Sunday, April 01, 2007

Something I noticed

Mickelle and I went and saw 300 when we were up in Georgia. I know that it deviated from the original story (Norman could tell us all about that), but I still enjoyed the movie. It was visually appealing. I am a Frank Miller fan.

I did some research online and I can't find any proof to support something I noticed in the film. Evidently, Sparta was a very scientifically advanced society. It appears that they had advanced knowledge of immunology because almost every one of the 300 Spartans was vaccinated against smallpox.


Norman said...

Hey Mac,
I was massively disappointed by "300", not primarily because it was more historically inaccurate than it was accurate (that would be my review of "Troy"). So far as we can tell, the whole conflict within Spartan society, while somewhat reflective of different Greek city-states at the time, was completely unreflective of Sparta itself: they all saw the value of fighting at Thermopylae (the ephors included, who were not ugly, lecherous, corrupt politicians). Nor was there a perceived tension between "reason and mysticisim" in Spartan society (they were among the most religiously scrupulous of all Greeks, who were all pretty scrupulous about religious observance). Nor were the Athenians the only "boy-loving" members of Greek society (the Spartans went in for that as much as any of the rest of them--if not more so, but we in this modern world don't seem to be able to reconcile brute masculinity, grunting speech, and weaponry (which, judging from the cheers and 'yeah's' in the audience at my viewing, represents the aspirations of a large portion of our fair nation) with a predilection for adolescent youths). My primary objection to the film was its violence, which I thought was pornographic (repetitive, uncreative, and valueless). "Gladiatorial games here we come," I thought as I watched. You might say, "Ah, but there was value and meaning to the violence: they were killing all those Persians to protect Greek, and thus Western, freedom". Yes, that is true, but Herodotus did not need what was at least forty-five minutes of slaughterhouse-grade chopping and a head spinning through the air (much less two heads!) to capture what was at stake at Thermopylae, which coincidentally enough ended with Leonidas' head on a stake. Mind you, I wasn't squeamish to watch (this is not an issue of prudery); I was morally offended and concerned for our society. Watching this movie was like watching R-rated professional wrestling and I bristle to think that the audience felt justified in salivating over bodies being piked and piled in the name of a "good cause". I can't believe they played rock music over some of the battle scenes! In spite of its pretensions to deep political or historical meaning, this movie (for me) represents a lot of what is dangerous about the contemporary American aesthetic (I won't even speculate on the whole issue of the Bush/Leonidas-Persians/Iranians parallel).
your pal,

Anonymous said...

"I won't even speculate on the whole issue of the Bush/Leonidas-Persians/Iranians parallel"

Actually, I think someone already has, although not in the way you're thinking. See here, for example:

This originally ran in the NY Times, but since you have to pay to read there, click on this link, which is apparently free.

I, for one, liked the movie. I felt more manly when I left the theater, and finally decided for certain that ugly hunchbacks should be destroyed at birth. That way we could have avoided this tragedy *and* the one in Paris in the Notre Dame cathedral. I also now know that Persian kings were no less than 12 feet tall in the 5th Century B.C., not to mention somewhat homoerotic. Moreover, I learned for the first time that Greece during that time basically appeared in a grainy sepia hue. Must have been a climate issue.