Okay, I still haven’t seen Brokeback Mountain—full disclosure, yadda yadda yadda.
Still, I thought this AP story in today’s PI was bizarre:
Flood of ‘Brokeback’ jokes gets mixed reactions from gays
…Matt Foreman, executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, says he’s sick of it: “It may be funny, but there is a real element of homophobia. It’s making jabs about sex between gay men.”
Jay Leno made at least 15 “Brokeback” jokes in January. Many were references to gay sex. One that wasn’t: “The cold weather continues to spread across the United States. In fact, down South it was so cold people were shaking like Jerry Falwell watching ‘Brokeback Mountain.’ “
Um, that jokes is making fun of Falwell for his homophobia, not of gay sex, so it’s an odd example to follow Foreman’s quote with. And most of the Brokeback jokes I’ve heard have been told by gay men. Gay people, as a general rule, have a sense of humor about ourselves, our sex lives, and cultural stereotypes about gay men—most of which are positive.
Like these from a Letterman Top Ten list, also mentioned in the article:
Top Ten Signs You’re a Gay Cowboy:
You enjoy ridin’, ropin’ and redecoratin’.
Instead of a saloon, you prefer a salon.
Native Americans refer to you as “Dances With Men.”
Hee-haw, we enjoy redecorating, salons, and dancing with men. All stereotypes, all harmless, and there were funnier ones on Letterman’s list:
You’re wearing chaps, yet your ‘ranch’ is in Chelsea.
You love riding, but you don’t have a horse.
You’ve been lassoed more times than most steers.
What do these jokes reinforce? That gay “cowboys” wear chaps—even if they live in urban areas (true); that we like sex (true); and that we’re sexually adventurous (also true). If these are stereotypes we’re stuck with, we don’t have much to complain about.