Monday, January 30, 2006

Oprah vs. John Wayne

While doing the ironing, I turned on the TV the other day. Oprah was on. I am not a big O fan, but I occasionally watch if there is something that catches my eye. Being a rancher’s wife, whenever I say something about watching O, my husband says, "Don’t tell the neighbors!" About ten years ago we were in Chicago for a convention when a well-meaning friend took me to the Oprah show. It was fun, but I was amazed at how worshipful the women were. In this big holding room before the show, there were TVs mounted on the walls showing old O shows. The ladies would squeal and say, "Oh, I remember that one!" They were all so excited, it was comical. I was glad that the show that I attended was not controversial. I would have gotten up and left if had been something that I could not stomach – like the show that I just turned on while doing the ironing.

Oprah was interviewing the cast of "Brokeback Mountain". Hmmm didn’t she just get in trouble a few days before for promoting the book "A Million Little Pieces" and it turned out to be lies? Now she is promoting a movie that undermines and belittles marriage and family (more on this in a minute). It really bothers me that people (women especially) take what O says, believe it, and run with it. All she has to do is mention a book, and then it is a best seller. She makes the writer rich with just a word. Although she may very well be a nice lady (with lots of money to throw around) she is just an actress, journalist, TV host. Why should anything she says make a difference in our lives? Sometimes she may have something interesting to say or have someone interesting on her show, but sometimes she is just an irresponsible journalist speaking trash, and has no idea what fires she starts. Oh yeah, she is willing to take responsibility when she does something good for someone, and she did admit she was wrong about "A Million Little Pieces". But what about when she said, "I’ll never touch another hamburger" on her show and the meat industry took a real blow in the stock market? All of the sudden, she says that she does not have that kind of influence. Unfortunately, she does.

Now, what has she done for "Brokeback Mountain"? Will all of these ladies rush out and watch it just because O said it was a good movie? You bet they will. So here is a movie about to sheep herders (not cowboys) who fall in love, have sex, and then go and marry women and have families – yet they still get together for sexual relations up in the mountains. The movie is supposed to make us feel sorry for them. Here is what World Magazine had to say: "…Life with their families is all crying babies, demanding wives, and hard frustrating work. Gay sex with a kindred spirit in the glorious outdoors is portrayed as so much better. But the symbolism is all-wrong. The movie associates homosexuality with nature- magnificent mountains, big sky, clear blue water, teeming forests – as contrasted with the constraints of a tacky, empty civilization. But whether you are a creationist or a Darwinist, having children and struggling to survive are what’s ‘natural’. Leaving your family for escapist, sterile sex is literally ‘unnatural’."

It is not just the promoting homosexuality that bothers me (and that does bother me). It is promoting the "if it feels good do it – to hell with everyone else" attitude that bothers me. These sheepherders were cheating on their wives, and this movie wants you to think that is okay because they love each other. Is that what O is promoting these days?

I once heard Kirk Douglas say that years ago when he was going to play the part of Van Gogh, John Wayne came to him and told him it was not a good role, and that he should not play the part. Kirk D’s attitude was that he was an actor trying to play all sorts of challenging rolls. John W’s attitude was that actors had a responsibility to the public in what kind of people they portrayed. I think we need more John Waynes today.

Some of you will say, that you only want to see the movie to see for yourself what it is about, but if this movie makes money, Hollywood will use that excuse to make more of these kinds of movies.


inpassing said...

OMG, just the thought of "Brokeback Mountain" nauseates me!! Perhaps O has always been liberal and my ears have just become more finely tuned, but I've found her opinions quite nauseating lately, too. I guess to quote the Duke, I could say, "Well Pilgrim...I've just had a lot of trouble with nausea lately."

Buck Pennington said...

Well said, BB. VERY well said.