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The Wasatch Behind: Hollywood is breaking the back of cowboy virtues

Sun Advocate reporter

After winning many accolades at the recent Golden Globe Awards, it seems the movie Brokeback Mountain is sure to win an Academy Award. It has just the right theme and tenor for the Hollywood crowd, those folks intending to re-make our culture in the image of Sodom and Gomorrah.

I haven't seen the movie, and never will, but I can't help but hear a great deal about it on TV, and that makes me sad.

Cowboys have always been my heroes.

I'm sure there might be a few gay cowboys out there on the lonesome prairie somewhere. But if there are, they have always kept it in the closet, or maybe the saddle shed, in this instance. Historically, it would have ruined a cowboy's life and livelihood to be "outed." It might have been dangerous too. Tolerance and compassion for such things have generally been big city virtues. The wind blows differently across the rural, fruited plains where more traditional values have deeper roots.

Larry Miller refusing to run the movie in his Salt Lake theaters is a good example of the heartland sentiment.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not a gay basher, homophobe, or bigot. I simply don't care about other people's sex lives, gay or straight. I don't want to see it, hear about it, or be forced to pay for any of it. Keep your private life at home, or safely in the closet if you prefer, and we can get along fine. It's when Hollywood keeps throwing this stuff in my face that I become angry. Three of the four top winning movies at the Golden Globe Awards this year had gay themes. There is surely a social agenda behind all of this.

This particular movie bothers me because it is more than just another gay love story. It is a frontal attack on American culture and values. The storyline is intended to be controversial. In the past, cowboys have been champions of high moral values.

Roy Rogers, Gene Autry, and Hopalong Cassidy taught my generation what a real man was supposed to be. They were well-groomed and well-mannered men of action and courage who saved the pretty girls and rounded up the bad guys. They didn't smoke, drink, or swear. Their word was their bond. Their virtue impeccable. They always fought fair and obeyed the law. They treated women with reverence and respect. They were kind to animals. They were warriors for truth, justice, and the American way.

And then came Bevis and Butthead, The Simpsons, Gangster Rap, and MTV. Who are our children's heroes today?

Cowboys have always been the American ideal of righteous manhood, from Buffalo Bill Cody to rodeo champion, Larry Mahan. What better example could there be for a little boy than John Wayne in a big white hat, carrying a pretty girl across a muddy river so she didn't get her shoes and long dress wet? Little girls too, learned from the cowboy movies what a real man was supposed to be, and how proper ladies behaved.

In the movie, High Noon, Gary Cooper was ready to die to do the right thing and save the town. And after saving the day in another movie, Shane did the right thing by riding off into the sunset when he started having feelings for his boss's wife.

And now Hollywood is making that noble cowboy into a pitifully weak, self-serving, pup-tent peccadilloed, slave of passion who gives up a wife, children, and all legal, social, and moral obligations, for a gay lover.

Gag me with a spoon.

I asked Uncle Spud what he thought about it all, and he said, "Don't worry about it. The best thing we can do is to let them have their way. If the Hollywood people are allowed to have all the gay affairs they want, and all the abortions too, there won't be any left in a generation or two and we can start over."

"A toast to gay cowboys," I smiled, as I poured the church approved lemonade.

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