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Gene Shalit on Brokeback's 'predatory' character

What a maroon. The Advocate has a story up on Gene Shalit’s review of Brokeback Mountain, and it’s safe to say he was probably squirming in his seat most of the way through it.

In a bizarre piece of commentary for the “Critic’s Corner,” Shait deemed Jake Gyllenhaal’s character, Jack, a “sexual predator” who “tracks Ennis down and coaxes him into sporadic trysts.”

The “characterization of Jack as a “predator” and Ennis (Heath Ledger) as a victim reflects a fundamental lack of understanding about the central relationship in the film and about gay relationships in general,” GLAAD said in a statement. “It seems highly doubtful that Shalit would similarly claim that Titanic’s Jack (Leonardo DiCaprio) was a “sexual predator” because he was pursuing a romantic relationship with Rose (Kate Winslet).”

Shalit did praise Ledger’s performance and said the movie does have a few dramatic peaks, but he added that the film was “wildly overpraised, but not by me.”

The GLAAD statement added that “Shalit has every right as a film critic to criticize ‘Brokeback Mountain.’ But his baseless branding of Jack as a “sexual predator” merely because he is romantically interested in someone of the same sex is defamatory, ignorant and irresponsible. And it is equally irresponsible for NBC News to have given Shalit a platform for his gratuitously offensive comments.”

GLAAD should take a deep breath and calm down. Shalit’s entitled to his homophobic opinion, just like the unhinged “former homo” Stephen Bennett or Focus on the Family Action “Analyst” Caleb H. Price. I say let it all hang out — he clearly has a bias and discomfort about homosexuality, and now everyone knows it.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding