Thursday, April 06, 2006

SOAPBOX TIME

Excuse me for a sec … okay, box is set up. No mike but I can talk loudly. {stepping up … clearing throat} Three … two … I’m on.

The other day I read that the American Family Association has begun a massive letter-writing campaign to Wal-Mart and in the letters they are protesting Wal-Mart’s sale of the DVD Brokeback Mountain. A boycott of Wal-Mart for pushing a “gay” agenda has been implied.

I haven’t seen Brokeback. Haven’t seen Crash either. Batman Begins was my favorite film of 2005. I digress. Two family members, whose opinions I trust, both said independently that I’d be bored by the movie. Way too slow. A friend said he figured I’d see it because Larry McMurtry co-wrote the screenplay and it’s about cowboys. Probably wouldn’t but now who knows.

A little background.

I have a first-edition copy (somewhere packed away in the garage) of Salman Rushdie’s The Satanic Verses. I bought the book because the Ayatollah Khomeini called the book blasphemous and issued a “fatwa” (death sentence) for Rushdie. I still remember buying the book and the sales clerk asking me if I wanted a security escort to my car. I was young and macho so I declined. It was no big deal. No one cared that I bought the book. By the way, I tried reading it and never got past chapter one.

When Simon & Schuster decided (supposedly because of a feminine staff backlash) not to publish Bret Easton Ellis’ American Psycho, I bought a copy when Vintage published it. I bought it despite the fact that I’d read another novel by Ellis in a college class and truly dislike his writing style. I found AP to be more of the b.s. style of Ellis’ earlier book. Never finished it.

Back to Brokeback, Wal-Mart, and AFA.

I’m not a big fan of Wal-Mart but, occasionally I do shop there. I wonder if I write a letter saying that I won’t shop there if they cave-in to AFA if it would do anything. Probably not. Bottom line: Business is business. Wal-Mart will do whatever the executives feel is best for their business. End of that part of the story.

As for AFA, why don’t they have a problem with Wal-Mart selling Texas Chainsaw Massacre or Hostel or Land of the Dead or, one of my personal favorites, The Wild Bunch? Why do they feel so threatened about a story about two men in love? That’s rhetorical. I know why they object. Objecting is okay. In the U.S., we have the right to our opinions. We have the right to voice them. I will always encourage that. I can write a story or screenplay then attempt to get a someone to publish it or make a film based on it. If I succeed then the reader or viewer can decide whether or not to read it or see it. That’s a free marketplace. A free exchange of products and ideas. Some I will accept, some I won’t.

Are the makers of Brokeback pushing their own agenda? Probably. So what. Why doesn’t AFA make their own film and see if anyone goes to it or wants the DVD later? Then the people that don’t like their movie can write letters to Wal-Mart and threaten a boycott.

I could ramble on but I’m stopping here. Final statement: Wal-Mart should offer Brokeback Mountain. And the DVD buyer can then cruise into the store and decide for themselves if they should purchase Brokedown Mountain or The Passion of the Christ or one of the Harry Potter series or Texas Chainsaw Massacre or nothing.
Stepping down. Putting soapbox back in the corner. Till something else irritates me and I pull it out again. To state my opinion or agenda.

1 comment:

dink said...

like Wal-mart is in any position to talk "morality" ...

ffffffffffffffft.