Thinking about Brokeback Mountain and the Dixie Chicks, I decided to head off on another unpopular rant. If you're easily offended by anything against the mainstream, leave now.
I rented Brokeback Mountain recently and found it to be a waste of my $2.99. The plot was slow and boring, for starters. There's better landscape shots in Lord of The Rings, so the pans of the mountains didn't do much for me. I found it hypocritical that Hollywood will show straight female characters making out with other women in other movies, but a movie making a statement about gay lifestyle has one kiss, a few touches on the shoulder, a hug, and everything else is hidden in blackout or alluded to. Some statement. To me that was no more gutsy than crossing the street. And while they're praising the film for it's ground-breaking (political) propoganda, I'm noticing that they're heralding an asshole.
I like Heath Ledger. He's played plenty of parts that I've enjoyed. But in this role, he's distant to the point of emotionally abusive to his wife and kids, and eventually Jake Gyllenhaal's character, who is weak and damn-near insignificant. By the time his wife lies about the details of his death-by-beating (the only poignant moment to the whole movie, I might add, by touching on the subject of gay hate-crimes), you feel that at least he didn't get AIDS in Tiajuana and suffer for years.
But no one mentions that one character is weak and the other is abusive. Hollywood is too busy shelling out awards that do nothing more than stake their claim on their political agendas to notice that the substance of the characters is questionable. So what, they're gay? And....?
And the Dixie Chicks. Finally managing to get their career out of "stall" with the song "Not Ready to Make Nice". Just when I think that I can forget their very public verbal war with Toby Keith over the war in Iraq that came across as anti-patriotic, anti-supportive of the troops, and anti-American, these girls come up with the lyrics
"I'm not ready to make nice
I'm not ready to back down
I'm still mad as hell
And I don't have time
To go round and round and round
It's too late to make it right
I probably wouldn't if I could
Cause I'm mad as hell
Can't bring myself to do what it is
You think I should"
Now, were this song anything other than a thinly veiled attempt to re-ignite the flames between them and Toby Keith and anyone else who wants to jump back on the bandwagon, or by any other artist, I'd probably respect it. Hell, I like it in spite of myself (a dirty little secret of mine), but I do not respect the Dixie Chicks for making their career a spectacle of their political opinions.
Once again my problem is that I'm sick of political agendas pushing the arts to mold the world into whatever those arts side with. And I'd be just as sick of it if it were right-wing agenda being driven by the entertainment machine.
Here's the thing. Can anyone besides me see an upswing in popularity to push to rewrite the Constitution to allow the Governator to run for President? I can, and I can see it as a retaliation to such entertainment industry "politicians" as Sean Penn, Tim Robbins, Danny Glover, Susan Sarandon, and the like. And believe me, as much as I respect Arnold for coming to this country with $20 bucks in his pocket and making something of himself from nothing using the skills he did have and his determination, then landing himself a Kennedy as a wife, I do NOT want to rewrite the constitution to allow him to run for the White House.
The cliche is "art imitates life; life imitates art", not "art sculpts life after it's own design". Please get it right, people. Dixie Chicks, if you want to be leftist, elitist, anti-troops, anti-Bush... fine. Quite frankly I'm not going to suggest that Bush is the greatest President ever. Or even the most mediocre. But do you have to write your songs as your political platform? Do you have a greater scheme in mind that I have missed (considering I don't buy the albums...) where you plan to take over the world?
I'm just waiting to see what Toby Keith will release next as his response to the chicks. It's not with eager anticipation, either.