“If you can’t fix it, you gotta stand it”: "Brokeback Mountain" and the western genre
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There are many common associations that come with the western genre: cowboy hats, boots, spurs, horses, and a rugged hero, just to name a few. Classic westerns, like John Ford’s _Stagecoach_, have programmed us to have certain expectations for the genre. While associations and expectations may vary from viewer to viewer, one is surely not to expect a tale of two cowboys falling in love with one another. Ang Lee’s _Brokeback Mountain_ takes full advantage of our preexisting expectations of the western as it uses them against us in his queering of the genre. The film contradicts its genre, and even self-consciously contradicts itself, through its portrayal of the mythology of the western frontier and its depiction of the cowboy as an icon.