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Headscratchers / Brokeback Mountain

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  • Why didn't Jack move to San Francisco or New York City? It was the '60s, on the dawn of the Gay Rights movement, he should have figured out that not everywhere was homophobic, especially not as homophobic as rural Wyoming or Texas.
    • Maybe because he had a stable home life (as stable as it could be, all things considered), affluence, and a family. He also seemed a country boy through-and-through, so moving to a place like San Francisco or New York might rankle with him.
    • It would have been much more difficult to see Ennis because of the distance, even if they only met up infrequently.
    • Because they don't identify themselves as gay, and would have seen the urban gay community as completely alien.
      • This. Just because you are bisexual or gay, doesn't mean you are going to automatically fit in a stereotypical gay community. It is possible to have your gender role and sexuality be the same, the opposite, or some wild combination. They aren't mutually inclusive.
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    • Their professions did not really fit into urban life, and they themselves had probably no idea of how to survive and make a living in the big city. Also, in that time period, gay culture was not widely discussed in any event and by no means were the cities havens from anti-gay violence (still aren't in fact). This was why gay ghettos existed and gays tended to cluster together. The idea that they could have a "safe" life in a city might not have been something either of them would have really believed.
      • Jack was already tagged with the reputation of being a "queer". In the bar scene after Jack got bucked at the rodeo, he tries to buy a beer for the guy who helped him when he got bucked off a bull. He clearly had built a system to meet and find other gay men where he was (Note, he was seeing another man and it's a good assumption, given his relatively affluent life and his wealthy father-in-law, he could find gay men in big cities nearby.)
      • Assuming what you said is true, that only applies to the locality where Jack lived. If they went to New York, he'd have to learn an entirely new subtle social rules to interact with gays without getting into trouble. Of course that is assuming he and Ennis even knew that NYC and San Fran had an underground gay culture. Which as other tropers have stated was not really visible a the time and tended to fit Camp Gay stereotypes which Jack and Ennis would not have felt comfortable with being raised as cowboys.
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    • To add to what other Tropers already said, San Francisco and NYC may have been pioneering the sexual liberation movement but that did not mean it was mainstream enough to be openly talked about. My grandma grew in NYC during the time the "pill" was created and why she was going around doing slutty stuff, she had to keep it secret to avoid angering her parents. In fact when her dad- a liberal- found her with a guy in bed, he smacked her around. And mind you this is a case of 100% straight people having regular sex and my Grandma only fucked 2 men prior to being caught. Just because counter cultures began there does not mean everyone was open minded as stereotypes of the places would have you believe from works of fiction and Pop culture stereotypes. I mean we still had racism against blacks even in places where the Civil Rights movements had its strongest power such as Washington DC in the 70s despite movies and shows like I love the 70s portray the decade as the first time black people can mend into mainstream culture without segregation and discrimination. Same applies here in regards to the gay mass movements that was occurring a New York and California during Brokeback Mountain's setting. Yes the movements were pioneered in those places and yes there were plenty of open minded liberals. But there was still plenty of bigotry and homophobia was the mainstream norm (despite those places having a lot of accepting liberals).
  • Did Jack really have an affair with Randall (the man he meets at the Texas Charity Ball)?
    • It's implied that Jack did through their interactions and what he tells Ennis. Jack tells Ennis that he's having an affair with the wife, but that's likely just to prevent Ennis being jealous of his relationship with another man.

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