Gene Shalit Responds to GLAAD

For the most part, the critics agree that Brokeback Mountain is one of the year's most commendable films. Then there's Gene Shalit's point of view.

The veteran Today show critic has been taken to task by the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation over his negative review of the gay cowboy western, in which he referred to Jake Gyllenhaal's character, Jack, as a "sexual predator" who "tracks Ennis down and coaxes him into sporadic trysts." -Reuters


I'm Gene Shalit of NBC' Today show, soon to be formerly of NBC' Today show.

I was looking for an open forum to air my opinions but since NBC has cajones the size of olive pits, I brought my frank film talk over here to CRACKED, where there' no censor breathing down my hairy back and where they don't worry about "offending the American public", "alienating national advertisers" or "not exercising basic common sense before speaking."

First off, I'd just like to say for the record that when I referred to Jake Gyllenhaal' character in Brokeback Mountain as a "sexual predator," this was based solely on the trailer. I've now watched the film (well, most of it), and sure enough, there' a love story subtext that I completely missed in the preview.

And in fairness to me, I didn't even get that they were gay the first time I tried to sit through the film either.

"Wasn't there a red-hot gay sex scene in a tent within the first ten minutes of the film, Gene?" you might ask. Answer: I stepped out for some popcorn, an Almond Joy and a pit stop (number 2, not number 1). When I returned, I definitely noticed the two male leads were sitting a bit closer, and with less clothes on. But I merely assumed their clothes had been devoured by parasites and that they were smothering one another for warmth after the fire had gone out.

Then, my cell phone rang and I had to take the call. I missed about ten minutes of dialog, but was watching the action on screen. Subsequent deep-kissing scenes I mistook for Gyllenhaal attempting, unsuccessfully, to fish a lozenge out of Heath Ledger' mouth. After that, I stepped out for more popcorn, a large Diet Coke and two more trips to the bathroom (I have a genetically small bladder). When I came back, I saw the two leads cavorting shirtless onscreen. I just assumed they had managed to retrieve the lozenge and were celebrating. My bad.

But the second time I tried to watch the movie, someone had by then tipped me off that these two were a little light in the chaps, if you know what I mean. So I get it now.

Now, look. I have nothing against the gays, but Gene Shalit is all man. This moustache is real, America. Tug on it. See for yourselves. You think Gyllenhaal can grow one like this? I have more hair on my face than he has on his entire groin. And you can take that to the bank.

Let me clarify that when I called Gyllenhaal' character a "sexual predator," I actually meant it as a compliment. I know several sexual predators and they're great guys. They're the kind of guys who are the life of a party. They grow handlebar moustaches, have afros, wear bowties and make unwelcome sexual advances toward NBC interns.

So to you, the people at GLAAD: I'm insulted that you misconstrued what I wrote and concluded that I was against people preying sexually on others. Perhaps before we point fingers, we could stand to take a good look at ourselves?

Finally, how dare you, America? I was reviewing movies when Roger Ebert was a little butterball munching on doughnuts back in elementary school. Who cares if I don't like gay guys? (For the record, I don't not like them. I'm just saying. What? No, seriously. I love fags. I mean, I don't love them love them. I could probably have a beer with them, I guess.)

But say I didn't like guys having sex with each other. Big deal. I'm not intolerant and outdated. Ménage-a-trois? I've had ménage-a-vingt-cinq. That' me with 25 women for all of you who don't speak French. That' right. Shalit' been with 25 ladies all at once.

Who' progressive now? I was doing lines of ground-up anti-inflamatories off the asses of ladies at the 61st Street Senior Center when you were in diapers. Because that' how Shalit rolls.

There' just something unnaturally wrong with male-on-male action. You want Ledger and Gyllenhaal getting hot and heavy? Or do you want to see Jessica Alba in a bikini for two hours? Yeah? How about Jessica Alba getting jiggy with Beyonce. Oh yeah. A little mocha for America. That' right. You know what I'm talking about! Mmmm hmmm.

So my response to GLAAD is this: How can you think that I hate gays when I love lesbians?

That' exactly the question I asked NBC earlier today as they made me clear out my desk.

Anyway, c'est la vie. Shalit moves on. I'll be reviewing movies at the YMCA up on 125th Street every Thursday. I'll also be selling a variety of NBC stationery and office supplies, if anyone' interested. They make great gifts.

See you then!

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