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NYT Finally Dishes on "Brokeback Mountain"

Well sort of. In Sunday’s New York Times travel section, there is a long article on spring skiing at Jackson, Wyoming. Along the way, this paragraph appears:

With lactic acid searing our muscles, there was only one thing to do, especially since Jackson’s boutiques had all closed. . . That one thing Saturday night was: "Brokeback Mountain," playing at the Jackson Hole cinema. For $7.50 each, we learned just how popular the gay cowboy movie is here in the state in which it is set: we were two of the four people in the audience.

The NYT "public editor" can now point to this as proof of the Times balanced coverage of the movie.

Discussions - 27 Comments

Now, Mr. Hayward, you may not share this obsession, but I noticed that you wrote: The NYT "public editor" can now point to this as proof of the Times balanced coverage of the movie.



Why in the world does everyone want balanced news coverage? What is everyone obsessing about? The media are out for the truth, right? So, why does everyone hate it when they endorse candidates, lean left or right, or flat out tell you why one position is wrong? Obviously, if they straight-up lie, a media outlet on the other side of the aisle will call them on it.



Maybe it’s just me, but I’m beginning to see more and more people talk about how they hate it when the news media tries to tell them how things are. They just want both sides of the issue . . . then they can decide for themselves which is right. That’s . . . so . . . stupid. Screw that. If you want both sides of an argument, watch CNN then turn the television to Fox. Or maybe read . . . nobody ever does that anymore. Pull out a nice copy of "The Nation" and "The National Review". Maybe pick up a subscription to two different (and politically opposite) newspapers.



No. Everyone just wants to think that there is no right and no wrong. That everyone can just have their own flipping opinion about any issue, and they shouldn’t be subject to my telling them that their opinion is flawed, stupid, or ignorant.



You know what? This probably had very little to do with you post. But I feel a lot better now getting that off of my chest. :)

Maybe the locals were disappointed the film wasn’t filmed in Wyoming. They’d heard all the pretty scenery is actually in Alberta.

Maybe the NYT and the rest of the media oohing and ahhing over "Brokeback Mountain" could improve their credibility by getting one major fact right: The main characters are sheep herders, not cowboys!

Way to tell ’em, Sarah M! If those New Yorkers wanted a real lesson on how cowboys feel about Brokeback Mountain ’cowboys’, have them go into a bar in Montana or Wyoming and suggest there’s no difference between a cowboy and a sheepherder. Depending on which bar they go into, they will find that both cowboys and sheepherders know the difference, and cowboys are likely to be a bit agressive about being called the same as sheepherders. Don’t believe me, go into any small town Montana cow country bar on Saturday night and tell the patrons they are the same as sheepherders. Make sure your insurance is paid up.

Comment 3 by Sarah M.

Maybe the NYT and the rest of the media oohing and ahhing over "Brokeback Mountain" could improve their credibility by getting one major fact right: The main characters are sheep herders, not cowboys!


Ohhh...that’s awfully funny since Republicans revere the cowboy image of Reagan, who was never a cowboy, and also love the cowboy style of Bush, who is even less of a cowboy. The NYT mixing up sheepherders and cowboys is nothing compared to the patently fake cowboys Republicans worship.

For $7.50 each, we learned just how popular the gay cowboy movie is here in the state in which it is set: we were two of the four people in the audience.

Funny...so in a tourist trap in Wyoming, they learned that a movie that’s been out for over, what, two months now or more, isn’t packing the theater?

Two months after being released, most movies’ theater runs are over and they are on their way to the video store.

The travel writer’s opinion was inane, but seizing upon his inane idea as some kind of ’proof’ about real cowboys (in a millionaires’ playground like Jackson Hole, at that!) is even more ludicrous.

Ohhh...that’s awfully funny since Republicans revere the cowboy image of Reagan, who was never a cowboy, and also love the cowboy style of Bush, who is even less of a cowboy.

Actually, the cowboy imagery originated with their liberal opponents, particularly in Europe. It was a way for them to express their sneering contempt of U.S. foreign policy in the 1980s. Republicans simply decided to embrace it rather than reject it.

John- Really? George Bush (through his handlers) didn’t make a calculated, cynical decision to become a cowboy so that he could seem like a down-to-earth and folksy "regular guy" instead of an out of touch blueblood?

Sarah and Pine Knot- I don’t think anyone is suggesting there isn’t a difference between sheep herders and cowboys, but when it comes to western movies, rugged guys who wear cowboy hats, cowboy boots and live in the American West are generally called cowboys, regardless of their actual occupation.

Phil, when did Bush "become a cowboy"? Can you cite a single instance in which he referred to himself as such?

John, I don’t know exactly when he became one, but he obviously wants people to think he has cowboy characteristics or something. I don’t think I need to cite an instance in which Bush said "I am a cowboy," since that’s a rather literal-minded way of going about this and there is plenty of photographic evidence to back me up.

I agree with John-Bush is called a cowboy by mainly his critics, not his supporters. As for his attire, if I were to wear the hunting gear that is common in my area, I would think nothing of it while someone not from this area may assume I’m a "deer-killer." Perhaps, as is typical of Bush’s personality, he wears what he thinks is appropriate for the occasion, not what others think.
And besides, Hollywood calling anyone who wears ranch clothing a "cowboy" demonstrates their ignorance of the many different kinds of ranches out West (i.e. sheep, buffalo, llama, alpaca, etc.).

I have a friend who wears a Greek fisherman’s cap. Is he trying to con me into thinking he’s a Greek fisherman?

While perhaps Bush hasn’t gone out of his way to verbally declare that he’s a cowboy, I think that the semi-obsessive brush-clearing vacations on his ranchette in Texas, combined with his attire and mannerisms, are definitely there to indicate some distance between his image and his New England prep-school background. Peter Schramm has cited and agreed with the press’s designation of Bush as a cowboy, at least partially based on his little dust-up in Chile back in ’04, which was no doubt seen as a display of Bush’s bursting-at-the-seams MANLINESS.

No point in debating the ’Bush as cowboy’ theme. He’s been using that for years, and thinking that just because he hasn’t ’come out’ and declared "I am George W Bush, cowboy, pleased to meetcha" somehow means that he and his party haven’t seized on that image and promoted it for all it’s worth is just intentionally obtuse.

That’s like saying Bush didn’t want war with Iraq because he never said specifically, "I want war with Iraq".

When of course, he did, and we all know he did.

High time for right-wingers to stop believing anything that comes out of his and his administration’s mouth anyway. They lie so much it’s amazing anybody is still dumb enough to believe a word.

Yeah, yeah, yeah. Bush lied. High time for left-wingers to come up with a new line.

Yeah libs, Hal’s right! Bush just lied about a silly ol’ war, not a BJ! Stop acting so outraged!

Shut up, Phyllis. When I want your opinion I’ll give it to you.

Hal, which frat were you in? Feminizing a guy’s name is the ULTIMATE insult- you really got me!

Frat? While you were home burning your bra with all the other college girls, I was in ’Nam getting shot at by Charley. We got the rug pulled out from under us there thanks to all the dope-smoking hippies and peacenik pansies. Now I’m gonna make damn sure it doesn’t happen to our boys in Iraq.

Now I find your weird obsession with Mack Sandpaper’s authenticity even more amusing, since you’re revealing yourself to be a right-wing caricature- something you always insist he is.

Okay, this debate was starting to get silly even before Hal chimed in. Let’s review. We started with a straightforward observation that while everyone has been talking about Brokeback Mountain as a "gay cowboy" movie, the characters were actually sheepherders and not cowboys. Then, because apparently no thread can pass without Bush-bashing from our liberal friends, Taylor claims that it’s ridiculous to point out the distinction between cowboys and sheepherders, because the president pretends to be a cowboy. Isn’t that leap in logic a little bizarre?

And by the way, if people on the left are so intent on establishing that Bush isn’t a cowboy, why are so many lefties promoting stuff like this?

Now I find your weird obsession with Mack Sandpaper’s authenticity even more amusing, since you’re revealing yourself to be a right-wing caricature- something you always insist he is.That’s pretty funny, Phyllis, considering you also go by Fat Mike. And isn’t it typical. Just because a guy loves his country and doesn’t want to see us knuckle under to the terrorists, Phyllis assumes he must be a "right-wing caricature." Pull your head out of your ass, pinko.

John, no one ever forced Bush to wear a cowboy hat. Of course we’re going to make fun of him for it.

Hal, I’m calling you a caricature because you’re talking just like Mack Sandpaper now, blaming our failure in Vietnam on "dope-smoking hippies" and using antiquated terms like "pinko." But I’m sure you love your country and "our boys" and all that, so you’re the patriot and I’m a traitor.


And I do not go by the name Fat Mike any more than you go by the name Death’s Jester.

I guess the purpose of the initial post was to iterate that the New York Times, dutifully playing its role as part of the leftist-dominated mainstream media, has been incessantly promoting the film, and the only way a critique of the film could be snuck into the NYT’s liberal elitist pages is for a daring travel writer to point out that the record-setting film (highest per-showing draw for a drama film) is no longer attracting capacity crowds in late Feb./March (article’s not precise when the author visited the resort) in a ski resort town, nearly 3 months after it was first released. Of course, if the New York Times was a credible newspaper they would have published a news article by David Horowitz above the front fold on the impact of the film on the American family and culture.

As for Bush’s status as a "cowboy" or not; John, I think the messages depend on the definition of "cowboy" used. If we’re talking about cowboy defined as (Merican Heritage Dictionary defs.) "A hired man, especially in the western United States, who tends cattle and performs many of his duties on horseback," then I would hope that even Bush’s supporters would concede that he doesn’t fit the bill. He hasn’t yet done a total Marlboro Man photo op, that I’m aware of. If we’re talking about a cowboy defined as "An adventurous hero," then the strong disagreements emerge, with some of Bush’s dwindling supporters signing off on the accuracy of that image. However, if we’re talking about the given slang definition of cowboy as a "A reckless person, such as a driver, pilot, or manager, who ignores potential risks," then the left, and an increasing percentage of ’04 Bush voters will be nodding their heads.

Regarding comments 17 and 22, which I think are pretty clearly crossing the line of civilized and dignified blog discourse, as they directly and personally attack another commenter, I can only laugh that they might be given a pass by the apparent blog administrator.

Oh, okay, now I understand--it’s acceptable for Bush’s critics to call him a cowboy, but not his supporters. Thanks for clearing that up.

Of course it’s "acceptable" for anyone to call Bush a cowboy. I was just trying to point out that people are often using completely different definitions when they do so.

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