"Rape of the Marlboro Man"

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I've been intrigued by dynamic "popular" lists for a while now. First it was BlogDex, then came Del.icio.us, and lately I've even been glancing at Technorati's 'Today's Most Popular.

That said, I've noticed that on their popular movies page, Brokeback Mountain has been topping the list by over double the blog mentions for the past few days. I haven't taken the time to discern whether a majority of these blogs are in favor of the movie or if they are recognizing it as propaganda, but I thought I'd throw in my two cents, regardless.

Actually, just about everything I want to say about this movie has been said by David Kupelian in his article 'Brokeback Mountain': Rape of the Marlboro Man. Please read this article in its entirety. In the meantime, here are some important excerpts:
"Brokeback Mountain," the controversial "gay cowboy" film that has garnered seven Golden Globe nominations and breathless media reviews – and has now emerged as a front-runner for the Oscars – is a brilliant propaganda film, reportedly causing viewers to change the way they feel about homosexual relationships and same-sex marriage.

And how do the movie-makers pull off such a dazzling feat? Simple. They do it by raping the "Marlboro Man," that revered American symbol of rugged individualism and masculinity.

We all know the Marlboro Man. In "The Marketing of Evil," I show how the Philip Morris Company made marketing history by taking one of the most positive American images of all time – the cowboy – and attaching it to a negative, death-oriented product – cigarettes.

Hit the pause button for a moment so this idea can completely sink in: Cigarette marketers cleverly attached, in the public's mind, two utterly unrelated things: 1) the American cowboy, with all of the powerful feelings that image evokes in us, of independence, self-confidence, wide-open spaces and authentic Americanism, and 2) cigarettes, a stinky, health-destroying waste of money. This legendary advertising campaign targeting men succeeded in transforming market underdog Marlboro (up until then, sold as a women's cigarette with the slogan "Mild as May") into the world's best-selling cigarette.

It was all part of the modern marketing revolution, which meant that, instead of touting a product's actual benefits, marketers instead would psychologically manipulate the public by associating their product with the fulfillment of people's deepest, unconscious needs and desires. (Want to sell liquor? Put a seductive woman in the ad.) Obviously, the marketers could never actually deliver on that promise – but emotional manipulation sure is an effective way to sell a lot of products.

. . .

Yes, the talents of Hollywood's finest are brought together in a successful attempt at making us experience Ennis's suffering, supposedly inflicted by a homophobic society. Heath Ledger's performance is brilliant and devastating. We do indeed leave the theater feeling Ennis's pain. Mission accomplished.

Lost in all of this, however, are towering, life-and-death realities concerning sex and morality and the sanctity of marriage and the preciousness of children and the direction of our civilization itself. So please, you moviemakers, how about easing off that tight camera shot of Ennis's suffering and doing a slow pan over the massive wreckage all around him? What about the years of silent anguish and loneliness Alma stoically endures for the sake of keeping her family together, or the terrible betrayal, suffering and tears of the children, bereft of a father? None of this merits more than a brief acknowledgment in "Brokeback Mountain."

What is important to the moviemakers, rather, is that the viewer be made to feel, and feel, and feel again as deeply as possible the exquisitely painful loneliness and heartache of the homosexual cowboys – denied their truest happiness because of an ignorant and homophobic society.

Thus are the Judeo-Christian moral values that formed the very foundation and substance of Western culture for the past three millennia all swept away on a delicious tide of manufactured emotion. And believe me, skilled directors and actors can manufacture emotion by the truckload. It's what they do for a living.

Here's something I think we need to truly think about. Masterfully produced propaganda could serve to tie us emotionally to just about any behavior, no matter how deviant or gruesome.
Do we understand that Hollywood could easily produce a similar movie to "Brokeback Mountain," only this time glorifying an incest relationship, or even an adult-child sexual relationship? Like "Brokeback," it too would serve to desensitize us to the immoral and destructive reality of what we're seeing, while fervently coaxing us into embracing that which we once rightly shunned.

All the filmmakers would need to do is skillfully make viewers experience the actors' powerful emotions of loneliness and emptiness – juxtaposed with feelings of joy and fulfillment when the two "lovers" are together – to bring us to a new level of "understanding" for any forbidden "love." Alongside this, of course, they would necessarily portray those opposed to this unorthodox "love" as Nazis or thugs.

It's interesting to consider that even Jake Gyllenhaal was uncomfortable as an actor simulating homosexual sex with Heath Ledger.
I was super uncomfortable … [but] what made me most courageous was that I realized I had to try to let go of that stereotype I had in my mind, that bit of homophobia, and try for a second to be vulnerable and sensitive. It was f---in' hard, man. I succeeded only for milliseconds.

The terms "homophobia" and "stereotype" have been used and overused to mask what's really going on in the majority of American minds. It's the truth, most people are innately uncomfortable with homosexual relationships. Period. Kupelian rightly asks, "Could it be, rather, that his conflict resulted from putting himself in a position, having agreed to do the film, where he was required to violate his own conscience? As so often happens, he was tricked into pushing past invisible internal barriers – crossing a line he wasn't meant to cross. It's called seduction."

It's truly scary to step back and observe how this works. Human beings innately react negatively to an unnatural situation or corrupt behavior. Yet, when such a situation is desirable for some, people must be coaxed into ignoring that natural reacton. How is that accomplished? The definition of what is "natural" is slowly changed, and what is correct is subtley transformed into "evil." Then, opposition is easily painted as ignorance or bigotry or weakness.
As I said at the outset, Hollywood has now raped the Marlboro Man. It has taken a revered symbol of America – the cowboy – with all the powerful emotions and associations that are rooted deep down in the pioneering American soul, and grafted onto it a self-destructive lifestyle it wants to force down Americans' throats. The result is a brazen propaganda vehicle designed to replace the reservations most Americans still have toward homosexuality with powerful feelings of sympathy, guilt over past "homophobia" – and ultimately the complete and utter acceptance of homosexuality as equivalent in every way to heterosexuality.

If and when that day comes, America will have totally abandoned its core biblical principles – as well as the Author of those principles. The radical secularists will have gotten their wish, and this nation – like the traditional cowboy characters corrupted in "Brokeback Mountain" – will have stumbled down a sad, self-destructive and ultimately disastrous road.
Thanks David, you're spot-on.

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