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Peter Shalit faults GLAAD for Defaming his Father

Posted by GayPatriotWest at 6:47 pm - January 9, 2006.
Filed under: Gay PC Silliness,Movies/Film & TV

Bruce just forwarded me a link to this Advocate article quoting a letter Peter Shalit, Gene Shalit’s openly gay son wrote to the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), making clear that his father “is not homophobic. Actually the truth is the opposite.”

Peter Shalit offered a similar perspective to the one I offered in my second post referencing GLAAD’s overreaction, Shalit is troubled that GLAAD refused to contact him — or his father — privately:

I am disappointed that you did not do a little background research on my dad, or try to contact me, or attempt to reach my dad through me, before issuing your press release this past week calling him homophobic because of his review of Brokeback Mountain.

His initial reaction to the press release was that it was “silly” and adds:

We may disagree with his opinion of a movie and his interpretation of a particular character, but that is his job as a critic to give his opinion. He may have had an unpopular opinion of a movie that is important to the gay community, but he defamed no one, and he is not a homophobe. It is you who have defamed a good man, by falsely accusing him of a repellent form of bigotry. It is ironic and sad that an organization whose mission is to combat defamation has committed such an act itself, an act which amounts to character assassination with so little consideration of the repercussions.

Click here to read the full text of Peter’s letter which confirms my initial evaluation of the brouhaha (which James Taranto might call is a kerfuffle). This letter should serve as a reminder to gay activists not to jump so quickly to conclusions when they first hear a public figure making a critical comments about an individual or character who happens to be gay.

-Dan (AKA GayPatriotWest): GayPatriotWest@aol.com

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56 Comments

  1. Good for Peter. I thought the claim of homophobia sounded odd against Shalit, irregardless of the fact that he has a gay son. The man gave his opinion which dealt with the substance of the movie. He didn’t like it. So what? I haven’t seen it yet myself, but if what I’ve heard holds true will I likewise be called homophobic because I object to the treatment of the women both men married? Probably and I really do not care.

    Comment by Average Gay Joe — January 9, 2006 @ 8:54 pm - January 9, 2006

  2. With Dan’s help, I’ve finally seen the video of Shalit’s review.

    I am less impressed by Shalit’s critics than ever!!! When taken in context, Shalit’s “sexual predator” quote is harmless indeed – merely his way of saying he thinks the Jack Twist character is a bit too much of a needy a guy on the make, as opposed to (say) a mature lover. I agree!

    GLAAD is being completely silly here. If Hollywood made a movie about a needy straight guy on the make, and a movie reviewer mentioned his “preying” briefly and in passing, none of us would blanch a nanosecond. Oops, excuse me, Hollywood makes about 10,000 of those movies per year!

    GLAAD is supposed to be the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation. Pray tell, who or what has been defamed here? (Before you respond, view Shalit’s interview yourself, taking his words in context.)

    Comment by Calarato — January 9, 2006 @ 9:36 pm - January 9, 2006

  3. I still think his words were strange, at the least, but good for his son for defending his father.

    Comment by Carl — January 9, 2006 @ 9:49 pm - January 9, 2006

  4. Words again. How dare people say things I don’t like.

    The rest of the discussion then becomes a false agony of
    motivation analysis: Was he well intentioned, or should he be judged an unspeakable HOMOPHOBE? Of course, we could develop decent criteria: We could, for example, worry about persecutory actions instead of freely expressed opinions.

    One day maybe the gay community, which is not much of a community but a circle-jerk of commissars and fuck buddies, will grow up and actually develop a culture.

    Imagine that.

    (I do it all the time.)

    Comment by Anthony — January 9, 2006 @ 11:23 pm - January 9, 2006

  5. For people who only care about screwing each other, the gay community has certainly made a lot of progress in America.

    I wish people didn’t have to always make such sweeping statements about gays, as if all gays are horrible people. I have heard that over and over in my own life, and the same comments are made here.

    Comment by Carl — January 10, 2006 @ 1:28 am - January 10, 2006

  6. Carl – Do you even know what Gene Shalit’s words were?

    “Gays are sexual predators” is not even REMOTELY close to the sense or meaning of what Shalit said (despite the precise overlap of 2 of those words to what he did say).

    If it happens that you can’t be bothered to view Shalit’s review, let me know and I can answer the question for you.

    Comment by Calarato — January 10, 2006 @ 1:47 am - January 10, 2006

  7. Well, Carl, the actual society of poeple who happen to be gay (like me) are quite various. But when you read about “the gay community” in the larger number of gay papers, I’m afraid most of what’s involved is a newspaper-invented fantasy.

    Comment by Anthony — January 10, 2006 @ 1:49 am - January 10, 2006

  8. -If it happens that you can’t be bothered to view Shalit’s review, let me know and I can answer the question for you. –

    I read the review. I think he did leave the impression he felt that a gay relationship was brought on because one of them was a sexual predator. That’s a word you don’t hear very often in a film review. When he uses that word specifically about a story involving gay characters, and goes on about the relationship focusing on sex, then he leaves people very unsure as to what he meant.

    -Well, Carl, the actual society of poeple who happen to be gay (like me) are quite various. But when you read about “the gay community” in the larger number of gay papers, I’m afraid most of what’s involved is a newspaper-invented fantasy. –

    A gay community can mean anything. You could call Gaypatriot’s site a gay community. We always claim we want to improve on some parts of the way some gay organizations or areas run themselves, but how can we do that if we just reinforce negative stereotypes?

    Comment by Carl — January 10, 2006 @ 2:23 am - January 10, 2006

  9. “A gay community can mean anything. You could call Gaypatriot’s site a gay community. We always claim we want to improve on some parts of the way some gay organizations or areas run themselves, but how can we do that if we just reinforce negative stereotypes?”

    Buzzwords about stereotypes might be the first set of stereotypes to dump. If you really care about a gay society, be willing to criticize its faults.

    You tell me: What makes GLAAD so admirable when it goes around bullying straight liberals like Shalit who aren’t our enemies?

    Comment by Anthony — January 10, 2006 @ 3:30 am - January 10, 2006

  10. -You tell me: What makes GLAAD so admirable when it goes around bullying straight liberals like Shalit who aren’t our enemies? –

    His remarks came out of nowhere and they perhaps reacted defensively. They recently hired a new director, so he might not have known what to do. Perhaps they should have talked to Peter Shalit first, but I don’t think they were bullying Gene Shalit. I think GLAAD is useless, I always have, but the Shalit situation was so bizarre, I can’t really fault them. I do think he is not a homophobe. But I can see why they were upset about his review.

    -Buzzwords about stereotypes might be the first set of stereotypes to dump. If you really care about a gay society, be willing to criticize its faults.-

    I’m happy to criticize the faults of the gay community, but we should at least be specific about what they are. I think saying the entire gay community is fuck buddies and commisars just encourages gay men to not bother to make positive changes in the gay community. They just go away thinking the situation is beyond repair. We can easily say the gay community is awful, horrible, any adjective we want. That doesn’t fix the problem.

    Comment by Carl — January 10, 2006 @ 3:49 am - January 10, 2006

  11. “…I don’t think they were bullying Gene Shalit. I think GLAAD is useless, I always have, but the Shalit situation was so bizarre, I can’t really fault them. I do think he is not a homophobe. But I can see why they were upset about his review.”

    Well, if you don’t think he’s a homophobe, but you think it’s ok for an organization to use its clout calling an individual “anti-gay”, then you haven’t thought through your position.

    This might help: Just repeat softly to yourself, and click your heels together: “Freedom of speech is good especially when I don’t agree.”

    “I’m happy to criticize the faults of the gay community…”

    The problem is, you aren’t willing to say what they are, even if it forces you into confusion.

    “…but we should at least be specific about what they are.”

    In the context of this discussion, see #4 above, center paragraph.

    “I think saying the entire gay community is fuck buddies and commissars just encourages gay men to not bother to make positive changes in the gay community.”

    That’s mostly what it is. I’ve made a distinction between people who happen to be gay and live in the greater society, and the “gay community” which is a set of left-wing institutions. We will be a community when and if we accept it as a wondrous variety of our own people, and not a subset of the Democratic Party. Politics is a small part of life. Even sex is not the whole of it–just a happy part of it, when you have a boyfriend or partner (Was that blasphemous? Well, then, it was blasphemous).

    But you keep wanting to say (in one form or the other): “Don’t say anything negative.” The “gay community” is mostly a self-reinforcing bubble hostile to criticism. It needs to open up, dump the protectionism, develop a sense of values. Can you imagine one of the gay papers saying, “Mindless fucking is self-destructive”? Or better, “Grow and achieve something great?”

    As for GLAAD, it should be reformed so that it only goes after real attempts at persecution. Gay people, of all people, should know what’s wrong with thought control.

    Comment by Anthony — January 10, 2006 @ 5:11 am - January 10, 2006

  12. The question that comes to my mind is “Is his son just as hairy”?

    Anybody else remember that SNL (or was it MadTV) skit with Gene Shalit and Randy Travis etc. Wasn’t it Shalit with the bugs in his chest hair?

    Comment by ThatGayConservative — January 10, 2006 @ 5:36 am - January 10, 2006

  13. -This might help: Just repeat softly to yourself, and click your heels together: “Freedom of speech is good especially when I don’t agree.” –

    He was free to make the comments he made, but part of freedom of speech is organizations like GLAAD having the right to criticize him.

    -The problem is, you aren’t willing to say what they are, even if it forces you into confusion.-

    I’m certainly willing to list the faults of some parts of the gay community. I think there is a lot of pressure to be the best – in the clubs, in relationships, in what you watch, in where you work. Gay men are taught that if they aren’t perfect, everyone will hate them. Too many gay men routinely tear each other apart because that is how they are supposed to make themselves feel better. Too many gay men feel they are worthless. They feel they don’t have to grow up, because what is the point? They wallow in their self-hatred. They wear it as a badge of honor. They take drugs, they sleep around, they stop using condoms, because they figure “Why not? I have nothing to lose, everyone hates me anyway, I’m just doing what society expects of a faggot.”

    I don’t think this is the norm for a gay man, I think this is slowly but surely changing, especially outside of bigger cities, but it is a big problem, and a very depressing one. A lot of gay men are afraid to take the risk of responsibility, of really wanting to be equal to straight people, instead of saying they want equal rights but not really making an effort at living up to them.

    I’m sure there are other problems too, but I think as long as we just say that the gay community is fuck buddies, commisars, something to dismiss most of them, we are encouraging them to stay where they are.

    I would point out that a lot of people who fuck around without a thought are apolotical. They probably think Mariah Carey is President. Liberal ideals might cause this kind of apathy, but they aren’t the whole problem.

    Comment by Carl — January 10, 2006 @ 7:09 am - January 10, 2006

  14. TGC, you can see his photo on The Advocate site.

    Comment by Carl — January 10, 2006 @ 7:12 am - January 10, 2006

  15. It’s about 9:00 in the morning for me, so I’m going to have to wrap this up. In any case our differences have pretty much emerged, and are beginning to repeat themselves. In passing then–

    “He was free to make the comments he made, but part of freedom of speech is organizations like GLAAD having the right to criticize him.”

    Organizations and institutions applying pressure to control speech is not the same thing as an individual speaking his mind. I gather you think that self-hatred and related problems among us exist because disagreement on homosexuality exists, and you think it’s ok to license groups like GLAAD to berate those who disagree with us in the hope that this will someday suppress criticism of homosexuality much as racism, as an openly expressed view, has been shoved into the margins. If this is your view, I have problems with it; I also don’t think it will succeed.

    I have a problem with it because I don’t think it’s criticism for a pressure group to call somebody “homophobic” or “anti-gay”. It’s an attempt to make said speech unspeakable. I don’t think it will succeed because I think the standard picture of the problem is wrong.

    The standard picture (which I think you assume) says that society is to blame for self-hatred, drug addiction, “perfectionism” (of all things), and so on. Somehow we will “change society”, apparently by replacing it with a protectionist government that guarantees our “rights”. But what it really does is set us at odds with most of society on the model of class warfare, demanding no less than the complete surrender or destruction of the other side. We’re not going to wipe out Christianity, or socially re-construct straight society, or make everybody like us–and if we think we can, we’re plain fools.

    “I’m sure there are other problems too, but I think as long as we just say that the gay community is fuck buddies, commissars, something to dismiss most of them, we are encouraging them to stay where they are.”

    Saying that criticism makes people do what they’re already doing sounds confused to me. Criticism is not a destroyer. Fake self-esteem is.

    And fakery has a lot to do with all this. I said that the gay community, so-called, wasn’t much of a community because, like a stage set, it exists as a partial world. But most of us are larger than this half-life.

    It would be absurd to make liberal ideals the whole problem; however liberalism, while it has the power to open things up, does generate a very specific problem of its own: it has no language for restraint. Now I don’t think we’re gay because of some moral weakness or whatever.

    But I do think that because we haven’t really been considered part of the moral order, we haven’t seen ourselves as moral people. Liberalism, or at least classical liberalism, doesn’t make war on values; it leaves those things for the individual to take care of for himself. But then because we’re hammered with moral condemnations, we’re allergic to the very idea of morality and there we are, “free”, but short of a fortunate family background, lost.

    So we need, individually, to appreciate ourselves as human beings. We need to find, individually, what it means to make love, not just have sex. We need to make the art of what things might be for us.

    And no, I don’t think a world of fuck buddies and commissars can give us that. It’s an individual thing. Go out and find it.

    Comment by Anthony — January 10, 2006 @ 11:51 am - January 10, 2006

  16. GLAAD is a joke. They need to seriously look into doing something more productive with their time than desperately scouring the country for something to be offended about.

    Comment by Chad — January 10, 2006 @ 12:14 pm - January 10, 2006

  17. Well said, Chad.

    Comment by GayPatriotWest — January 10, 2006 @ 12:27 pm - January 10, 2006

  18. -I gather you think that self-hatred and related problems among us exist because disagreement on homosexuality exists, –

    I don’t think these problems are caused by disagreement. I think disagreement would be like Point/Counterpoint. Not someone who, for whatever reason, used a loaded word like “sexual predator”. But I don’t think Shalit is a homophobe, I think he made a poor choice of words. GLAAD panicked. It’s not the best decision but at least they were doing more than throwing more fancy dinner parties to honor straight celebrities.

    I think that what people see and hear can cause them to have hostile views towards homosexuals. Someone might say Southern Baptists should not be criticized because we merely disagree with them, but Southern Baptists certainly cause many Americans to fear or hate homosexuals.

    Saying that criticism makes people do what they’re already doing sounds confused to me. Criticism is not a destroyer. Fake self-esteem is.-

    When you made such a broad claim about the gay community, I thought your comment went past criticism and closer to defeatism. Now I see more of your point, and we can agree on some things.

    Comment by Carl — January 10, 2006 @ 1:06 pm - January 10, 2006

  19. Honestly…. the last time I heard of them being in the news was back when they were going after Eminem for his use of the F word.

    They are an irrelevant organization that does nothing except perpetuate the stereotype that we gays are all helpless victims in need of protection and used this Shalit ordeal in a feeble attempt to remind themselves that they’re still important.

    I’d almost find them amusing if they weren’t so unbelievably useless and counterproductive.

    Comment by Chad — January 10, 2006 @ 1:15 pm - January 10, 2006

  20. Getting back to the subject at hand – I am not liberal by any means and find cencorship abhorant, but I too find the wording of Shalit’s review rather demeaning. Pan the movie if you want to, but be a little more choosy with your wording. What if a black dancer in a movie was referred to as a “sambo-type” figure. Or in Jungle Fever, if Wesley snipes had been referred to as a “buck” on the prowl? How are these similar? “Predator” is term that we have always been tarred with – we are secretly plotting to bring the good, honest God-fearing man under our spell. Is the movie perfect – No. Are the charcter’s the embodiment of every good virture – No. The picture’s point is the horrible effects societal pressures have on both gays and their wives in sham marriges. I felt as bad for Ennis’s wife as I did for Enis, but if Shalit is so blind that he can’t see gay love for what it is, no movie is going to open his eyes. I can see his review of Romeo and Juliet now – “Lothario steals Juliet’s virginity and destory’s two families in the process.”

    I never thought I’d say this, but I agree with GLAAD on this one. That being said, Shalit should keep on talking, he’s a great example of prejudice buried so deep within us that we don’t even realize it.

    Comment by Grant — January 10, 2006 @ 4:01 pm - January 10, 2006

  21. Grant, the more GLAAD comments and makes a fuss about stupid, insignificant issues like this, the more ridiculous we as a community will look.

    It absolutely amazes me that after the hundreds of thousands of positively glowing reviews this film has received, GLAAD somehow manages to pick up on one critics poor choice of words.

    Are we in the gay community so thin-skinned and fragile that we can’t take even one slightest bit of perceived negativity without throwing a temper tantrum???

    Are we to accept nothing less than the absolute 100% total love and adoration from every last human on this earth in order to feel integrated into society?

    Comment by Chad — January 10, 2006 @ 4:43 pm - January 10, 2006

  22. Chad –

    I am definitely miles away from being 100% loved and addored by society. That doesn’t bother me. I also don’t feel victim to Shalit’s review. You’re most likely a victim if you let yourself become one. However, calling a spade a spade is not victimhood. I’m equally p.o.ed at the reviewers that would not dare raise any discussion of the numerous issues highlighted by the movie – like questioning one’s responisbility once a commitment is made.

    As much as Shalit is guilty of poor word choice, GLAAD is perennially guilty of “crying wolf” all the time. I hear you buddy. They are their own worst enemy, and usually ours. I think their reaction, from a different source and with a different tone, would have been much more thought provoking. That being said, even GLAAD gets something right every now and then, (execution though, well, I’m still waiting for).

    Comment by Grant — January 10, 2006 @ 5:21 pm - January 10, 2006

  23. Well they didn’t get this one right… in my opinion anyway.

    Comment by Chad — January 10, 2006 @ 5:38 pm - January 10, 2006

  24. Grant,

    “Calling a spade a spade”, oh puh-lease. “Predator” is NOT something we’ve been tarred with in any particular or especial way, as it is applied to heterosexuals all the time. GLAAD has simply been bizarrely thin-skinned here, period. That’s calling a spade a spade.

    Comment by Calarato — January 10, 2006 @ 6:48 pm - January 10, 2006

  25. Why does anyone watch the Today Show anyway? It’s vaoid and annoying–especially Katie Couric. But I digress. Gene Shalit has, at the very least, shown that he is an idiot who failed to “get” the meaning of Brokeback Mountain. This movie will probably get an Oscar. It’s that good. That speaks volumes about Shalit’s insensitivity to gay issues and ability to spot a great movie. It doesn’t matter that he has a gay son. My father does too and he’s no great defender of gay rights. Dick Cheney has a gay daughter, does that make him sensitive to gay issues? Have you seen him at any Gay Pride marches? Don’t hold your breath waiting for that scene! GLAAD was right to speak out and I applaud them for their effort.

    Comment by cmoney — January 10, 2006 @ 7:36 pm - January 10, 2006

  26. Calarato, in how many film reviews have you seen straight people labeled as “sexual predators”? Perhaps in films where one of the characters is a rapist, but even then I have not seen that word thrown around on a frequent basis.

    -Grant, the more GLAAD comments and makes a fuss about stupid, insignificant issues like this, the more ridiculous we as a community will look.-

    I don’t think most of the public gives a fig about GLAAD or about Gene Shalit’s review. They aren’t going to judge the gay community on something they probably don’t even know about.

    Comment by Carl — January 10, 2006 @ 8:31 pm - January 10, 2006

  27. Cmoney, may I suggest you read this piece that GPW mentioned elsewhere?

    Meanwhile, here’s the problem:

    But I digress. Gene Shalit has, at the very least, shown that he is an idiot who failed to “get” the meaning of Brokeback Mountain. This movie will probably get an Oscar. It’s that good. That speaks volumes about Shalit’s insensitivity to gay issues and ability to spot a great movie.

    What on earth does a movie review have to do with gay issues? If Brokeback doesn’t win enough Oscars, or any Oscars, are you going to accuse the Academy of “insensitivity” or being horrifically and awfully antigay, as GLAAD has Shalit?

    What this shows is how sick and pathetic the “gay community”, as represented by GLAAD, has become, inasmuch as a critical review of a movie has become grounds for calling someone an antigay hatemonger. As far as I’m concerned, they do more to defame gay people as immature, irresponsible idiots than ANY right-wing nut could manage.

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — January 10, 2006 @ 8:53 pm - January 10, 2006

  28. Dude… Cmoney. I’m gay and you won’t find me at any Gay “Pride” parade…. And please inform me why GLAAD was right to speak out on this one, small incident? Please tell me that this isn’t the worst case of “defamation” they could find. Because I’ll tell ya’ something. If it is, color me pleased as punch.

    And Carl. The public wouldn’t have known anything about Shalit’s comment had GLAAD kept their oh-so-prone-to-offense traps shut. But now that’s it’s news, people are going to see us as a bunch of hyper-sensitive pansies.

    Comment by Chad — January 10, 2006 @ 8:58 pm - January 10, 2006

  29. And what’s this “meaning of Brokeback Mountain” that Shalit supposedly didn’t get? Hah hah 🙂

    Again: Please take the trouble to actually VIEW Shalit’s “Today Show” review, if you haven’t done so already, and want to offer a different view intelligently.

    I say Shalit’s review of this very interesting, but also flawed and over-praised (except for Heath Ledger who deserves every ounce of praise) film was spot-on.

    Comment by Calarato — January 10, 2006 @ 10:04 pm - January 10, 2006

  30. -The public wouldn’t have known anything about Shalit’s comment had GLAAD kept their oh-so-prone-to-offense traps shut. But now that’s it’s news, people are going to see us as a bunch of hyper-sensitive pansies.-

    So the public doesn’t know about Gene Shalit, but they do know about GLAAD? I’m not sure on that one. The only people who are really paying attention to this are people who already have firm opinions on the movie, and on gays. If a reaction to a strange movie review makes people think gays are “pansies”, then they aren’t ever going to have positive thoughts of gays anyway.

    I still think “sexual predator” should be used very lightly, and as pointless as this whole controversy has been, perhaps now people will realize you can’t just throw around such a description without having a good reason.

    Comment by Carl — January 10, 2006 @ 11:20 pm - January 10, 2006

  31. When GLAAD decided to make this news, yes. Now they know about it. Had they opted to keep it the non-issue it is, we wouldn’t be here discussing their lack of judgement and its implications.

    Comment by Chad — January 10, 2006 @ 11:40 pm - January 10, 2006

  32. When GLAAD starts defending the rights of persecuted gays in the Middle East (just to name a place that the “freedom fighters” are fighting against US troops), and they start going after the gay-hating leftist regimes in China, Cuba and North Korea, then I’ll pay attention to them.

    Regards,
    Peter Hughes

    Comment by Peter Hughes — January 10, 2006 @ 11:56 pm - January 10, 2006

  33. -When GLAAD decided to make this news, yes. –

    Where was this news? Was this mentioned in the papers, or CNN, or Fox News? They objected to his movie review. They can’t control what becomes news.

    Peter, GLAAD is supposed to be about the media’s portrayal of gays. They have never focused on other issues. That’s what HRC or Task Force are supposed to do.

    Comment by Carl — January 11, 2006 @ 1:51 am - January 11, 2006

  34. According to TVGuide.com, Shalit had this to say:

    On Tuesday, Shalit responded to GLAAD’s request for an apology with a statement saying, “In describing the behavior of Jack, I used words that I now discover have angered, agitated and hurt many people. I did not intend to use a word that many in the gay community consider incendiary. I certainly had no intention of casting aspersions on anyone in the gay community or on the community itself. I regret any emotional hurt that may have resulted from my review.”

    Comment by Carl — January 11, 2006 @ 4:39 am - January 11, 2006

  35. It was nice for Shalit to apologize. And it’s seems clear to me that he didn’t mean to characterize everyone who pursues someone else of the same sex as predator. And I also believe that he is not antigay. But I still find it mindboggling that he still characterizes Jack’s behavior as a predator. Yes, he’s entitled to his opinion, but as I mentioned in a post in another related thread, his characterization is as inaccurate as saying that Jack and Ennis tended elephants. So much so, that I wonder if there was another version of the movie that Shalit saw, where Jack continues to pursue Ennis, and Ennis keeps on saying, “No, please, please, leave me, my marriage, and my family alone. I’m so happy being straight, and I don’t ever want to have sex with you again.”

    As for GLAAD, their reaction went overboard. They should have said that they strongly disagreed with Shalit’s characterization of Jack.

    Comment by Pat — January 11, 2006 @ 9:22 am - January 11, 2006

  36. That’s kind of my point Carl. You think GLAAD expected (or wanted) their reaction to stay under the radar? Of course not….

    Comment by Chad — January 11, 2006 @ 10:34 am - January 11, 2006

  37. That’s why they issued press releases and ordered their flocks of shrieking harpies to start screaming to the media about how they were being “defamed”.

    As I posited elsewhere, Gene Shalit’s major sin may have been in being too comfortable and normalized towards gays; he reviewed Brokeback in the same fashion that he would have a normal film, not realizing that the cult of gay fundamentalists have made of this a homo version of The Passion of the Christ.

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — January 11, 2006 @ 11:12 am - January 11, 2006

  38. #35 – Pat – Two questions, which will help me understand you:

    (1) Have you personally viewed Shalit’s review?

    (2) Did you miss the parts of the movie where Ennis (in his silent way) makes it unmistakable that he does not want to live with Jack and is never going to, and the relationship is just a series of sporadic get-togethers and Jack ought to leave Ennis alone in terms of demanding or desiring more?

    Comment by Calarato — January 11, 2006 @ 12:54 pm - January 11, 2006

  39. #32 – Exactly. Thanks, Peter. The real threats to gay rights and attacks on gays in today’s world are ignored by GLAAD and other “gay groups”. How I wish they would actually focus on gay rights, for once.

    #34 – Shalit’s apology is of the “I’m sorry you’re so offended by something I happened to say in passing as I did my job” variety. Correctly so.

    #37 – “…the cult of gay fundamentalists have made of this a homo version of The Passion of the Christ.” – Yeah. There’s that ineffable “meaning of Brokeback” we were supposed to have grasped. 😉

    I expect it has to do with the following.

    What is the Brokeback storyline, really? – Two lonely, confused, needy guys, obsessed with the postures or paraphenalia of gender identity, have a destructive relationship as one of them is sexually confused and emotionally frozen, while the other is a borderline stalker who could not care less about the 3 kids involved.

    Does that not provide, oh, 60-70% (maybe more) of all gay men with something they can identify with?

    Yet in BBM, it’s dressed up real purty. Beautifully filmed. Cute actors. Breathtaking scenery. Reflective music that tries to rip off the famous song “Blackbird”, but not too hard (or it would be too obvious.) A tearful, tragic ending, blaming a cruel and uncaring society.

    So the average gay narcissist goes, not only “That’s my life up there!”, but also “It’s their fault! Because I’m noble.” In a word: Validation. That’s the product being sold here. Shalit’s refusal to go along made them angry.

    Comment by Calarato — January 11, 2006 @ 1:21 pm - January 11, 2006

  40. 1) Only the text, not the video itself. I concede it is impossible, in the context of how he said it, I could have a different opinion.

    2) I saw the whole movie. I’ve also seen many relationships where one person wants more of the relationship, say commitment, or whatever. And many times the issues resurface. That doesn’t come across as predatory, or as a stalker. That’s the way I saw it with Jack. He wanted what he wanted, and he had hoped that over time, Jack would also want them to be together. Further, we only see Jack make this request a couple of times. Still can’t see how that even classifies Jack as a stalker.

    Anyway, it looks like we clearly looked at this movie very differently. And perhaps Shalit saw it the way you did. Heck, maybe Jack and Ennis really tended elephants. 🙂

    Comment by Pat — January 11, 2006 @ 1:34 pm - January 11, 2006

  41. (1) Just as I suspected.

    Shalit’s reviewed must viewed, to be understood. It intercuts with scenes from the movie itself, explaining his points. And, his personal manner and tone of voice affect a lot of the meaning to be taken away.

    Comment by Calarato — January 11, 2006 @ 1:44 pm - January 11, 2006

  42. (2) One definition of a stalker is: Someone who can’t take no for an answer, and who thus isn’t really even listening to the object of their supposedly high affections. Think on it some more.

    Comment by Calarato — January 11, 2006 @ 1:47 pm - January 11, 2006

  43. Calarato,

    1) Fair enough. It’s possible that he didn’t mean predator when he said it in the context of his review.

    2) I have little doubt that Jack listened to Ennis. As far as I saw, he did accept no for an answer for 20 years, and continued seeing other on Ennis’s terms. I think Jack saw the reason for Ennis saying no, wasn’t because of his marriage (especially after it ended), but because of his fear of being murdered for being found out gay.

    Anyway, again, it looks like we are looking at this completely differently, and I don’t think we are going to convince the other. I’ll agree to disagree.

    Comment by Pat — January 11, 2006 @ 3:58 pm - January 11, 2006

  44. As I posited elsewhere, Gene Shalit’s major sin may have been in being too comfortable and normalized towards gays; he reviewed Brokeback in the same fashion that he would have a normal film,-

    NDT, how many “normal” films have involved Shalit describing one of the major characters as a sexual predator, and saying the relationship is only about sex?

    Comment by Carl — January 11, 2006 @ 5:10 pm - January 11, 2006

  45. NDT, how many “normal” films have involved Shalit describing one of the major characters as a sexual predator, and saying the relationship is only about sex?

    You honestly, honestly believe that Gene Shalit, in all of his years of reviewing films, has never called any other character a “sexual predator” or said a relationship was “only about sex”?

    Moreover, since GLAAD, cowards that they are, have removed their original statements, I think it’s time to show their defenders exactly what they said.

    First off (added emphasis mine):

    The “characterization of Jack as a ‘predator’ and Ennis (Heath Ledger) as a victim reflects a fundamental lack of understanding about the central relationship in the film and about gay relationships in general,” GLAAD said in a statement.

    Read that very carefully. GLAAD is saying that Ennis and Jack’s relationship reflects ALL gay relationships “in general”.

    Again, Carl and Pat, your hearts are in the right place, but the homo fundamentalists are insisting that all of us are two-timing, lying, cheating louses who make promises and then go fool around with others — because they need some form of celluloid or portrayal to validate themselves.

    Next up:

    “Shalit has every right as a film critic to criticize Brokeback Mountain. But his baseless branding of Jack as a ‘sexual predator’ merely because he is romantically interested in someone of the same sex is defamatory, ignorant, and irresponsible”.

    Let me summarize that for you: GLAAD is saying that Shalit considers Jack a “sexual predator” because Jack is GAY, not because of Jack’s actions. As Calarato points out, that is virtually an impossible conclusion to reach when one actually watches the review.

    Again, what this is is a bunch of homo fundamentalists who desperately need Hollywood to “validate” them and are irrationally attached to a movie which, at best, gives a neutral portrayal of gay relationships.

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — January 11, 2006 @ 6:30 pm - January 11, 2006

  46. Well at least GLAAD is backing down now – Perhaps a few of them realizing they’ve been fools.

    Shalit’s apology statement, printed in full on GLAAD’s site (to their credit), rightly puts GLAAD down by name.

    But the paragraphs of GLAAD’s own spin ignore that part. Instead, they greatly stress Shalit’s expression of regret (for having mentioned “predator”), try to imply a GLAAD victory, and ask their followers to now “thank” Mr. Shalit for “clarifying” his review.

    LOL.

    Comment by Calarato — January 11, 2006 @ 7:43 pm - January 11, 2006

  47. #44 – Carl, not a Shalit expert here, but I’d bet you $20 he does it with every movie where it’s appropriate.

    (cue music) “What’s it all about, Al-FIE…..” – remade in 2004 starring Jude Law as the emotionally needy predator.

    Or what was the big, way over-rated film of last year? “Sideways”? – Saw it when it came out; thought it mildly enjoyable; was then shocked at the frantic, over-wrought praise it garnered.

    But anyway, it would be yet another of the zillion films that feature hapless sexual predators – and it would be interesting to know if Shalit was very nice to it; right now I doubt he was.

    Sure looks like BBM will be the “Sideways” of early 2006.

    Comment by Calarato — January 11, 2006 @ 8:06 pm - January 11, 2006

  48. #45 Read that very carefully. GLAAD is saying that Ennis and Jack’s relationship reflects ALL gay relationships “in general”.

    NDT, I read it very carefully, and I don’t see GLAAD’s statement meaning that at all. My interpretation, which may not be correct either, is that in potential gay relationships when one person pursues another, and the other person accepts the advances, it does not mean the pursuer is a predator. Thankfully, more and more gay relationships are NOT like Ennis and Jack’s. But apparently we still have a way to go, since we still have gay people who get married and cheat on their spouses, but I digress.

    Again, what this is is a bunch of homo fundamentalists who desperately need Hollywood to “validate” them and are irrationally attached to a movie which, at best, gives a neutral portrayal of gay relationships.

    One of the points of the movie is that under more tolerant circumstances, Ennis and Jack could have had an excellent romantic monogamous relationship. Of course, that may be wrong, and they could have married each other but still cheated on each other with 1000 other guys. The tragedy in the movie is that we’ll never know, because they never had a fair chance. Yes, they could have been stronger and less morally flawed, but in their reality they couldn’t be.

    Most of us have to face a lot of obstacles in order to succeed, or even to just get by in the world. But why should sexuality have to be one of those obstacles. Straight people do not have to face what Ennis, Jack, and many gay people today have to. So they don’t have to face some of the moral dilemmas that face others…where you have to choose to be moral but miserable, or immoral to have a chance of some happiness. For Jack and Ennis, they had the worst of both choices. I find some parallels to Romeo and Juliet, in that we have a couple that are heads over heels in love with each other, but because of obstacles, the relationship ends up being far from perfect and ends in tragedy.

    I admit to having some attachment to this movie. Part of it was the hype, part of it was that I felt it was an excellent movie. NDT, I do urge you to see it, even though I know you’re not a fan of the big screen.

    I do not need to be validated by Hollywood or anyone else, because I made it. But I know what it’s like to feel inferior because of the social stigma of being homosexual. And it’s sad that to see other’s still struggling simply because of this, whereas our straight counterparts do not have the same struggle.

    Comment by Pat — January 11, 2006 @ 8:34 pm - January 11, 2006

  49. -You honestly, honestly believe that Gene Shalit, in all of his years of reviewing films, has never called any other character a “sexual predator” or said a relationship was “only about sex”?-

    If Gene Shalit is reviewing a film where one of the characters is a rapist or a murderer fixated on people, then he may have used the term sexual predator. If he was reviewing a movie like 9 1/2 Weeks or Last Tango in Paris, maybe he said the characters only cared about sex. A movie that is supposed to be about two people in love (or who at least care deeply about each other)? I’m not sure if he has ever used a term like “sexual predator” in that context, or dismissed the relationship as only sex.

    Comment by Carl — January 11, 2006 @ 8:48 pm - January 11, 2006

  50. So much talk about this. I’ve read the review,
    I’ve seen the movie and read the short story.

    Shalit may be a gentlemen to gay people, and a genuine
    defender of gay rights, but ANYONE who can walk out
    of that movie thinking that Jack Twist was a “sex predator” walked INTO that movie thinking gay men are sexual predators. I don’t get the reference to the Jack Twist character as a “sexual predator”. That’s a HORRIBLE term… and I’m hearing gay people on this site defending the use of that term for a character
    like Jack Twist. I think we’ve got some serious self-loathing going on here at this red-state site.

    Dan Cobb

    Comment by Dan Cobb — January 12, 2006 @ 5:40 pm - January 12, 2006

  51. Simply put, Jack Twist was no sexual predators. I know sexual predators, and Jack Twist is no sexual predator.

    Dan

    Comment by Dan Cobb — January 12, 2006 @ 5:41 pm - January 12, 2006

  52. HEY NORTH DALLAS:
    “You honestly, honestly believe that Gene Shalit, in all of his years of reviewing films, has never called any other character a “sexual predator” or said a relationship was “only about sex”?”

    North Dallas, show me one review! Just one where he
    used the term sexual predator! C’mon, I challenge you.
    AND, if you find one, how much you want to bet is a
    slasher who rapes, binds and kills women (or some such sicko).

    I’m sure you’re willing to equate a horney 19 year old gay guy with that kind of murderous “sexual predator”.

    Dan Cobb

    Comment by Dan Cobb — January 12, 2006 @ 5:45 pm - January 12, 2006

  53. NDT, Maybe you don’t mind gays being characterized as sexual predators, but many gays do. That terminology plays into the worst stereotypes about the gay community. It’s unfortunate that a man with a gay son that he loves would use such language when it was clearly unnecessary to get his point across. As I said earlier, his review was completely off base from anyone else who has reviewed the movie. It’s hard to imagine him having seen the same movie that everyone else saw. I call him an idiot for that reason. Also, the reason it is important to GLAAD is because of the gay theme of the movie and Shalit specifically attacked that aspect of the movie with his “sexual predator” comment. I don’t see how Jack Twist could be a predator when Ennis didn’t seem to have any problem giving up the goods most everytime he showed up! Shalit just got this one wrong!

    Comment by cmoney — January 12, 2006 @ 9:19 pm - January 12, 2006

  54. NDT, Maybe you don’t mind gays being characterized as sexual predators, but many gays do. That terminology plays into the worst stereotypes about the gay community.

    Wrong, cmoney. One gay person in a movie being called a “sexual predator” does not equate into Shalit calling ALL gays “sexual predators”. Do you apply the same rule to ANY criticism of a gay person — if you call one gay person a thief, that means you’re calling ALL gay people thieves?

    North Dallas, show me one review! Just one where he
    used the term sexual predator! C’mon, I challenge you.

    Only if you promise to use the same rule for it as you do for Brokeback — that Shalit calling one heterosexual character a “sexual predator” means that Shalit is calling all heterosexuals “sexual predators”.

    What I think, Dan Cobb, is that the problem here is that Shalit criticized a gay person based on their behavior and did not give them a free pass because they were gay. I fail to see why you can’t separate criticism of a fictional character from criticizing all gays; I suspect it is because you are one of those “homo fundamentalists” to which I refer, who have made of Brokeback a gay Passion of the Christ and consider anyone who dares criticize it to be antigay.

    Find something more meaningful in your life to be proud of as a gay man than a character portrayed in a movie.

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — January 13, 2006 @ 5:02 pm - January 13, 2006

  55. In an above post, I was called on rightly for criticizing Shalit’s review without having viewed it. I did finally view it, but my opinion hasn’t changed. Shalit says, “Jack, who strikes me as a sexual predator…,” and attempts to explain why. But he reasons it as if Ennis was unwilling or coerced by Jack to have the relationship that they had, and even though Jack wanted more in the relationship, they still continued the relationship on Ennis’s terms.

    Now, I don’t believe for a second that Shalit believes that in every gay relationship, one person is always a predator. And it is clear that the characters are morally flawed. Also, I don’t have a problem with a gay character being characterized as a predator if that is the case. And I do think GLAAD went overboard demanding an apology. I simply don’t see how Shalit or anyone could characterize Jack’s behavior as a predator.

    Most people I know who saw the movie were touched by the love between Ennis and Jack. Clearly there were flaws, and I wished they didn’t get married and all, but in the context of the times, most were able to understand why it would happen. But to add “predator” to the relationship, adds an inaccurate negative connotation to the relationship. I could see people who haven’t watched it say something like, “how could anyone think that was a beautiful love story, when one of them was a predator.” I liken this to Romeo and Juliet. I thought that was also a beautiful love story, even though Romeo was more flawed than Jack or Ennis (i.e., he was a murderer). But if I never saw or read the play, and a critic said, “Romeo, who strikes me as a sexual predator…,” I would wonder how anyone could characterize Romeo and Juliet as a beautiful love story. I realize I’m making a tempest out of a teapot here, but I could see how some people could piggy back on Shalit’s words, and make it so people think that gay people condone predatory behavior. I’m cautiously optimistic that most people will be able to see through it though.

    Comment by Pat — January 13, 2006 @ 11:53 pm - January 13, 2006

  56. Brokeback Mountain wins Golden Globe for Best Picture–As I said above, Gene Shalit is an idiot!!

    Comment by cmoney — January 16, 2006 @ 11:11 pm - January 16, 2006

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