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David Poland

By David Poland

So You Know Why It's So Irritating…

We received this note earlier tonight…
I’ve being tracking your “2005 top tens” chart and it seems to me that the chart is maintained in a not very consistence way.
As of last weekend when “Brokeback mountain” was at the top of the chart, there are a lot more critics in “blue columns” rated it as their top ten choices and a few of them rated it as number 1.
What a difference a few days made, today I am amazed that those critics in blue columns mysteriously dissappeared and non of them rated Brokeback Mountain as number 1.
Meanwhile “A history of violence” suddenly got a lot more critics (and many more rated it as number 1) in the blue columns.
Is this intentional manipulation or there is a better explanation for it?

I responded…
I am trying to remain respectful, but your assertion is not only insulting, it is quite wacky. Still, I will indulge you.
The blue columns indicate the new updates only. When the next update comes, the last blue group is made brown and put in alphabetical order with the rest. I suppose there would be some interest in each update remaining color coded, but we decided years ago that it was easier this way.
The first chart had 10 Top Tens… 7 BBM votes, 0 at #1
Next batch of 10… 4 BBMs, 1 at # 1 (total 1)
18 more… 9 BMM (20 total), 3 #1s (4 total)
23 more… 14 BBM (34 total), 4 #1s (8 total)
20 more… 13 BBM (47 total) 1 #1 (9 total)
And our most recent update… in which BBM fell (apparently unbelievably) fell to #2…
34 more (115 total charts listed, adding such right wingers as B Ruby Rich and J Hoberman)
10 more votes for BBM (total 57)
0 at #1. (9 total)
Please note that huge BBM supporters, like B Ruby Rich, did an unnumbered chart. Also please note that every one of the people who voted for History of Violence as #1 in this last group did not vote for BBM at all. In fact, only Jack Mathews, Leah Rozen and Gene Seymour – all members of NYFCC – gave Brokeback a top ten vote of any kind after choosing HOV as #1.
For the record, HOV now has 11 #1 votes to BBM’s 9.
Every critic who has been on the list remains on the list.
Thank you for your concern. And if you have any more, please feel free to write again.

As I have said in here before… there is a fever around BBM that has some people – even some of whom are not mouth-breathing, drooling, OCD columnists – acting with a stridency that makes something as simple as a bunch of critics embracing another movie seem virtually impossible without a conspiracy attached.
It is exhausting… and unfortunately reminiscent of Passion of The Christ and Fahrenheit 9/11 more than anything else in my online experience.

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111 Responses to “So You Know Why It's So Irritating…”

  1. Goulet says:

    As one of the few non-adorers of Brokeback Mountain, I’ve experienced this a LOT, more than with any other film. You’re not even allowed to be mixed on this one, either you think it’s a masterpiece or you’re biased, homophobic, etc.
    Am I not allowed to feel that it’s pretty lame compared to something like Before Night Falls or Happy Together?

  2. Crow T Robot says:

    Poland, your big critics chart rules man. You could probably charge admission to the sum’bitch.
    Great work and keep on rockin’!

  3. waterbucket says:

    While I do not endorse the disrespectful tone of the letter, I have to say that some of this ‘fever’ is partly because of you. Your treatment of BBM has been very personal and thus people feel that it’s okay to behave that way toward you.
    Maybe if you ease up your hostility toward this movie and its supporters a little, then people will give you a break.

  4. David Poland says:

    It’s all well and good to blame me, Bucket, but I have shown no hostility to the supporters of the film or the film itself.
    I have been respectful and by any sane standard, I have been supportive. It’s been #2 on my Oscar chart for Best Picture week after week, I have touted Michelle Williams as a deserving Oscar winner from my very first review at Telluride, and I have never suggested for a second that Heath Ledger has given anything less than a top notch performance, mumbles or not.
    On the cover of MCN, I have linked to every positive story about the movie that I have found. None of my writers have ever had the film even mentioned to them, in an encouraging or disencouraging way.
    I have seen the movie four times, working to come to the best understanding I can about the film.
    The only thing I haven’t done is to agree that every overstated claim – not critical, factual – is okay. And I have stated my opinion.
    Looking over the month on the blog, my “hostility” is limited to a 20 Weeks piece (that I consider perfectly reasonable and respectful), the publication of a Sarris review and a Letterman Top Ten list, and a passing question about how the media might spin box office if it fades.
    Seems to me like I’m not the hostile one.

  5. ZacharyTF says:

    On your 2005 Top Tens chart I noticed that there is no explanation of calculating the points value for each film.
    Maybe there was in an earlier version of the charts, but I don’t see one now. I assume it’s 10 points for #1, 9 points for #2, and so on.
    How many are given for each movie in a list that is not ranked from #1 to #10?

  6. David Poland says:

    5 points for each unranked movie.

  7. EDouglas says:

    You’ve seen Brokeback Mountain…4…times!!??!
    No wonder it’s like that old Three Stooges “Niagara Falls” routine anytime someone brings it up! 🙂
    The first time I saw the movie, I thought it was really overrated, but the second time I watched it, I really understood a bit more why so many people were embracing it. There is something very subtle and sublime that Ang Lee has done with how the movie plays, and if you’re able to put aside any sociopolitical subtext, it works a lot better. That said, I totally understand why people might not love it and why it might not be everyone’s cup of tea, and I don’t think it has anything to do with the sexuality of the leads.

  8. KamikazeCamelV2.0 says:

    The original letter made me laugh because he/she simply doesn’t understand the workings.
    If all else fails, read the instructions.

  9. Melquiades says:

    Am I the only one who fails to see the brilliance of A History of Violence? I enjoyed all the performances and it was nicely directed and carefully written. But it just didn’t rise above “yeah, that was good” for me. Certainly not Best of the Year stuff.

  10. EDouglas says:

    Ditto, Mel, and I’ve been a Cronenberg fan for over twenty years. Then again, I also was a huge fan of the original graphic novel and still think that story and its ending are better.

  11. Terence D says:

    The homosexual lobby is out in force on Brokeback. It’ll get stronger and more desperate by the day especially before nominations come out. Some are using this movie as a movement and a referendum.

  12. bicycle bob says:

    history of violence is better than brokeback. whats so hard about that? its not even a comparison in my mind.

  13. jeffmcm says:

    What exactly is the ‘homosexual lobby’ and how is it different from, say, the ‘lobbies’ advancing Crash or Munich or Good Night and Good Luck?

  14. Terence D says:

    The difference is it’s made up of primarily homosexuals. They’re not even talking of the movie’s good points. It’s more about what the movie is about.

  15. jeffmcm says:

    Okay, but who are these people and how do you know their sexuality?

  16. Josh says:

    Is it so hard to believe that gays are for and defending and promoting “Brokeback Mountain”?

  17. Terence D says:

    There’s no homosexual lobby behind BBM? Now who’s the one being naive? I bet Dave gets 100 emails a day like this one and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. How many other stories you read about how “great” it’s doing? How many stories you read about how it is going to sweep every major award? If you’ve seen it you would realize it’s decent but nothing memorable. And the fervent passion for it stems from a movement. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not bashing the movement or the lobby. They all can love whatever movie they want to. I’m glad they’re supporting it. But don’t confuse that with love for this picture.

  18. Bruce says:

    It’s a conspiracy! Call Ollie Stone. Stat!

  19. Terence D says:

    I’m sure we have some homosexual posters here. I’ll ask them. Are you rooting for BBM to succeed and be a hit? No matter what you think of the movie itself? Will you be happy to see it nominated and win the Oscar?

  20. BluStealer says:

    It’s pretty safe to say that “Brokeback” will be among the five nominees for that little statue. Irregardless of fans or backers or perceived lobbies.
    The real question with it is it going to play across the nation and build on the early successes it has had? Because all this is moot if it sinks.

  21. EDouglas says:

    Except that many if not most of my gay friends and acquaintances, including a couple critics I know, who saw Brokeback, really didn’t like it. The people who have been getting behind Brokeback (no pun intended) are not purely one sexuality or another.

  22. EDouglas says:

    DP, you gotta get the quote thing going here. 🙂
    That above statement was in response to this:
    “The homosexual lobby is out in force on Brokeback.”

  23. Melquiades says:

    I’m straight, and I consider Brokeback one of the best movies of the year (certainly better than A History of Violence). I imagine most (or at leats many) of the critics who have put Brokeback on their top ten lists are straight.
    I don’t think it succeeds as a “gay” movie but as a doomed romance movie. It’s doomed because of the orientation of its characters, yes, but it could tell the same kind of tale about any couple facing societal obstacles — class, race, etc.
    Now… I do think many gay people are trumpeting this movie, and well they should. What’s the last movie with this high a profile and pedigree, with this kind of critical and awards-season success, to deal with a gay romance?

  24. Wayman_Wong says:

    Terence D, if there’s a ”fervent passion” around here, it’s your various postings about ”the homosexual lobby.” ”Brokeback Mountain” is the first Hollywood movie to deal with a serious gay love story since ”Making Love” (1982). Is it any wonder that gay people would want to embrace a film that finally shows a story they can relate to? And for what it’s worth, not all gays love ”Brokeback”; you can Google and find gay critics who knock it, too.
    You write: ”How many other stories you read about how ”great” it’s doing? How many stories you read about how it is going to sweep every major award?” Are you suggesting that gays have taken over the media and made up all these stories? In relation to what it costs to make and given its taboo topic, ”Brokeback” IS doing ”great.” It has set some box-office records (i.e., $100,000 per screen in a limited release). It has swept many of the major awards: the N.Y. Film Critics, the L.A. Film Critics and many more film critics’ groups across America. It’s leading in the Golden Globe and Broadcast Film Critics’ nominations. That’s a simple fact.
    You also write: ”Don’t get me wrong. I’m not bashing the movement or the lobby. They all can love whatever movie they want to. I’m glad they’re supporting it. But don’t confuse that with love for this picture.”
    Gee, I’ll bet some of your best friends are gay, too. Frankly, it doesn’t sound like you’re ”glad” gays are supporting it; you make it sound like there’s some conspiracy out there foisting gay propaganda on unsuspecting moviegoers. Isn’t it possible for people to love a movie – straight or gay – because they enjoy a really well-told love story? Speaking of ”the tip of the iceberg,” there were tons of people who had a ”fervent passion” for ”Titanic,” too (including gay people). Who was behind that agenda? The cruise-ship industry?
    The next thing you’ll be saying is that there are plenty of Jewish people in the media, so they’ll be lobbying for ”Munich” because they all have a Jewish agenda. If your opinion of ”Brokeback” is that ”it’s decent but nothing memorable,” that’s fine, but don’t assume your word is the final one. Obviously, there are many critics (and straight ones at that) and moviegoers who ARE embracing it. Ultimately, what you or I think is unimportant; the public votes with its pocketbook. They’ll either go or they won’t.
    Otherwise, to me, a ”homosexual lobby” is something you might find in a ”homosexual hotel.”

  25. bicycle bob says:

    u have to know that gays will trumpet this movie. its natural. its a good movie with a great director and really the first of its kind. they’re gonna be passionate about it.

  26. Terence D says:

    First thing I know what I post so there’s really no need to copy and paste and quote it there.
    Secondly, you don’t think the Jewish lobby supported Schindlers List with a fervent passion??? And most won’t support “Munich”?
    I think I commented yesterday on your undying support and embrace of BBM. It is apparent. You love the film. And that is terrific. But it’s not a success yet unless you count a few critics awards, Golden Globe nominations, and a high per screen gross.
    You are obviously blind to the world if you don’t realize most of the homosexual community want to see BBM do really well.

  27. jeffmcm says:

    Can I get homosexual wireless internet (homowifi) in the homosexual lobby?

  28. steve4992 says:

    “The homosexual lobby.” I love it. “I’ll meet you in the homosexual lobby tonight at 7:00.”
    In answer to Terence D’s question, I am gay, but I should say that I have missed several meetings of the “homosexual lobby” so I am not as up on the “gay agenda” as I should be. But, in my opinion, when a critic posts a top ten list and fails to list BBM in the top spot, then he or she is, of course, a homophobic bigot.
    Seriouly, I liked BBM and hope that it will do well. But there are a lot other good movies out there as well–I very much liked “A History of Violence”, “Good Night and Good Luck”, and “Grizzly Man”, for example. Different people like different movies, and I have no problem with that. [There are some movies with gay themes that I think are pure dreck–“The Bird Cage” comes to mind.] I do have a problem with Medved, Friedman and others who’ve bashed the movie as part of an attempt to advance their own anti-gay agenda.

  29. jeffmcm says:

    This is pretty funny:
    “But it’s not a success yet unless you count a few critics awards, Golden Globe nominations, and a high per screen gross.”
    There are plenty of Jews who are really pissed off about Munich, just as there was a dedicated faction who loathed Schindler’s List.
    Anyway, Terence, I think your argument would make more sense if you weren’t out to make the gay community into something monolithic and ominous.

  30. Crow T Robot says:

    “Can I get homosexual wireless internet (homowifi) in the homosexual lobby?”
    A+ with extra credit, j-mac.

  31. Terence D says:

    Just like I’m pretty sure there are a few homosexuals who loathe BBM. But the majority? Not on your life. You can deny it all you want. But the majority of homosexuals want this film to do well even if they don’t like the film, haven’t seen the film, or don’t even care about film. It’s more of a movement than a best picture contender.

  32. palmtree says:

    So Making Love was all the way back in 1982? That means in 23 years the “homosexual lobby” has had only two mainstream films to support. Well, I say let them have it…that and I think it’s a good movie.

  33. Crow T Robot says:

    Isn’t that lobby a bathroom on the corner of Santa Monica and Wilshire? The George Michael one.
    (okay, I’ll drink my coffee)

  34. jeffmcm says:

    Nice, Crow.

  35. Bruce says:

    They tried with “Jeffrey”. They tried with “Love Valour Compassion”. Unfortunately those were horrendous movies. Now they at least have a decent movie to work with.

  36. Wayman_Wong says:

    Terence D, you’re the one who’s stereotyping everyone. You assume all Jewish people are gonna love ”Munich” because they have an agenda, the way you assume all gay people are gonna love ”Brokeback” because they have an agenda. Of course, many Jews will love ”Munich”; of course, many gays will love ”Brokeback.” But as Jeffmcm just noted, not all Jews loved ”Munich” or even ”Schindler’s List.” (For what it’s worth, I loved ”Schindler’s List” – and I’m not Jewish. It’s a great film, period.) People, and ethnic groups specifically, are more complicated than you make them out to be, and if can’t see that, you’re the one ”who’s blind to the world.”

  37. LesterFreed says:

    Again. You couldn’t pay me to see Brokeback Mountain. I’d rather see a double feature of Aeon Flux and Derailed.

  38. James Leer says:

    Guys, don’t bother with Terence D. This is the shit starter who has been posting weird things about “homosexuals” and anti-Brokeback messages since way before the movie was released, yet asked us to believe that he rushed out to see the film during the first two days of its extremely limited release (since that’s when he first broke out the “If you’ve seen the film, you’d realize it’s not a Best Picture candidate, etc.”).

  39. jeffmcm says:

    We know, Lester…rather lose your balls…got it.

  40. Terence D says:

    You obviously have a love for BBM and that is great. But don’t twist my words around to fit your need to support the film. The point is homosexuals will support BBM even if they don’t like it or haven’t seen it or don’t care about film. Just like many Jews supported Schindlers List. Will they for Munich? Probably not since it probably offends half the Jews out there and doesn’t strike the chord that Schindlers did. Tough to be human and not support that movie. Jewish or not. But some of the most passionate supporters of Schindlers was the Jewish lobby and rightfully so.
    You can believe what you want about BBM. But the fact remains. It is more of a movement than a great picture. You can argue and deny it all you want. I really don’t care. It doesn’t matter to me. I didn’t think the picture was anything special. I thought it was laborious. And the passioned support of the film makes me wonder what they are exactly supporting. If you don’t think homosexuals want to see this film succeed so they can use it as an exclamation mark on their life choices than you are naive.

  41. jeffmcm says:

    “If you don’t think homosexuals want to see this film succeed so they can use it as an exclamation mark on their life choices than you are naive”
    Okay, now you need to move on. Your point, and your starting assumptions, seem to be pretty clear.

  42. James Leer says:

    Ew, I was going to say “Why does it matter so much to you that gay people like the movie?”…then I went and reread your last sentence.

  43. James Leer says:

    Directed not at jeffmcm but the post above his.

  44. Bruce says:

    I think I’ve heard just about all their is on a movie about gay cowboys who are in loveless marriages. The people behind this movie better hope the rest of the paying public cares as much as this group about it. They couldn’t get better publicity.

  45. Stella's Boy says:

    So Terence, it is a fact that BBM is more movement than great picture? You have the final say on that? No one, gay or straight, is allowed to like it merely because it’s a great love story? They have to have a secret agenda? And why did you even see it? I would bet serious cash that you had your mind made up about it before you set foot in the theater.

  46. Terence D says:

    I guess I do have final say because I paid my 10 bucks to see it. Is your opinion “better” than mine because you think its a “great love story”? I doubt it.

  47. Wayman_Wong says:

    You obviously have a hate for BBM, and nothing either of us will say, will change the other person’s mind. You say you ”really don’t care. It doesn’t matter to me.” Obviously, it does because you keep harping about ”the homosexual lobby.” We’ll just have to agree to disagree.

  48. Stella's Boy says:

    I’m still waiting for Terence to provide more information about “the homosexual lobby.” You swear it exists, but you offer nothing to support your claim. We’re just supposed to take you at your word.

  49. Stella's Boy says:

    Oh, and Terence, please enlighten us. Why did you even bother to see BBM in the first place?

  50. Melquiades says:

    Life choices, huh? Say no more…

  51. Terence D says:

    I’ll ask you again. Do you think the majority of homosexuals are supporting this movie? Even if they haven’t seen it, don’t care for it, or don’t care? If you say no than we can agree to disagree. I think they are and like I stated I have no problems with that. It’s their right. I think some see this as their big movie. And even if they don’t like it or won’t see or whatever they will support it.
    Thanks for the quality discussion on the subject.

  52. jeffmcm says:

    We better check HomoHQ to make sure that the majority of the membership is supporting the movie.If they do, they get toaster ovens.

  53. Josh says:

    One thing I know for sure. You’re going to see Ledger and Gyllenhall in movies and in real life proving their straight at all times.
    “I love chicks!” — Jake screaming

  54. steve4992 says:

    JeffMCM–you mean you didn’t get the Memo?

  55. jeffmcm says:

    Josh, you are more right than you know: exhibit A, the movie Casanova (although oddly, involving much more elaborate costumes and makeup than Brokeback).

  56. Stella's Boy says:

    I feel like I stay on top of the news, and I’m not seeing this huge effort from the homosexual community to get people to support BBM, regardless of whether or not they’ve seen it. Where are you getting this idea Terence? Bill O’Reilly? I’d seriously like to know.

  57. James Leer says:

    Terence, which theater did you see it in that first weekend? Did it freak you out to see it with so many “homosexuals”?

  58. Bruce says:

    You didn’t read The Advocate and the Village Voice????
    Come on, though. If you’re gay, you wouldn’t be supporting an Oscar caliber film, with an A list director, and two A list stars playing gay?
    Now, I’m not gay but I was I think I’d be on the bandwagon for this one. How many movies like this have ever been made and have been good?

  59. Terence D says:

    James Leer,
    You are very mistaken. One thing I don’t have issues with are homosexuals. I just have issues with the film. So, don’t go calling me a homophobe for disliking this film. But then again, you’re proving my whole point. You come against this film and you’re a homophobe. You’re against homosexuals. Thanks, James Leer.

  60. jeffmcm says:

    “One thing I don’t have issues with are homosexuals”
    This entire discussion would seem to suggest otherwise.

  61. Josh says:

    I saw the ending of “Wonder Boys”. I think I know what team Mr Leer is on here. LOL.

  62. palmtree says:

    I think Terence and his ilk are saying that BBM is being lauded despite not being good. But if there is a homolobby, then it is supporting BBM precisely because it is good. Otherwise we’d all be stuck with nominations for the equally gay Rent. So let’s ease up on the “movement v. quality” argument. Can’t it be both?

  63. Terence D says:

    Again, Jeff, thank you for proving my point.
    If you dislike the film, you hate homosexuals. Don’t disparage it even a little bit or claim that many homosexual support it or you hate all homosexuals.
    Give me a break.

  64. Wayman_Wong says:

    Terence D, I haven’t taken polls of ”the majority of homosexuals.” But I know gay people who love ”Brokeback” and I know gay people who hate it. The ones who love it, love the story and the performances. The ones who hate it, don’t care if it’s gay love story; it didn’t work for them and they don’t feel any obligation to support it.

  65. Stella's Boy says:

    I do not think that people hate homosexuals if they dislike this movie. I don’t think anyone here has said or implied that. Terence, your comments here raise a lot of questions.

  66. jeffmcm says:

    And provide some answers.

  67. waterbucket says:

    Is Terence D. another name for David Poland?
    Hehe, j/k. I’m gay and am a supporter of BBM because it’s a great film AND it has to do with homosexuality. That’s completely natural.
    If there are 2 films that I like equally: in this case BBM and Constant Gardener, of course I’d choose to support BBM instead since it’s more personal to me.
    But while there is big support for the movie within the BBM community, most of the movie’s awards come from straight critic groups. I don’t see how in the world any critic group would want to vote for the movie solely because they feel sympathetic toward gay people.

  68. jeffmcm says:

    Did everyone go on lunch break?

  69. Terence D says:

    I wish I had Dave’s connections to see movies early.
    Thanks for responding to my question. BBM is more personal to the homosexual community. My whole point is they are going to rally in support of it. And I think that is terrific. A community should support a film that speaks to them.

  70. LesterFreed says:

    As a black man I can say I got behind “Do the Right Thing” and I didn’t think it was all that. I was legitimately disappointed when it got shafted at awards time. I am more of a Shaft guy though. The cop, I mean. I can understand why gays would get behind this movie.

  71. Nicol D says:

    The train of philosophy for modern film criticism as taught in most modern film schools is exactly to NOT judge films based on traditional criteria such as directing, acting, music, story, script etc.
    Instead current films school students look at film history through the paradigm of ideology, Marxist oppression theory and feminist identity politics.
    They are taught that a films true worth is in its ideological value, hence any films that have ‘values’ that reflect a patriarcahl, Judeo-Chritian, white-male, European or heterosexual world view are deemed bad. Ones that champion third world causes, homosexuality, feminist values, anti-capitalism, anti-Christianity are to be valued adn considered good.
    That was all I was taught in my film theory classes. Even in production, student-films that were not ‘PC’ were downgraded and ones that dealt with ‘correct’ subject matter were upgraded regardless of technical merit. Only one prof dared to go against this grain and he had to face a tribunal when he showed us Blue Velvet. The feminists thought it was ‘pro-rape’.
    Sadly, this train of thought is into the mainstream of film criticism now and most critics adhere to it if even on a subtextual level. Not all to be sure…but I especially notice it in many of the younger critics. They eschew film history for modern films due to ideology.
    Again, I do not argue that junk is elevated to genius (although sometimes it is) but that incremental adjustments are made based on value systems. Hence BBM is championed for its politically correct, pro-homosexual, values. If values are not what is being championed and only craft, then where is Sin City on the Oscar campaign trail? That damn thing had craft up the wazoo!
    I have not seen the film but will assume there is a base level of quality to BBM. Ang Lee is no hack. He is also however no genius. I have seen all of his other films (and will catch this on DVD I suspect) and strongly suspect that it is being elevated due to ideology.
    Please do not patronize me with the argument that I must see it to make these statements. That presumes a ‘benefit of the doubt’ on the befalf of the filmmakers, critics and even Hollywood itself. That presumes they are neutral ideologically. We know most are not. We know this because they never keep their mouths shut about it.
    There are still many great films made, but it is getting harder to trust critics. Dave P, whether I always agree with him or not does seem to be very old school and usually not ideologically driven. As much as I disagree with Ebert’s politics I also think he tries to be honest and fair (if a bit too lenient on many things).
    To those that think BBM is not being elevated due to its subject matter, you are living in a dream world.
    If that makes me a fascisthomophobicwhatever…I couldn’t care less. These words mean nothing to me anymore. They are the enemies of art.

  72. jeffmcm says:

    Nicol, this discussion has come up before.
    I don’t think that modern film criticism has meant to replace discussions of directing, acting, story etc. with ideology, but rather to supplement those traditional aspects with a knowledge of history, politics, etc, because after all films don’t live in a vacuum. They reflect the society around them, consciously or not. There are many critics and professors with ideological biases, of course, but I think that holds true for the full range of the ideological spectrum.
    May I ask where you attended your film criticism classes?

  73. palmtree says:

    I would argue that Lord of the Rings was a film with a “patriarchal, Judeo-Christian, white-male, European or heterosexual world view.” Minus the Judeo-Christian part of course. That certainly didn’t hurt the film with critics or at the Oscars.

  74. Melquiades says:

    Sorry, but you do need to see the film before discussing its merits, or lack thereof.
    An argument can be made (and has been made) that Brokeback Mountain is anti-gay, as it depicts the devastation a gay “lifestyle” brings upon the two lovers and their extended families.
    The counter-argument, of course, is that the devastation is due to fear of the prejudices of others and would not take place in a more tolerant world.
    At any rate, BBM is not a message movie in the least. It is a tragic love story, and resonates for that reason.
    Does it get extra points from progressive film critics and audiences for exploring subject matter that closed-minded people avoid or detest? Absolutely, and it should!

  75. djk813 says:

    As a homosexual, here are the movies I’ve seen from 2005 that have a gay element (some of theme are very minor aspects of the movie) to them that I think are better than Brokeback Mountain:
    The Dying Gaul
    Last Days
    My Summer of Love
    Mysterious Skin
    Walk on Water
    Of course, I think that Brokeback Mountain is better than Munich (which I think has major script issues and doesn’t work dramatically), so if it really comes down to those two, yes I am rooting for Brokeback Mountain. If we’re talking about movies that have anything close to a realistic shot then I’m rooting for Capote or Good Night and Good Luck.
    In an odd way, I think that gay audiences are reacting so passionately to it because it is not such an extraordinary movie. It’s an above average, well-crafted, well-acted, at least decently budgeted, pretty conventional love story starring actors who are pretty well known and is pretty mainstream. Heterosexuals get at least a couple of those per year, homosexuals never really get them. The best comparison in tone, plot, and quality from last year is The Notebook.
    Where The Notebook was well liked, got good reviews, and received some award rumblings as a long, long, shot, Brokeback is getting bonus points as a political statement (and because it came out in December.) Both Brokeback and Munich fit right into the Academy wheelhouse, and the Oscars are about politics and lobbying as much as, if not more than quality anyway. Of course, if there is some organized, or semi-organized, or unorganized homosexual lobby pushing for Oscar success, I’m not sure what they expect to accomplish. To a lot of people a Brokeback Mountain Best Picture Oscar win would just further confirm that “liberal Hollywood is out of touch with most of the country.” I don’t see any benefit to it politically or socially beyond preaching to the converted.

  76. Rufus Masters says:

    Liz Smith is all for it. That says enough to me about gay writers pulling for it.

  77. djk813 says:

    And I just realized that Walk on Water would make a perfect compromise between the Brokeback Mountain camp and the Munich camp. And it’s better than both of them.

  78. Nicol D says:

    Jeff MCM,
    Thanks for the comment. It is certainly valid and honest question for you to ask me where I attended film school. I hope you understand if I politely refuse to answer. Not quite comfortable with that yet.
    Your other comments do not really disagree with what I say…more or less you prove me right. Of course films exist in the context of the ‘culture’ that produced them. But even more to the point, the people that produce them. Who are not neutral ideologically. Film is not an egalitarian medium.
    The problem becomes perception versus reality. The Oscars are meant to (as best as possible) reflect the artistic merits, not the value system of the film itself. Again, I do not argue BBM is a poorly made film, but it is indeed a politically correct film. It’s the film you are supposed to like.
    The problem with this new way of film criticism is that it by definition leads to a film being a referendum on the subject matter as opposed to the quality of the film craft itself.
    If one critiqued BBM using harsh bigotted language than obviously one could see through the facade. But Dave P and others who have critiqued it have done so in the mildest of ways…and they are still attacked…by many who do not have their experience and knowledge.
    Politically correct film criticism is not criticism at all. It is fads and trends. Based more in fear than knowledge. I am sure there are many who truly think BBM is the best film of the year. I also bet there are many who think it is mediocre but put it at the top for fear of their crediblility and reputation.
    That is wrong and is again…the enemy of art.
    I find the agenda of Triumph of the Will horrible (as do most)…that does not mean I can’t appreciate the craft. Same with DW Griffith’s Birth of a Nation. The same might be said of Disney’s lost classic, Song of the South
    When film theory is now solely based on PC ideology (which is a view rooted in Marxism and therefore heavily skewed and biased to begin with) I must ultimately say it hurts rather than helps. It takes a lot of years of film watching and training to really understand why great films are great. It doesn’t take much training at all to say something is great because of its agenda.
    That is not criticism based in art at all. It is criticism based in fads, trends and fear.
    One needs to see a film to discuss its aesthetic merits perhaps. Not its ideological world view. One needn’t see Triumph of the Will to talk about what it is about.
    When film criticism is now about ideology rather than artistic merit what is forfeited is the benefit of the doubt factor. I have given BBM benefit of the doubt aestheically. What I argue is that this is not what it is propelling it. It is the chassis of the car, but not the engine that is driving the acclaim. The message is.

  79. Rufus Masters says:

    Film schools are havens for liberal ideology and marxist ideology. It’s been this way for decades. I would tend to think though that being taught like this would make a student or learner rebel against it. The weak minded fall into the traps.

  80. palmtree says:

    Are these the same liberal, anti-Judeo Christian critics that mostly lauded Narnia, a narrative with decidedly Christian overtones?

  81. Josh says:

    One thing BBM is not is “anti gay”. How can you even say something like that?

  82. bicycle bob says:

    i feel the same way. that brokeback is being championed for its message and what its about more than for how good it really is. i think people even championing it are forgetting all its good points. directing, acting, cinematography

  83. Telemachos says:

    I’d agree that the film should be seen if you want to comment about whether it’s well-made or not. Personally, I thought it was the best film I’ve seen this year (admittedly, there are several films I haven’t seen yet that might be contenders, including History of Violence, Constant Gardener, Capote, etc).
    Nor was I a big advocate of the film beforehand. I didn’t have much desire to see it, and my wife dragged me to it. I thought it was superbly done — what criticisms I have are quite minor.
    FWIW, I also have a family member who’s gay who didn’t like the film (though for reasons that are remarkably stupid and show a complete lack of understanding about the film).
    I certainly think that Dave and others who’ve seen it are more than entitled to feel it’s over-rated or not worth the praise. I certainly felt that way with Shakespeare in Love. After all, what keeps things interesting is when we can have well-argued discussions about movies.
    However, I think it’s equally silly to think that there is some active agenda on the parts of those who liked BBM — the only agenda for most of us is that we liked it!

  84. David Poland says:

    I ama big fan of the gay lobby. The Brits do the straight lobby much better than Americans… better taste in wood. (Insert gay lobby joke using the word “wood” here.)
    But seriously folks…
    I think that stereotyping film schools doesn’t take into account the power of the individual professor… though it is fair to say that most film professors I’ve ever known are liberal. And the revered films of the 40s, 50s, and 60s almost all come out of response to opression, which tends to be a stance embraced by people who consider themselves liberal.
    As for BBM, more and more I think this film is a sad landmark in the way that Morgan Freeman spoke against Black History Month on 60 Minutes the other night. “Would you want Jewish History Month, Mike?” Mr. Wallace said, “No, of course not.”
    As a Jew, I am interested in films about the Jewish Holocaust that are complex and challenging. The films of bodies in piles are important factual documents, but the horror overwhelms any discussion. Movies like Tim Blake Nelson’s The Grey Zone or the best of the holocaust films, Shoah, demand more.
    To my eye, Brokeback is a story about being forced to sit in the back of the bus with the ending being that one brave soul tries to sit in front off-screen and gets lynched and we are sad for the less brave person, his friend, who suffers guilt and loss for his inaction.
    BBM is to a successful drama about gay men as Miss Jane Pittman is to Do The Right Thing. I loved Miss Jane Pittman as a kid and it was a landmark in its time, but Black filmmakers clearly feel they are well past that kind of movie now. (The fact that we don’t see the MJPs and Sounders or even Roots these days doesn’t diminish their value when made, but does bring into question how they have aged.)
    It is Halle Berry’s Oscar followed by little but T&A roles. She hasn’t had a role of the quality of Dorothy Dandridge since her Oscar, much less an Oscar role. So is this progress for Black actors? Or is winning an Oscar enough?
    Yes, there are simplistic responses to BBM that are absurd and homophobic. But there are other issues. And while people rightly compare it to melodramas of the 30s, 40s and 50s, there is a reason why those films are not made anymore. The fellow who made the comparison to The Notebook is not far off. But the redemption of The Notebook for me is that the “villain,” is sincerely trying to save her daughter based on fear created not blindly, but by her own history… and of course, the movie is about two people who take action against a sea of oppression. He takes it more quietly, but he does move forward, rebuilding the house. She burns, but is cooled, but acts as soon as she reconnects with the truth. If BBM did that much, it might be one of my favorites of the year.

  85. PandaBear says:

    If it was Maggie Gyllenhall and not Jake starring we’d all be bashing it as one of the years most boring pictures.

  86. Cadavra says:

    Attention, everyone in the “homosexual lobby:” You’ve done a fine job. Now get to work on THE PRODUCERS–it needs the help far more right now.
    Members of the “Jewish lobby” should also pitch in.

  87. PandaBear says:

    Why would any lobby waste their time on The Producers? It’s garbage. Go rent the original or see the Broadway show. Save your time.

  88. Telemachos says:

    Interesting points, David… but IMHO what makes BBM a superior piece of filmmaking is that I had a very different interpretation from you on a couple of key scenes… and the movie supports both views.
    (SPOILERS: I wasn’t so sure that Jack didn’t die a natural death, and Ennis’s flashes of him being murdered weren’t merely a reflection of his own past and how he was raised as a child.
    If I came away with the same interpretation as you, it would’ve diminished the film for me as well. But one of the huge positives of the film (I think) is that they didn’t introduce any sneering villains, or even make an entire slice of society the sneering villain. That to me makes it far superior than MILLION DOLLAR BABY, that critical darling from last year that was utterly shameless about how it portrayed the antagonists… talk about 1930s melodrama!

  89. Mark Ziegler says:

    I’d rather it had had a villian. Would have made it more exciting and less dull.

  90. jeffmcm says:

    Nicol: I certainly didn’t intend to prove you right. You seemed to be saying that modern film theories were bad because of how they obscure true artistry in favor of merely rooting for ideological partners; I don’t think that’s a fair assessment, although no doubt happens all too often.
    DP: I am finally understanding your take on the film, which, ironically, sounds very ideological. I never thought of Jack as more brave, merely less restrained. The tragedy of the movie – and it is a tragedy, not merely a drama – is that Ennis can never open up or be free, and so consigns himself to permanent isolation. An attempts to deepen its political stance – which, to be honest, there really isn’t much of – would cheapen that tragedy.
    In my opinion.

  91. jeffmcm says:

    Telemachos, if there’s one thing that I learned from Million Dollar Baby it was this:
    Clint Eastwood hates rednecks!

  92. Angelus21 says:

    I didn’t see any poltical stance in BBM. Just that they were so scared to be who they really were.

  93. David Poland says:

    Jack Twist shows virtually no fear.

  94. Lynn says:

    “(SPOILERS: I wasn’t so sure that Jack didn’t die a natural death, and Ennis’s flashes of him being murdered weren’t merely a reflection of his own past and how he was raised as a child.”
    I agree. I think that Ennis is an extremely unreliable narrator. As someone else put it very succinctly, perhaps the most unreliable since Sweeny Todd.
    FYI, there are a lot of those within the gay community and its supporters who do have a problem with BBM, for the same reason that they have had it up to here with movies about AIDS — the message that gay = dead is one they are getting rather tired of. I can see their argument, but I think they are missing the point of this particular movie as much as the “this is gay propaganda” crowd.
    The producer of this movie said in Newsweek that the primary audience for this movie wasn’t the gay community, it was women, and I agree. Like Romeo and Juliet and every doomed romance since, it’s appeal is primarily to women who enjoy that type of melodrama. (And the pretty boys kissing. Which more enjoy than one might think, I suspect.)
    Something that amused me was looking at Box Office Mojo. BBM’s “genre” is listed as Western, which I don’t disagree with, but it’s kind of incomplete. I wasn’t surprised there wasn’t a BoM genre for gay themed or gay films (there is cross-dressing/gender bending, but that certainly isn’t the same), but I was a little surprised to find out there are only two categories for romance — comedy and drama. There are, on the other hand, 6 categories for action movies, 10 categories for comedy, 6 categories for sci-fi movies, and a whopping 14 categories for sports movies. Oh, but there are only 2 for “dragon movie,” the same number as romance. Is there any doubt these categories were made up by a guy? Sorry… just thought that was funny.

  95. Sanchez says:

    You can’t put a damn SPOILER in your first sentence!
    That is beyond classless. Go back to Ain’t it Uncool if you’re going to pull that.

  96. jeffmcm says:

    DP: That would have been a great tagline for the movie, right before some smoochin’.
    Not really true though. (SPOILER: if he was so here queer, why did he have to go to Mexico to get his freak on? If you believe Oliver Stone, half the population of Texas was gay in the 1960s.)

  97. jeffmcm says:

    That was supposed to read “here and queer”

  98. Telemachos says:

    (answering jeffmcm)
    He didn’t, not all the time. It was strongly hinted that he was occasionally shacking up with the other rancher he met at the party, the one married to endless-babbling Anna Faris. But certainly on at least a few occasions (one shown) he ducked south of the border for some lovin’.
    This blog needs some sort of spoiler tag.

  99. Lota says:

    Gee, seems like the homosexual lobby is full. Maybe y’all have to put up a flatscreen TV in another room so the rest of us all can see what’s going on.
    At any rate i didn’t really love BBM, but i didn’t dislike it either. The saving grace is Ang Lee who is a genius at one thing at least–emotional love. from Eat,Drink,Man,Woman and onward he’s been able to excel at relationships and romantic love where other directors fail (we need another Richard QUine and he’s about as close as we’ll get i expect).
    If BBM makes my year end top ten it would be in the 9 or 10 slot simply because i was better engrossed and entertained by other excellent movies, but I do fervently hope that Ang Lee gets a DGA nom for directing and a subsequent oscar nom for same.
    i just wish it hadn’t been Jake Gyllenhaal in the movie. god i think he’s dreadfully overrated.
    Jeff mcm. Perhaps it is more correct to say if we are to believe Oliver Stone, half the population of New Orleans was gay in the early 1960s.

  100. Lota says:

    ***potential SPOILER below for BBM***
    ***potential SPOILER below for BBM***
    “If you’re gay, you wouldn’t be supporting an Oscar caliber film, with an A list director, and two A list stars playing gay?”
    Brice said this above I believe. yes, I agree. I think its above average goodness is elevated evermore still becasue it has a certain significance in the “not done before” milestones. There are other movies with gay or lesbian characters in supporting roles, but they are usually minor characters so they aren’t so memorable as an “advancement” for inclusion of bigger stories where main characters happen to be gay.
    One of my beloved cousins, who died from complications of AIDS over ten years ago likely wouldn’t be a fan of BBM since he didn’t like the association of gay = dead or dying. He was a founding memeber of ACT-UP and was very defensive of the portrayal of gay men as being “the tragic on their way to tragedy”. He wanted to see more “normal” people living “normal” lives and looking normal–not handsome studs or pretty boys or weirdos. He liked Philadelphia, and thought the portrayal of the love relationship of Tom Hanks was decent & the workplace politics, but he still didn’t like the on the way to death scenario but in that story it was a the main feature and unavoidabel for the time. These days a survivor’s story would be doable (and the discrmination case would be the main feature rather than the death from AIDS scenario).
    Why can’t we get a good flick with a 1) happy 2)ugly 3)normal non-arts-related job 4) homo 5)who lives to be 95?

  101. Lota says:

    Jeepers. i mean BRUCE, not Brice.
    I can’t stop saying Jeepers. Must be because I just watched Scarlet Street again recently. Jeepers Edward G Robinson…I love ya!

  102. khuntley1 says:

    Lota, sorry about your beloved cousin. I both 1)loved the film and 2) am sick, sick, sick, of the way “my people” are portrayed. I’ll try to explain both, #2 first:
    There has never been anything remotely close to a “gay Luke Skywalker” in film if you count movies other than one star, thumbs down films. I would bet that most any other gay person would agree and is tired of seeing all gay roles as either: dying, effeminate, miserably unhappy because of who they are, in stereotypical occupations, etc. BBM is no different. You cannot take the film and offer one single argument about the worth or merit of being gay.
    However, I so very much enjoyed the film because of the tragedy and the light it shines on society. Believe it or not, I think it is somewhat similar to the reason I liked Kong (saw today). SPOILER At the point in Kong just before he is put on display in New York, Denham makes a big deal about Kong as an “aberration of nature.” The social commentary maybe is about whether it is Kong or humans that are the “aberration.” In the same manner, Jack and Ennis are miserable. But are they miserable because they are the ones with the problem?

  103. jeffmcm says:

    I agree, khuntley. If you want to see something that truly speaks to the Act Up member in us all (well, maybe not all), this is the wrong movie.
    I think it’s better appreciated in terms of Lee’s body of work on the subject of emotional repression.

  104. khuntley1 says:

    Good point jeffmcm, but don’t both films speak of emotionaly oppression by society rather than emotional repression of those affected by society?

  105. KamikazeCamelV2.0 says:

    I kinda skipped a whole lot of the replies cause my god this was a long thread. But Terrance said something waaaay up there that I wanted to address
    “If you’ve seen it you would realize it’s decent but nothing memorable.”
    And that is the EXACT problem with this while argument. There are some gay fans of the movie are out there screaming saying it is the greatest movie in god knows however long and that if you don’t like it you’re a homophobe.
    And then there are the people who don’t particularly like (or out-and-out hate it) who don’t seem to be able to grasp the fact that people DO like it as a movie. It’s a romance for crying out loud – romance movies are always loved.
    And until people such as Terrance stop claiming their opinions as fact (“it’s decent but nothing memorable”) then we might get a few less people writing such stupid letters as the guy at the very start of the thread did.
    (btw, I am gay and have not seen the movie)

  106. jeffmcm says:

    I was only writing about Brokeback. Kong is hardly emotionally repressed, it’s true.

  107. David Poland says:

    One thing I never quite expected on my blog… people declaring their sexuality. Blogging out? Blouting? Bloguality?
    I am honored, as I so often am, but the passion and intellegence of the posters in here.
    Btw, King Kong ’77 is on AMC right now and it is horrible… I don’t remember the ape being this fake or mugging for the camera this overtly. But I’m still not sure there has ever been a woman on screen any sexier that Lange in this film. Just amazing.

  108. BTG says:

    I think it’s odd that so many have bent over backwards to debate the obvious (that many or most gay people would root for a film that shows gays in a good light, or I would say that humanizes them, [alright that’s not how it was put but I think it’s a fine point that Terence D and Nicol have been discounting much of the film’s support from gays because it’s a film about gays rather than that it presents them sympathetically] rather than the merits of the film. I’m a gay man, and I was very very moved by BBM, in fact I’ve been thinking about it all day since I saw it last night. I think I relate to both characters (possibly Ennos moreso), and this film, for me at least, had a powerful emotional punch. I looked around the movie theatre after the lights came on and saw quite a few women who were crying and were very moved by the film as well. It might be fair to say that it had such a strong emotional impact for me because I’m a masculine, eligible gay man (and boy has this film made me feel lonely, more lonely than I’ve felt for a long time) but it has the emotional impact it has because of the subject material. At some level this is a new exploration for everyone. Not only have gay people not been presented with such sympathetic and tragic characters with such style and depth since…I don’t know, (this is the first Ang Lee film I’ve seen), but straight people haven’t either. It would be disingenuous for straights to pretend they don’t understand homophobia, that it doesn’t strike a chord in all of us at some level. We’ve all been through the teen years and every straight teen has imagined what it would be like to be suspected of being gay. Every straight can imagine what it might be like to be gay in Wyoming in the 60s, heck Matthew Shepard died horribly so recently. This film IS political and that’s part of its magic. That’s why it’s emotional, and why it can pack such a punch for straights with the emotional intelligence to think about things a bit differently, and for straight men who can identify possibly more closely with gay male characters in this film than they might ever have. The power of this film is that the characters are so unconventional, so sympathetic, glamourous even, trapped, tragic and gay, and every straight who sees this film is likely to reflect on times in their own lives when they’ve observed homosexuality and homophobia, they’ll think of the gay people they know, they may remember a time when they might have feared (even if only briefly) being wrongly perceived as gay, and it will make them THINK and FEEL, which is what new political films can do if they’re good. I can imagine that there are people who won’t be as impressed with this film as I am, but this will be in spite of this aspect of the film. I think it’s a bit pedantic to write about art for art’s sake, art is produced for you and I and everyone to experience and to elicit feeling. A political film can have a certain resonance because of where it takes us and how it makes us feel about our experience, ourselves and the people we know. Of course this isn’t the case with all so-called political films, I liked Summer of Love very much, possibly my favourite gay film after this, but I didn’t like Mysterious Skin at all. I tend to be fairly hard on gay films because I find a lot of them can get something of a free ride as they deal with novel gay themes and push an envelope and educate straight audiences to some degree, but they don’t speak to me because they don’t do much more than that. Mysterious skin and L.I.E. were two films that I might have found interesting if I was straight. BBM is somehow something very different and new. I like to think that the women who were crying in the audience would agree with me, this is a powerful film.
    The best art is timeless, and the political punch packs less as times change it’s true, but I think BBM will stand up quite well for even if future generations have no memory of anything close to the homophobia that killed Matthew Shepard, the film does a fine job of serving it up cold. It’s a very atmospheric film. And the superb acting, the character development and the very smart script don’t hurt none either. BBM does something new for characterization with gay characters, Ennos and Jack seem much more 3D and tragic than any gay characters I can remember seeing in any film (please respond with alternative suggestions). Maybe I can’t put it in words as well as I thought I could, but it was worth a shot, the film’s stayed with me and it’s been on my mind all day.

  109. eoguy says:

    Screw Brokeback, I think the homosexual lobby should check in with the Oscar prospects on the Family Stone. I mean, an ensemble charater who is gay, deaf and dating a black man? Honestly, that’s like all minorities piled into one. They should definitely write a letter to the deaf lobby and see if they’ve heard about this movie.

  110. jeffmcm says:

    That last sentence is hi-larious.

  111. KamikazeCamelV2.0 says:

    I must say, I laughed at the last line too.
    When all is said and done though I think we can agree on one thing:
    There are many gay viewers who will simply love it and preach about it to the masses simply because it is a gay romance being portayed better than any before.
    And then there are many straight male viewers who will simply hate it (or not even bother to see it) and preach about it to the masses simply because it’s about two men.
    BGT, strange – Of those that I have seen, Mysterious Skin is my #1 of the year, while I was duly unimpressed by My Summer Of Love – The latter, I felt, lacked that unresistable urge of love that a teenager gets. Spontanaety (er, sorry bout the spelling), yes, but I didn’t feel these two really wanted each other until the very end. Plus, it was sooo similar to the very excellent Heavenly Creatures directed by Peter Jackson. Who knew Brokeback and King Kong could be connected within 3 easy thematic steps.

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It shows how out of it I was in trying to be in it, acknowledging that I was out of it to myself, and then thinking, “Okay, how do I stop being out of it? Well, I get some legitimate illogical narrative ideas” — some novel, you know?

So I decided on three writers that I might be able to option their material and get some producer, or myself as producer, and then get some writer to do a screenplay on it, and maybe make a movie.

And so the three projects were “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep,” “Naked Lunch” and a collection of Bukowski. Which, in 1975, forget it — I mean, that was nuts. Hollywood would not touch any of that, but I was looking for something commercial, and I thought that all of these things were coming.

There would be no Blade Runner if there was no Ray Bradbury. I couldn’t find Philip K. Dick. His agent didn’t even know where he was. And so I gave up.

I was walking down the street and I ran into Bradbury — he directed a play that I was going to do as an actor, so we know each other, but he yelled “hi” — and I’d forgot who he was.

So at my girlfriend Barbara Hershey’s urging — I was with her at that moment — she said, “Talk to him! That guy really wants to talk to you,” and I said “No, fuck him,” and keep walking.

But then I did, and then I realized who it was, and I thought, “Wait, he’s in that realm, maybe he knows Philip K. Dick.” I said, “You know a guy named—” “Yeah, sure — you want his phone number?”

My friend paid my rent for a year while I wrote, because it turned out we couldn’t get a writer. My friends kept on me about, well, if you can’t get a writer, then you write.”
~ Hampton Fancher

“That was the most disappointing thing to me in how this thing was played. Is that I’m on the phone with you now, after all that’s been said, and the fundamental distinction between what James is dealing with in these other cases is not actually brought to the fore. The fundamental difference is that James Franco didn’t seek to use his position to have sex with anyone. There’s not a case of that. He wasn’t using his position or status to try to solicit a sexual favor from anyone. If he had — if that were what the accusation involved — the show would not have gone on. We would have folded up shop and we would have not completed the show. Because then it would have been the same as Harvey Weinstein, or Les Moonves, or any of these cases that are fundamental to this new paradigm. Did you not notice that? Why did you not notice that? Is that not something notable to say, journalistically? Because nobody could find the voice to say it. I’m not just being rhetorical. Why is it that you and the other critics, none of you could find the voice to say, “You know, it’s not this, it’s that”? Because — let me go on and speak further to this. If you go back to the L.A. Times piece, that’s what it lacked. That’s what they were not able to deliver. The one example in the five that involved an issue of a sexual act was between James and a woman he was dating, who he was not working with. There was no professional dynamic in any capacity.

~ David Simon