I almost posted a link to this piece last week. However, I thought at the time that it was -- for GetReligion -- one of those "dogs that didn't bark" stories. After all, the piece does not mention the red vs. blue zip code divide or the theme, previously seen in Los Angeles Times stories, that some people in Hollywood might be getting sweaty palms, in an era of crashing box office numbers, about holding a Brokeback Mountain wedding shower. Oh well. Whatever. Never mind.
Click here and see the amazing predictions late last week by David Carr in the New York Times. So we must ask, what did he know and when did he know it? Or better yet, for this blog, why did he know it? Was this, to dig up that quote from Ken Tucker of New York magazine, a victory for the "insecure, the idiots, or the insecure idiots"?
But Kenneth Turan at the newspaper of tinsel record has already written the rough draft of the Culture Wars talking points for today. His Los Angeles Times piece -- was the page framed in black? -- gets right to the point. Dang it, is it possible that some people in Hollywood are actually afraid of America? Does Hollywood has a closeted Moral Majority? Is there some Southern Baptist, traditional Catholic or Orthodox Jewish cabal out there on the left coast that we don't know about? Did Pat Robertson threaten some people?
Despite all the magazine covers it graced, despite all the red-state theaters it made good money in, despite (or maybe because of) all the jokes late-night talk show hosts made about it, you could not take the pulse of the industry without realizing that this film made a number of people distinctly uncomfortable.
More than any other of the nominated films, "Brokeback Mountain" was the one people told me they really didn't feel like seeing, didn't really get, didn't understand the fuss over. ... In the privacy of the voting booth, as many political candidates who've led in polls only to lose elections have found out, people are free to act out the unspoken fears and unconscious prejudices that they would never breathe to another soul, or, likely, acknowledge to themselves. And at least this year, that acting out doomed "Brokeback Mountain."
However, if there are people in Hollywood who are deep into mourning, they may need to remember that it is the season of Lent and, thus, a time for reflection (I dare not say repentance).
As it turns out, the pastors at the Jesuit Urban Center in Boston may be just the men who can feel the pain of all those in Hollywood, New York City and college towns everywhere who are grieving today. Here (hat tip) is a clip from last week's Ash Wednesday sermon by Father J.A. Loftus, S.J.
I suspect many in this community have already seen Brokeback Mountain. If not see it; if you have, see it again and reflect on the consequences of not being interiorly free, the consequences of not knowing who you really are and want to become, the tragic consequences and subsequent devastation that comes from only living in a "pretend" world. Watch carefully the price of dishonesty in yourself and with those whom you try to love.
Let this Lent be a Brokeback Lent.
That's all for now. Let us know if you see mainstream journalists and commentators who dig into the moral and religious implications -- what a world -- of Oscar night.