Friday, 2 January 2009
The sordid adventures of Texas cowboy Joe Buck in New York City deflate the popular Anglo myth of the Sixties as an era of sexual liberation. In doing so, the film achieves a counter-mythic status. Midnight Cowboy intimates that any kind of sexual revolution in the Sixties was exclusively an affair of the urban liberal elite, not a mass movement. Because the attitudes of that class are absurdly inflated in the media, young Anglo-American men develop a ridiculously distorted picture of female sexual profligacy: that all women will ‘put out’ for nothing. Midnight Cowboy dissects this myth via the experiences of Joe Buck, gradually stripping away these illusions until only the sterile, selfish reality of the Anglobitch remains. This process might be expressed in the following soliloquy: ‘When I was fourteen, I used to think there was a whole world of women waiting out there. When I was eighteen I was wondering where the orgies were. Now I’m twenty-five I just don’t want to die a virgin.’
Joe Buck arrives in New York from rural Texas fired by stories that the newly liberated women of the metropolis will pay him for his sexual services. He thinks an aged prostitute with a pink poodle is a likely candidate for his affections. However, he is upbraided as a ‘Texas Longhorn’ and instead made to pay this ‘helluva gorgeous chick’ for his pains (Schlesinger, 1969).
In another luckless encounter, a conventional middle-aged woman tells Buck he should ‘be ashamed’ of himself for soliciting her. Only when he permeates the urban liberal class and its idiomatic subculture does he actually manage to fulfil any of his ‘career ambitions’.
It is hard to describe fully what Midnight Cowboy means to us. It serves as a cinematic parable for how Anglo-American men have been betrayed by the liberal subculture. Their hopes of a libertine lifestyle are excited, like those of Joe Buck, by a bombardment of liberal propaganda extolling the ‘liberated’ qualities of the ‘New Woman’.
However, when men seek out these paragons they find instead the same old grasping Anglobitches. They might not be armed with pink poodles, but the old pedestals are still there – and higher than ever. On this sterile reality, their hopes are dashed. Nowhere at the level of mass experience can one find the liberated women feted in the pages of Cosmo: such women only exist in the liberal enclave, as poor Joe Buck found to his cost. Indeed, it is questionable that they exist even there, in that their ‘liberation’ rarely extends beyond the realm of idle rhetoric. ‘Midnight Cowboy’ ultimately questions whether the counterculture really happened at all. When Joe, who embodies querulous Anglo-Saxon manhood, goes seeking this wonder-world of mainstream American women who ‘put out’ for nothing, he finds precisely that – nothing.
This naturally brings us to a burning question that many have asked about the Anglobitch thesis. Are we simple conservatives who reflexively frown on libertine pleasure in the name of some outmoded value system? No, not at all: rather, we question whether the so-called sexual revolution really occurred in Anglo-Americana. Our objection is not moral, but ontological. We do not object to liberalism, we rather question the veracity of liberal claims about post-‘liberation’ Anglo females. Anglobitches still seem to barter sexual favours for personal advantage: nothing has really changed.
Joe Buck is a representative archetype. He started life with the notion that Anglo women are living cornucopias of love, sex and understanding. In Billy Joel’s chipper words:
Tell her about it,
Tell her everything you feel;
Tell her all your crazy dreams
Let her know that you’re for real!
(‘Tell Her About It’)
But Anglo-American males learn very quickly that the Anglobitch is not at all interested in ‘crazy dreams’. Most are interested only in stooges who will furnish them with material wealth. The uneducated and unintelligent are interested only in moronic sadists.
Poor Joe is eventually reduced to selling himself to homosexual men for paltry fees. The media-fed notion that Anglo women are liberated has backfired on him absolutely.
Thus Midnight Cowboy is a perfect explanatory narrative for Anglo-American men. The searing expectation, the crushing disappointment and ultimate humiliation of Joe Buck are universal Stations of the Cross for Anglo manhood.