My secret gay agenda, let me show you it

On 19 June, 2008, in Random Thoughts, by C. Scott Davis

There was a recent post on a Doctor Who site about the idea that Russell T. Davies is pursuing some kind of “secret gay agenda”, simply because he doesn’t make every character automatically straight by default1. The subject seems to show up every time we see a non-straight character (this time because a character in last week’s episode casually referred to her ex as “she”), and the discussions tend to run the full range from interesting and well-thought-out (on both sides of the issue) to mindlessly homophobic.

I have my own serious thoughts on the subject… but instead I give you this, from when the issue came up last series:

Gay Agenda


1 Hey, I never claimed to be unbiased on the subject.

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The Secret Cowboy Agenda

On 6 February, 2006, in Rants, by C. Scott Davis

Brokeback Mountain

Even if you haven’t seen it, you’d have to have been living in a cave not to have heard about it, or all of the controversy surrounding it.

The biggest concern that many people have over this film is that it sends a clear message to our nation’s impressionable youth: It is okay to be a cowboy.

For a lot of people, this is very troubling, and I have to admit that I am one of them.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I am not cowboyphobic. I think that whatever people do in the privacy of their own rodeo circuit is their business. I just don’t think we need to legitimise the cowboy lifestyle, or as this film has done, glamorise it.

I worry that films such as Brokeback Mountain are going to cause young people, especially gay young people, to be tempted to experiment with cowboyality, and while I’m not saying that there’s anything wrong with being a cowboy, I wouldn’t want my son to be one.

It’s perfectly normal to be curious. I think most of us have probably wondered what it would be like to wear spurs or rope a steer, but that doesn’t mean we’re actually going to do it (okay, maybe that one time in college, but that doesn’t count).

The problem is that Brokeback Mountain is really just the latest attempt to make being a cowboy seem like a perfectly normal way of life. Sure, there has always been a subtle cowboy subtext in popular culture (take, for example, “slash” fiction – where fans write cowboy stories about their favourite fictional characters), but the critical and popular success of this film moves that subtext out of the closet and thrusts it firmly in the face of mainstream society.

I am also troubled by the possibility that our treasured gay icons have been irreparably tarnished by this film. Now when we see a beloved gay character, we can’t help but wonder if they might’ve secretly been a cowboy. Before Brokeback Mountain, such a thought would’ve never occurred to me, but now I’m haunted by the prospect of Carroll “Toddy” Todd in a Stetson and chaps.

I’m not suggesting censorship or trying to promote cowboyphobia here. I just don’t want to have to see so much cowboyness everywhere I look. From Cowboy Pride Parades to Cowboy Marriage, we are being constantly bombarded with cowboy-related issues and images, and frankly I’m sick of it.

I say if they want to be cowboys, fine, but why can’t they just keep quiet about it?

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