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Cowboys in Love

Brokeback Mountain is both a "gay cowboy movie" and an epic love story.
 
 
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Here's a quick web column I penned over the weekend on Brokeback Mountain. My thesis: The movie is an epic love story in the most traditional sense of the word. Think Romeo and Juliet, Tristan and Iseult. For love is only as immense as the barriers it overcomes:

For straight folks, those barriers have long been eroded in the name of progress. The 20th century democratized marriage, tossing aside considerations of class, race, family affiliations. It also tore down the centuries-old separation of love and marriage, making wedlock the natural and desired objective of heterosexual passion. ... The same custodians of social order who once tore asunder young men and women in love now nag them to “find someone and settle down." [ In These Times]

So in a sense, only a "gay cowboy movie" set in Wyoming can meet the literary requirements of grand passion in 21st century America.

Lakshmi Chaudhry is a senior editor at In These Times , and the former senior editor of AlterNet. You can write to her at lakshmi@alternet.org.