I just saw the movie "The 300" the other day. I was struck by the propaganda of it. The message is clear - support your leaders during times of war even if it means violating your laws. Oh, and Sparta is held up as the shining example of Greek culture while Athens is mentioned (once) and referred to as "Philosophers and boy lovers" who are said to be famous for their lack of a spine.
In one scene, the Spartan elders tell King Leonidas that they can't send the entire army because their laws say they can't fight during a particular religious festival (more on this later). When this is pointed out, the elders are subjected to a lecture about how laws shouldn't stand in the way of defending "freedom" complete with the modern cliche "Freedom isn't free."
When Leonidas speaks to his men they answer with a unified, affirmative "ayo" grunt that is reminiscent of the US Army's "hua" which they use for similar situations.
Anyone who did not immediately follow Leonidas was depicted as either weak, incompetent or in league with the Persians.
As for the Persians. Like the Athenians they are depicted as homosexuals and cowards. Xerxes is portrayed as an effeminate giant with lots of jewelry and skimpy underwear. His court is a mass of squirming naked women engaging in lots of homosexual sex while mutant body guards look on. Oh, and this is interesting, in "The 300" Persians look like Africans. All the main Persian characters are played by African American actors.
Now, back to the thing about the Spartan religious festival. That festival did not impact Thermopylae. It was the excuse the Spartans gave to the Athenians for not participating in the fight to stop the previous Persian invasion of Greece. Yes, that's right. It was the Spartans not the Athenians who were reluctant to fight the Persians. The first time the Persians invaded, the Spartans demurred while the "Philosopher boy lovers" of Athens defeated the Persian army at Marathon.
Then there is the storm that the movie has destroy half the Persian fleet. In reality, there was a storm that destroyed part of the Persian fleet. But it happened after Thermopylae when the Persians were sailing down the coast to attack Athens. When they got to Athens the Athenians defeated the Persians in a decisive naval battle at Salamis. Throughout the movie the Athenian contribution to both Greek culture and Greek military success is either ignored or held up for derision (assuming a widely homophobic and anti-intellectual attitude among the films target audience).
The movie is fun from the point of view of pure hack and slash action. But the insidious message embedded in the distorted story line is deeply disturbing.
If any of you have seen it, I'd be interested in hearing what you thought.
Monday, April 02, 2007
Posted by Raised By Republicans at 5:12 AM