Brokeback Mountain New Yorker cover
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A great New Yorker cover?

new yorker brokeback mountain cover.jpg (258655 bytes)

I think so.  This drawing by Mark Ulrikson on the cover of the 27 February 2006 edition shows Dick Cheney blowing a puff of smoke from his gun while George Bush looks on.  

It refers of course to Cheney accidentally shooting his companion, Harry Whittington, in the face while quail hunting in Texas.  The shooting had happened on Feb 11 but the New Yorker editors correctly judged that the story still had legs. 

The cartoon mimics the poster for the Hollywood movie Brokeback Mountain, which that week was still in the running for the Oscar for best film.  It lost to “Capote”.   

brokeback_mountain.jpg (76948 bytes)

Portraying Bush and Cheney as cowboys would not normally merit comment, they both like to be seen thus.  But these cowboys were gay; the film is about a doomed love affair between them.  It's a movie that neither Bush nor many other Republicans would have gone to see.

But Cheney might have.  The most hawkish member of Bush’s cabinet on Iraq, taxes, and pretty much everything else, is a liberal on men who have sex with men; his daughter, Liz is lesbian.   Imagine the debate when the constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage came up in cabinet.  

Perhaps that is why Bush is portrayed as the Jake Gillenhall character, confident in his sexuality, albeit eventually dying for it in the film.  Cheney is the Heath Ledger character, a cowboy conflicted by his sexuality.  

But perhaps I'm seeing too much here.  The main point was to remind us about Republican enthusiasm for the right to carry guns, despite Americans propensity to shoot each other, accidentally or on purpose, when they do.  It should be impossible to injure your companion with a shotgun if you follow a few simple rules when out hunting.  Cheney must have been careless and the cartoon depicts him so.  



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Last modified: September 26, 2006