300 Nazis

The post-punk extravaganza on Deonandan.com continues. Here is yet another rare Joy Division video, this one for the song, “Transmission”. As you can see, Ian Curtis was ten times more Jim Morrison than Jim Morrison ever was:

Now, as I think I may have mentioned, the name “Joy Division” had Nazi allusions. I’m going to use this fact to segue clumsily into my next topic, the supposed racist content of the hit movie 300. Now, I saw 300, and I enjoyed it… because I enjoy movies about muscular dudes killing hideous monsters whilst quoting hollowly profound classicisms.

On that level, that of a basic action movie, it’s certainly enjoyable. Indeed, if one had replaced “Spartan” with “warriors of Zebutron”, and “Persian” with “Horde of Enmorzeiss”, there would be much less controversy. But the fact remains that this film pretends to depict, however flimsily, the famous Battle of Thermopylae which, some believe, marked the moment when a “free” Greek society would be permitted to flourish, thus signaling the birth of what we call “Western civilization”.

As this article plots out, Frank Miller‘s version of the Battle of Thermoplyae is definitely politically skewed, with a depiction of Spartans as freedom-loving, secular, noble and, above all else, what we would consider to be “civilized”. By contrast, the Persians are portrayed –literally– as monstrous. Moreover, the Persian army is referred to many times as one of slaves, in contrast to the “free” Greek and Spartan forces, and one hobbled by its superstition.

As a storytelling hook, this is quite entertaining. I don’t have a problem with it in a truly fictional tale. The Lord of the Rings, after all, embraces an identical ethic, and no one accuses Tolkien of racism, even though he makes it clear that the good guys are “Men of the West”.

The problem with 300 is that it pretends, however slightly, to represent real history and thus contemporary reality. In truth, it was the Spartans who were barbarians by our standard, while the Persians we would likely recognize as being “civilized”. The Greeks, as well as the Persians, adhered to deep “superstitious” religious beliefs, and also kept vast numbers of slaves. The key difference between the two groups is that, in this specific affair, it was the Persians who were the aggressors, and that the Greek’s did not typically permit slaves to fight; it was considered the duty of a citizen to bear arms in defence of his country.

Some call that noble. I call it stupid. But whatever.

The Spartans were also eugenicists, leaving imperfect babies exposed to die. This is touched upon in the film, as the Spartans are betrayed by of their own who is freakishly deformed, but who nonetheless survived to be seduced by Xerxes’s riches.

So if 300‘s Spartans are indeed Frank Miller’s idea of a social ideal, then he’s got a strong dose of Nazism in his brew. He is, after all, on record as saying some pretty ignorant, racist things, like claiming Arabs could never have invented microphones or airplanes. Unsurprising for people of his stupidity and ilk, he also believes that Iraq declared war on “us” first.

Miller’s pro-war bias shines through in the movie, with the brave king Leonidas conducting an illegal war despite not having his government’s nor his people’s support on the matter. Sound familiar?

So, is 300 a racist movie? On balance, I will have to say yes. Does that mean it’s not enjoyable? No, the racism is not obvious to those who are not sensitive to it, so I don’t have a problem with this movie existing or with it potentially “scarring” impressionable minds. Most people will enjoy it the way I did, as a fun swords and monsters film.

Those of the pro-war Right, though, are not always as subtle with their racism. I was (stupidly) lurking again on that ridiculous site, The Western Standard Blogs, when I came upon this post:

“you’re a chink-eyed piece of yellow shit like David Suzuki? That would explain why you’ve got the balls to come on line anonymously and insult a white man. I know that kind of shit passes for balls in little yellow turds like you.”

Do note that, when I checked last, no one on the site had admonished or contradicted this individual. Nor is this post unique in its style, verbiage or content. This, my friends, is the premier online discussion forum for those of the mainstream Canadian right. Remember that come election time.

In other news:

  • A girl in a US school has been suspended for saying the word “vagina” during an on-stage performance of The Vagina Monologues. Christ, people! what are we supposed to call the dang thing? All the fun terms have been taken from us by the politically correct set, and now even the anatomically precise word is denied us?
  • A cow in a West Bengal village has been caught killing and eating chickens. If you’re like me, you’re wondering what this cow tastes like. Beef and chicken together in one joyous mouthful! It’s like a walking cordon bleu.
  • Lastly, my precious Treo 600 died a tragic death on Saturday. So for those trying to phone me this weekend, I am without phone. But fear not, my new (used) Treo 650 is already in the mail!