Editor's note: David Kupelian is managing editor of
WorldNetDaily.com and Whistleblower magazine, and the author of the best-selling
book, "The Marketing of Evil: How Radicals, Elitists, and Pseudo-Experts Sell Us
Corruption Disguised as Freedom." This article first ran on WorldNetDaily.com.
It is reprinted by permission. Copyright 2005 WorldNetDaily.com
"Brokeback Mountain," the controversial "gay cowboy" film that has garnered
seven Golden Globe nominations and breathless media reviews and has now
emerged as a front-runner for the Oscars is a brilliant propaganda film,
reportedly causing viewers to change the way they feel about homosexual
relationships and same-sex marriage.
And how do the movie-makers pull off such a dazzling feat? Simple. They do it by
raping the "Marlboro Man," that revered American symbol of rugged individualism
We all know the Marlboro Man. In "The Marketing of Evil," I show how the Philip
Morris Company made marketing history by taking one of the most positive
American images of all time the cowboy and attaching it to a negative,
death-oriented product cigarettes.
Hit the pause button for a moment so this idea can completely sink in: Cigarette
marketers cleverly attached, in the public's mind, two utterly unrelated things:
1) the American cowboy, with all of the powerful feelings that image evokes in
us, of independence, self-confidence, wide-open spaces and authentic
Americanism, and 2) cigarettes, a stinky, health-destroying waste of money. This
legendary advertising campaign targeting men succeeded in transforming market
underdog Marlboro (up until then, sold as a women's cigarette with the slogan
"Mild as May") into the world's best-selling cigarette.
It was all part of the modern marketing revolution, which meant that, instead of
touting a product's actual benefits, marketers instead would psychologically
manipulate the public by associating their product with the fulfillment of
people's deepest, unconscious needs and desires. (Want to sell liquor? Put a
seductive woman in the ad.) Obviously, the marketers could never actually
deliver on that promise but emotional manipulation sure is an effective way to
sell a lot of products.
The "Marlboro Man" campaign launched 50 years ago. Today, the powerful cowboy
image is being used to sell us on another self-destructive product: homosexual
sex and "gay" marriage.
'People's minds have been changed'
In "Brokeback Mountain," a film adaptation of the 1997 New Yorker short story by
Annie Proulx, two 19-year-old ranchers named Ennis Del Mar (Heath Ledger) and
Jack Twist (Jake Gyllenhaal) have been hired to guard sheep on a rugged mountain
in 1963 Wyoming. One night, the bitter cold drives Ennis into Jack's tent so
they can keep each other warm. As they lie there, suddenly and almost without
warning, these two young men both of whom later insist they're not "queer"
jump out of the sack and awkwardly and violently engage in anal sex.
Too embarrassed the next morning even to talk about it, Ennis and Jack dismiss
their sexual encounter as a "one-shot deal" and part company at the end of the
sheepherding job. Ennis marries his fiancιe Alma (Michelle Williams, Ledger's
real-life girlfriend) while Jack marries female rodeo rider and prom queen
Lureen (Anne Hathaway). Each family has children.
Four years later, Jack sends Ennis a postcard saying he's coming to town for a
visit. When the moment finally arrives, Ennis, barely able to contain his
anticipation, rushes outside to meet Jack and the two men passionately embrace
and kiss. Ennis's wife sadly witnesses everything through the screen door.
(Since this is one of the film's sadder moments, I wasn't quite sure why the
audience in the Portland, Oregon, theater burst out in laughter at Alma's
From that point on, over the next two decades Ennis and Jack take off together
on periodic "fishing trips" at Brokeback Mountain, where no fishing actually
takes place. During these adulterous homosexual affairs, Jack suggests they buy
a ranch where the two can live happily ever after, presumably abandoning their
wives and children. Ennis, however, is afraid, haunted by a traumatic childhood
memory: It seems his father had tried to inoculate him against homosexuality by
taking him to see the brutalized, castrated, dead body of a rancher who had
lived together with another man until murderous, bigoted neighbors committed
the gruesome hate crime.
Eventually, life with Ennis becomes intolerable and Alma divorces him, while
Lureen, absorbed with the family business, only suspects Jack's secret as they
drift further and further apart. When, toward the end of the story, Jack dies in
a freak accident (his wife tells Ennis a tire blew up while Jack was changing
it, propelling the hubcap into his face and killing him), Ennis wonders whether
Jack actually met the same brutal fate as the castrated "gay" cowboy of his
Ultimately, Ennis ends up alone, with nothing, living in a small, secluded
trailer, having lost both his family and his homosexual partner. He's comforted
only by his most precious possession Jack's shirt which he pitifully
embraces, almost in a slow dance, his aching loneliness masterfully projected
into the audience via the film's artistry.
Yes, the talents of Hollywood's finest are brought together in a successful
attempt at making us experience Ennis's suffering, supposedly inflicted by a
homophobic society. Heath Ledger's performance is brilliant and devastating. We
do indeed leave the theater feeling Ennis's pain. Mission accomplished.
Lost in all of this, however, are towering, life-and-death realities concerning
sex and morality and the sanctity of marriage and the preciousness of children
and the direction of our civilization itself. So please, you moviemakers, how
about easing off that tight camera shot of Ennis's suffering and doing a slow
pan over the massive wreckage all around him? What about the years of silent
anguish and loneliness Alma stoically endures for the sake of keeping her family
together, or the terrible betrayal, suffering and tears of the children, bereft
of a father? None of this merits more than a brief acknowledgment in "Brokeback
What is important to the moviemakers, rather, is that the viewer be made to
feel, and feel, and feel again as deeply as possible the exquisitely painful
loneliness and heartache of the homosexual cowboys denied their truest
happiness because of an ignorant and homophobic society.
Thus are the Judeo-Christian moral values that formed the very foundation and
substance of Western culture for the past three millennia all swept away on a
delicious tide of manufactured emotion. And believe me, skilled directors and
actors can manufacture emotion by the truckload. It's what they do for a living.
Co-star Jake Gyllenhaal realized the movie's power to transform audiences in
Toronto, where, according to Entertainment magazine, "he was approached by
festival-goers proclaiming that their preconceptions had been shattered by the
film's insistence on humanizing gay love."
"Brokeback Mountain," said Gyllenhaal, "is that pure place you take someone
that's free of judgment. These guys were scared. What they feared was not each
other but what was outside of each other. What was so sad was that it didn't
have to happen like that." But then, said the article, Gyllenhaal jumped to his
feel and exclaimed triumphantly: "I mean, people's minds have been changed.
Changed indeed. And that's the goal. Film is, by its very nature, highly
propagandistic. That is, when you read a book, if you detect you're being lied
to or manipulated, you can always stop reading, close the book momentarily and
say, "Wait just a minute, there's something wrong here!" You can't do that in a
film: You're bombarded with sound and images, all expertly crafted to give you
selected information and to stimulate certain feelings, and you can't stop the
barrage, not in a theater anyway. The visuals and sound and music and along
with them, the underlying agenda of the filmmakers pursue you relentlessly,
overwhelming your emotions and senses.
And when you leave the theater, unless you're really objective to what you've
experienced, you've been changed even if just a little bit.
Want to know how easily your feelings can be manipulated? Let's take the
smallest, most seemingly insignificant example and see. Sit down at a piano and
play a song, any song even "Mary Had a Little Lamb" as long as it's in a
major key. Then, play the same song, but change from a major to a minor key;
just lower the third step of the scale by a half-step so the melody and harmony
become minor. If you watch carefully, you'll note this one tiny change makes the
minor-key version sound a bit melancholy and sad, while the normal, major-key
version sounds bright and happy. (As the expression goes, "Major glad, minor
Now take this principle and apply it to a feature film by expanding it a
million-fold. A movie's musical score has one overriding function to make the
viewer feel a certain way at strategic points during the story. And music
is just one of dozens of factors and techniques used to influence audiences in
the deepest way possible. Everything from the script to the directing to the
camera work to the acting, which in "Brokeback Mountain" is brilliant, serve the
purpose of making the movie-makers' vision seem like reality even if it's
twisted and perverse.
Do we understand that Hollywood could easily produce a similar movie to "Brokeback
Mountain," only this time glorifying an incest relationship, or even an
adult-child sexual relationship? Like "Brokeback," it too would serve to
desensitize us to the immoral and destructive reality of what we're seeing,
while fervently coaxing us into embracing that which we once rightly shunned.
All the filmmakers would need to do is skillfully make viewers experience the
actors' powerful emotions of loneliness and emptiness juxtaposed with feelings
of joy and fulfillment when the two "lovers" are together to bring us to a new
level of "understanding" for any forbidden "love." Alongside this, of course,
they would necessarily portray those opposed to this unorthodox "love" as Nazis
or thugs. Thus, many of us would let go of our "old-fashioned" biblical ideas of
morality in light of what seems like the more imminent and undeniable reality of
human love in all its diverse forms.
A "Brokeback"-type movie could easily be made, for instance, to portray a female
school teacher's affair with a 14-year-old student as "a magnificent love
story." And I'm not talking about the 2000 made-for-TV potboiler, "All-American
Girl: The Mary Kay Letourneau Story," about the Seattle school teacher who
seduced a sixth-grade student, went to prison for statutory rape, and later
married the boy having had two children by him. I'm talking about a big-budget,
big-name Hollywood masterpiece aimed at transforming America through film, just
as Hitler relied on master filmmaker Leni Riefenstahl to make propaganda films
to manipulate the emotions of an entire nation.
In place of "Brokeback Mountain's" scene with the castrated homosexual, the
"adult-child love story" could have a similar scene in which, as a young girl,
the future teacher's mother took her to see the body of a woman who had fallen
in consensual "love" with a 14-year-old boy, only to be brutalized, her breasts
cut off, and bludgeoned to death all by Nazi-like bigoted neighbors. (So
that's why she couldn't be honest and open about her later relationship with her
Inevitably, such a film would make us doubt our former condemnation of
adult-child sex, or at least reduce our outrage as we gained more
"understanding" and sympathy for the participants. It would cause us to ask the
same question one reviewer asked after seeing "Brokeback Mountain": "In an age
when the fight over gay marriage still rages, 'Brokeback Mountain,' the tale of
two men who are scarcely even allowed to imagine being together, asks, through
the very purity with which it touches us: When it comes to love, what sort of
world do we really want?"
OK, I'll bite. Let's talk about love. The critics call "Brokeback Mountain" a
"pure" and "magnificent" love story. Do we really want to call such an obsession
especially one that destroys marriages and is based on constant lies, deceit
and neglect of one's children "love"?
What if I were a heroin addict and told you I loved my drug dealer? What if I
told you he always makes me feel good, and that I have a hard time living
without him, and that I think about him all the time with warm feelings of
anticipation and inner completion? And that whenever we get together, it's the
only time I feel truly happy and at peace with myself?
Oh, you don't approve of my "love"? You dare to criticize it, telling me my
relationship with my drug dealer is not real love, but just an unhealthy
addiction? What if I respond to you by saying, "Oh shut up, you hater. How dare
you impose your sick, narrow-minded, oppressive values on me? Who are you, you
pinch-faced, moralistic hypocrite, to define for me what real love is?"
Don't laugh. I guarantee Hollywood could make a movie about a man and his drug
dealer, or an adult-child sexual relationship, that would pull on our emotions
and create some level of sympathy for the characters. Furthermore, in at least
some cases, it would make us doubt our conscience a gift directly from God,
the perception of right and wrong that he puts in each one of us our inner
knowing that this was a totally unhealthy and self-destructive relationship.
Ultimately, propaganda works because it washes over us, overwhelming our senses,
confusing us, upsetting or emotionalizing us, and thereby making us doubt what
we once knew. Listen to what actor Jake Gyllenhaal, who plays Jack, told the
reporter for Entertainment magazine about doing the "love" scenes with Heath
"I was super uncomfortable [but] what made me most courageous was that I
realized I had to try to let go of that stereotype I had in my mind, that bit of
homophobia, and try for a second to be vulnerable and sensitive. It was f---in'
hard, man. I succeeded only for milliseconds."
Gyllenhaal thinks he was "super uncomfortable" while being filmed having
simulated homosexual sex because of his own "homophobia." Could it be, rather,
that his conflict resulted from putting himself in a position, having agreed to
do the film, where he was required to violate his own conscience? As so often
happens, he was tricked into pushing past invisible internal barriers crossing
a line he wasn't meant to cross. It's called seduction.
This is how the "marketers of evil" work on all of us. They transform our
attitudes by making us feel as though our "super uncomfortable" feelings toward
embracing unnatural or corrupt behavior of whatever sort a discomfort
literally put into us by a loving God, for our protection somehow represent
ignorance or bigotry or weakness.
I wrote "The Marketing of Evil" to expose these people, and especially to reveal
the hidden techniques they've been using for decades to confuse us, to
manipulate our feelings and get us to doubt and turn our backs on the truth we
once knew and loved. Indeed, whether they're outright lying to us, or ridiculing
us for our traditional beliefs, or trying to make us feel guilty over some
supposed bigotry on our part, the "marketers of evil" can prevail simply by
intimidating or emotionally stirring us up in one way or another. Once that
happens, we can easily become confused and lose the inborn understanding God
gave us. We all need that inner understanding or common sense, because it's our
primary protection from all the evil influences in this world.
As I said at the outset, Hollywood has now raped the Marlboro Man. It has taken
a revered symbol of America the cowboy with all the powerful emotions and
associations that are rooted deep down in the pioneering American soul, and
grafted onto it a self-destructive lifestyle it wants to force down Americans'
throats. The result is a brazen propaganda vehicle designed to replace the
reservations most Americans still have toward homosexuality with powerful
feelings of sympathy, guilt over past "homophobia" and ultimately the complete
and utter acceptance of homosexuality as equivalent in every way to
If and when that day comes, America will have totally abandoned its core
biblical principles as well as the Author of those principles. The radical
secularists will have gotten their wish, and this nation like the traditional
cowboy characters corrupted in "Brokeback Mountain" will have stumbled down a
sad, self-destructive and ultimately disastrous road.