Not a fan of the predictable unrealism of the Best Picture Oscar winner “Crash”, I certainly agree with most of what Annie Proulx says about Crash and its admirers. She wrote the story on which Brokeback Mountain is based and I think she’s suggesting that police racism directed against rich hollywood folks is low on the social priority list of all but the out of touch.
But somehow Proulx’s rant rings hollow as well, failing to note the obvious. The success of Brokeback also owes much to that same crowd who are so very out of touch with mainstream sensibilities, let alone global sensibilities.
The world is struggling with an overwhelming number of social challenges now. Neither Crash nor Brokeback addressed any of them, as Hollywood only very rarely does. More than 99.9% of the world’s population would place the challenges faced by the sexually conflicted, let along sexually conflicted american cowboys, somewhat lower on their priority list than Annie does.
So, why can’t hollywood produce more REAL films about REAL people facing REAL global challenges? Sometimes they do it but it’s rare. Beyond Borders very nobly tried to tackle hunger and development issues but could not rise above critics and perhaps Angelina Jolie’s screen persona which overshadowed the story. The Killing Fields and Hotel Rwanda brilliantly brought unspeakable tragedies to the big screen. But these films are the total exceptions in a sea of gratuitous sex, violence, and unrealistic stereotypes.
Why can’t all that cleverness, marketing hype, and technology be used in a concerted effort to address the key global challenges of our time – the lack of basic food, water, shelter, health care, and infrastructure in the developing world?
For every Brokeback cowboy there are millions of hungry kids – when are you going to write their story, Annie Proulx?