The Brokeback Redemption

Was this a good idea? A correctional officer showed the film Brokeback Mountain to Massachusetts inmates and is in some trouble.

A Massachusetts correctional officer is being disciplined for showing the gay cowboy movie “Brokeback Mountain” to inmates at the state’s largest prison because his boss determined that the film includes content inappropriate for a prison setting.

Massachusetts Department of Correction spokeswoman Diane Wiffin said Saturday that the action was not related to the critically acclaimed film’s plot involving a gay love affair.

“It was not the subject matter. It was the graphic nature of sexually explicit scenes,” Wiffin said.

Yes, we don’t want inmates at a state prison subject to watching gay sex now, do we? That could contaminate their delicate sensibilities.

Okay, I have an admission to make. On Friday night I watched Brokeback Mountain, and no, not from the confines of a Massachusetts prison. Bringing to the surface a heretofore unknown affinity for gay porn, my wife rented it, so I decided it would be a good idea to watch the movie that I’d made a couple of jokes about in the past. Okay, a few dozen.

It wasn’t very “graphic” or “sexually explicit”, at least not in comparison to movies featuring heterosexual romps that I’ve watched… and re-watched in slow-mo and freeze-frame.

The Brokeback story was, frankly, slow, and if it weren’t for the novelty of the gay cowboy subject matter, it would have qualified as an okay television “movie of the week” at best.

It was strange seeing cowboys so portrayed, however. The cowboy is one of the last bastions of “real” manhood as perceived by young minds, along with astronauts, soldiers and fireman. It blew a traditional image, if you’ll pardon the expression, but I guess that’s what Hollywood views as it’s job.

Watching cowboys all of a sudden start having sex would have been traumatic had I not been aware of what was going to happen– like watching “Apollo 13” and halfway to the moon the astronauts suddenly start hammering each other.

Did anybody else see Brokeback? Did I miss a signal? Two cowboys are herding sheep, then one night it gets cold and they decide those spurs can be used on more than just horses? There was no lead-up. No wink, nod, mutual affinity for throw-pillows or appreciation of Judy Garland– nothing.

Did the Mass. correctional officer deserve to be disciplined for screening Brokeback? I don’t know. In a way, showing Brokeback Mountain to state prisoners is like an airline running “Airport ’77” as the in-flight movie, so maybe he deserved some punishment.

Maybe it’s all he had available to show, as the officer hadn’t yet received “Escape from Alcatraz” from Netflix


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Author: Doug Powers

Doug Powers is a writer, editor and commentator covering news of the day from a conservative viewpoint with an occasional shot of irreverence and a chaser of snark. Townhall Media writer/editor. alum. Bowling novice. Long-suffering Detroit Lions fan. Contact: