Wednesday, March 14, 2007
SPARTANS ARE SO NOT P.C. THESE DAYS
ere is the "Quote of the Day" from Hot Air a couple of days ago:
“If you mention democracy or freedom, you’re an imperialist or a fascist. That’s crazy to me.”It sounds pretty crazy to me too, but apparently it's in the mainstream these days, over in Eurotopia. Free men defending their civilisation is very uncool for many Europeans, it seems. The words come from Zack Snyder, director of the film adaptation of "300", the Frank Miller comic book.
Snyder was surprised by the hostile reaction of journalists at the Berlin Film Festival, when "300" was unveiled there last month. Here's the context of the Snyder quote, picked up by the news blog The News Buckit:
''I was getting bombarded with political questions,'' says Snyder. Some Europeans saw Leonidas' lone-wolf march against the Persians as an allegorical defense of President Bush's incursion into Iraq. ''When someone in a movie says, 'We're going to fight for freedom,' that's now a dirty word,'' says Snyder. ''Europeans totally feel that way. If you mention democracy or freedom, you're an imperialist or a fascist. That's crazy to me.''Editor Patrick Ishmael notes that the film took in over $70 million on its first weekend, a record for a March release. The full article from which the quote was pulled, is from Entertainment Weekly, and it's well worth reading.
A lot of hand-wringing has been seen in the American pop media as well, in recent days. The Iranian government is also upset that it portrays Persian King Xerxes as sort of, er, ambiguous (if you know what I mean). Considering that they hang teenage boys for that sort of thing in the mullocracy, I suppose that shouldn't come as a surprise.
As for the historical criticisms, reviewers need to get a grip of themselves. The CGI sets, wardrobes and weaponry are not meant to be historically accurate, because it isn't meant to be a historical epic drama -- it's a film re-creation of Frank ("Sin City" and "The Dark Knight") Miller's comic book. And frankly, if a scholar of the Peloponnesian Wars, the Greek - Persian War and the Battle of Thermopylae, a professor of the Classics of the calibre of Victor Davis Hanson feels that it preserves the spirit of the Thermopylae story, perhaps he's worth listening to.
If critics think that 300 reduces and simplifies the meaning of Thermopylae into freedom versus tyranny, they should reread carefully ancient accounts and then blame Herodotus, Plutarch, and Diodorus — who long ago boasted that Greek freedom was on trial against Persian autocracy, free men in superior fashion dying for their liberty, their enslaved enemies being whipped to enslave others.I wonder if the "Spartan Derangement Syndrome" seemingly provoked by this comic book movie could be related to that other kind of derangement syndrome...