Peckerwood award

Film shouldn't show here - Letter to the Editor of the Merced Sun-Star, Published 01/26/06

...There are too many people here like myself who want to preserve the sacred symbol of the cowboy and everything he has meant for the past 200 years in America. The cowboy is chivalrous and masculine. John Wayne and Roy Rogers wouldn't have left their wives for a love affair with the Lone Ranger. This movie ("Brokeback Mountain") is a twisted distortion of a classic and traditional film genre made with a political agenda at its core. I feel safe in saying that the minority who want to see movies such as this showcased in Merced will have to wait for a long time. There are too many in Merced who want to take back the cowboy from Hollywood and are applauding the fact that the movie theaters have chosen not to show it.

In closing, I will leave you with the words my good friend heard spoken recently by an old leathery skinned cowboy in west Texas: "In all my years, I ain't never seen or heard of a gay cowboy!"



When rightwing kooks start calling cowboys sacred symbols the culture is showing signs of mid-flight from the edge of the cliff. People who idolize cowboys this much should be watched very carefully in bars on Rodeo Day for signs that perhaps they too, like those cruising cowgirls, "go nuts for Wrangler butts."

The flap over the movie reminded me of the founder of the American conservative movement, Barry Goldwater. Goldwater, who had some homosexual relatives, campaigned for gay rights in the same way he championed the cause of many other oppressed minority groups through his long, honorable political career.

"You don't need to be straight to fight and die for your country. You just need to shoot straight," he wrote in a 1993 letter to an editor.

"Brokeback Mountain" is based on a short story by Annie Proulx, so right off you know the writing behind the film is good and set in a beautiful place. "The Shipping News" (2001), based on her second novel, was a great movie and set on on the shores of Nova Scotia. And Larry McMurtry was involved with the script. Has any contemporary writer written better about cowboys and been a better mentor of Western writers than anyone since Wallace Stegner, his mentor? Leslie Marmon Silko credited McMurtry with helping her through the ordeal of writing Almanac of the Dead, the darkest anti-mythological novel ever written about the West.

"Brokeback Mountain" is directed by Ang Lee. He directed the spectacular "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" (2000) and came back three years later with "Hulk."

The 80 members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association that give out the Golden Globes gave "Brokeback Mountain" four awards, setting it up as the leading contender for Oscars.

This is probably a good movie.

Mr. Anderson's values are as phony as a carpetbag full of three-dollar bills and as lowdown mean as the ayatollahs who put the fatwah out on Salman Rushdie for Satanic Verses. Like bigots the world over, he's so in love with himself he just can't get enough of his own intolerant image in his own mirror, so he projects his antidiluvian political agenda on the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. Perhaps he has anxieties about his precious bodily fluids or something.

Lest this criticism of Anderson seem too severe: "Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice. And moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue" -- Barry Goldwater.

"Brokeback Mountain" is the top box office attraction in the UK this week. Last week it was number two in France, tops in Paris.

Locations and showtimes for "Brokeback Mountain" in the north San Joaquin Valley and Foothills.

Clovis - UA Sierra Vista
(12:15 PM) (3:15) 7:00 10:00 PM

Fresno - Edwards Fresno Stadium
Large Screen Format (10:20 AM) (1:20) (4:20) 7:20 10:20 PM

Fresno - Manchester Stadium 16
(12:05 PM) (3:15) 6:40 10:00 PM

Lodi - Lodi Stadium 12 Cinemas
Stadium Seating (11:55 AM) (2:40) 7:05 9:50 PM

Modesto - Signature Stadium 10 - Modesto
(12:40 PM) (3:50) 7:05 10:15 PM

Modesto - Brenden Modesto 18
(3:40 PM) 6:50 10:00 PM

Riverbank - Galaxy Theatre - Riverbank
12:05 PM 3:30 7:05 10:15 PM

Sonora - Signature Stadium 10
(12:20 PM) (3:25) 6:30 PM

Merced - WTC-Mainplace Stadium Cinemas
(2:15 PM) (5:15) 8:15 PM

Stockton - Signature Theatres City Centre Cinemas
(12:45 PM) (3:55) 7:35 10:30 PM

Tracy - Cinemark Tracy Movies 14
(1:00 PM) (4:00) 7:00 10:00 PM

Turlock - Signature Theatres Turlock Stadium 14
(3:25 PM) 6:30 PM

Cattle and Beef Production in the United States and California

The beef industry is the largest segment of American agriculture and in 2003, U.S. cash receipts from livestock and livestock product marketing was approximately $98.3 billion.There are approximately 1.4 million jobs attributed to the U.S. cattle industry. In California,cash receipts for cattle and calves was $1.56 billion.

There are approximately 800,000 beef cattle producers in the United States, conducting business in all 50 states and contributing economically to nearly every county in the nation. In California, there are approximately 14,000 beef cattle operations and 2,500 dairy farms. On January 1, 2005 there were 95.8 million cattle in the United States and in California 5.4 million head. There are 720,000 beef cows and 1.74 dairy cows in California.


Dr. Strangelove (1964)