"... and I'm with Kaus," a reader writes. He continues:
"I don't deny Kaus' pathetic weird strains of no-I'm-really-really-straight homophobia ("Look, I like completely straight movies like 'Wuthering Heights.'"), or his absurdist reaches to disprove 'Brokeback's popularity ("Look, there's a tiny small town in New Mexico that doesn't like Brokeback Mountain. I am vindicated."). Still, I think when it comes to judging the widespread nature of homophobia, he's probably more on the mark than you.
I am 25 years old, a very straight acting gay man, and as such I've been privy to a lot of nasty comments about homosexuality that some of my more effeminate brothers may not be. It's amazing how many incredibly straight people will fixate on how disgusting sucking cock or fucking a man up the ass is. Of course, it's always satisfying when they joke with me, accusing me of maybe not being completely straight. When I say they're dead on, and they're left feeling woefully embarassed.
How often have I experienced this? I don't know. Maybe every time I've ever met a straight person for the first time in the past 10 years. Homophobia is part of our language. It's part of our humor. There are plenty of mature responses that I've heard to Brokeback Mountain, coupled with the old late night jokes, from SNL to David Letterman. "I wish I could quit you," has become one hell of a punchline in a way "We'll always have Paris" simply could not.
This odd melding of casual homophobia with an excused tolerance probably best represents the turning point we are currently experiencing. If anything, I think most people in America are watching this movie with both their better and worse angels (represented, maybe, by you and Kaus) on their shoulders."