with intimacy with other men, which may or may not come later and is secondary to sex itself. Also this movie ignores the reality that gay identity was fast becoming a part of the public awareness at that point in American history... after all, this movie mirrors the time frame from Stonewall, to the first American gay rights political movement, and ends at the start of the AIDS era. All of this seems to be a world away, however, and is one of many reasons why you cannot really call this a gay movie at all. So, what makes this movie gay?

Jack "Twist" is the more risky of the two, dreaming of a “radical” life lived with another man, essentially as a married heterosexual couple, while Ennis, which sounds conveniently close to anus, sees his urges as primarily physical manifestations in the absence of anything else in his life. This is a classic white heterosexual feminist slash fantasy in which Heath Ledger, an avowed heterosexual makes the iconic emotionally unavailable man available to you, the assumed female audience member who becomes the voyeur to a man's hidden emotional life as the invisible third partner in this pseudo-gay relationship.

The fact that it was another man who touched Ennis’ gut wrenching isolation is treated as incidental, and at one point, he even blames Jack for having “those feelings.” Jack is ultimately punished for his desires with a brutal gay bashing that ends with his death. Ennis, who is more interested in upholding the traditions of his now broken family life above his own “selfish” sexual desires, is rewarded by continued life, and the ultimate prize of a daughter who intends to marry a man.

Gays are yet again being fooled by the “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy” sensibility that ANY depiction of a gay is good, regardless of context, realism or semantics. And this movie very much was Queer Guys for the Straight Gal, basically an echo of the minstrel show that instead of liberating the black performers’ who participated, it reinforced the stereotypes whites felt about them. In fact, “Brokeback Mountain” is like Vaudeville where whites wore black face. Hollywood makes gays “acceptable” to the mainstream by ensuring only heterosexual actors play gay characters. Brokeback Mountain would've been better if Danny Pinatauro or Jonathan Taylor Thomas, male actors who have had virtually no career since coming out, had played these men struggling with sexual identity. Their real life experiences would have added a dimension to the acting that heterosexuals just cannot understand and I felt was lacking, but most audiences read as a realistic portrayal of the “traditional” male ego where you don’t show emotions. What we see in Brokeback Mountain is a condensing liberal version of the same fear and digust that killed another gay man from Wyoming named Matthew Shepard.