Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Mickey Kaus Loves the Ladies. Really!

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12/15/05, 8:40 pm

Regarding the new gay cowboy romance, Brokeback Mountain, Mickey Kaus has this to say:
I'm highly skeptical that a movie about gay cowhands, however good, will find a large mainstream audience. I'll go see it, but I don't want to go see it. (Why? Sexual
orientation really is in the genes. Sorry.)
Kaus doesn't want to see it because he's straight straight straight. When a correspondent questions why straight men should be uninterested in a gay romance when gay people manage to find pleasure in hetero romances, Kaus responds:
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.
Got that? Kaus isn't interested in Brokeback Mountain only because he wants to see women when he goes to the movies. But it's not, NOT, because he's homophobic.

Interesting. First Kaus doubted that mainstream audiences would be interested in Brokeback Mountain. Apparently though, it's only heterosexual men who won't be interested. Straight women (if I follow Kaus's logic) should be doubly interested because of its two attractive male romantic leads. And hetero men won't be interested not because they find gay romance aversive, but rather because of the lack of female romantic leads. Gay women, I assume, will have no interest in it at all.

But does a movie have to have attractive female romantic leads to interest straight men, as Kaus says? Surely men straight men like lots of movies that have no romantic leads, and no romance, whatsoever. Like, for instance, Rope, or Terminator.

Or does a movie just need to "feature an actor or actress [that heterosexual men] find attactive?" as Kaus says in the same paragraph. Well Citizen Cain is no expert on attractiveness, but he knows what he likes. And he likes Brokeback Mountain co-stars (caution-- racy image) Anne Hathaway and Michelle Williams. But perhaps these beautiful women don't get enough screen time in Brokeback Mountain to satisfy Kaus. Does Kaus also find himself uninterested, I wonder, in the many Hollywood films that feature a dozen or so male leads and one female lead, who gets minimal screen time (say, Ocean's Eleven or any of the classic Smurf pictures)? Does he stay away from movies that have no featured females at all (say Reservoir Dogs, or 12 Angry Men, or Master and Commander)?

Citizen Cain hasn't seen Brokeback Mountain. So he can't recommend for or against it. Nor would he assume that anyone who doesn't care to see it or who doesn't enjoy it must be homophobic. Moreover, Citizen Cain shares Kaus's pleasure in seeing beautiful women in movies. However, Citizen Cain also can sometimes identify with movie characters who experience powerful longing, even if the object of desire isn't to Citizen Cain's own taste.

Finally, I see that Andrew Sullivan has noticed that Kaus's posts on this topic:
The great thing about blogging is that, if it's done right and honestly, it can sometimes reveal things about yourself even you didn't know.
Well said.