So it was bound to happen, given enough years of pointless warring someone was bound to become fantastically rich making homosexual fascist erotica, and well here it is.

The plot is a pretty simple metaphor for the current state of American foreign policy. Almost naked men with fake muscles (Spartans/Americans/Germans), go to stand up against these freakish looking invaders, led by a giant muscular effeminate wierdo (Persians/Al Qaeda/Jews), some people try to stop them (priests/Democrats/Democrats), but they go fight anyway. Their rivals in Greece are also standing up to the invaders (Athenians/Europeans/Japanese), but they are nothing compared to the Spartans (because Europeans are heathens/Japanese are Asians).

Now I'm all for violence in movies, in fact I encourage movies to have as much sex and violence in them as they can tactfully pull off. I am also all for the celebration of masculinity and strength (which, in all seriousness, is the main thing that this movie has in common with fascist propaganda), what I really have a problem with is the justification of violence for ideological purposes.

The Spartans weren't bad asses for an ideological reason, they did not stand for freedom and reason, or really anything else. They wanted to dominate their enemies in a world where dominance meant survival. This is why the most obnoxious part of this film is not its occasional gay bashing (and don't kid yourself the Spartans loved pederasty as much as the Athenians), its fear of things "foreign," its "whore of Babylon" type attitude towards women. The real issue is that the Spartans talked too goddamn much.

Compare a line from the movie when Xerxes asks Leonidas to surrender with a historical record of what the Spartans said when Philip of Macedon asked them to surrender:

From the movie: "Submission? Well that's gonna be a bit of a problem. See, rumor has it that the Athenians have already refused you, and if those philosophers and boy-lovers have found that kind of nerve..."

From real life: Letter from Macedonians to Spartans - "You are advised to submit without further delay, for if I bring my army into your land, I will destroy your farms, slay your people, and raze your city." Spartans to Macedonians - "If."

Another example from when the Persian emissary asks for earth and water (surrender), and get pushed in a well:

in the movie: "You bring the skulls and crowns of conquored kings to my doorsteps, you insult my queen and you threaten my people with death and slavery...Oh I’ve chosen my words carefully Persain. Perhaps you should have done the same."

in real life: "Dig it out yourselves"

The point. The Spartans were a dangerous group of people, a nasty group of people who randomly killed slaves to keep down rebellions. Their history though records a time when life was lived more seriously, when there was a danger to every moment of life, and likewise people were required to do great things, which the Spartans were abundantly capable of. 300 reflects none of that, it reflects an insecurity among some Americans when deciding what to do about problems they face, and a bunch of awkward posing as a result.

More importantly though, I think the success of the film can be attributed to the real drama of the event that it was trying to depict, and the legitimate desire of audiences to see some high quality violence (that's why I saw it), unfortunately high quality violence is hard to find these days.

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