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Masoud Golsorkhi

A racist gore-fest

For Iran, the film 300 is the equivalent of the Danish cartoons, but with go-faster stripes.

March 19, 2007 4:30 PM | Printable version

The release of the box office hit 300 has already been accompanied in the US by indignation, outrage, an online petition and a Google-bombing campaign by the American Iranian community.

The Iranian representative at Unesco has logged a complaint and last week president Mahmood Ahmadinejad of Iran called the movie a psychological assault on the Iranian nation. The president may not be too accomplished at diplomatic niceties but he can spot a rabble-rouser from 300 paces. This, for the Iranians, is the equivalent of the Danish cartoons, but with go-faster stripes.

The movie is a gore-fest of computer-generated special effects, based on a graphic novel by Frank Miller about the battle of Thermoplyae in 480 BC between the Persian empire and an alliance of Greek states.

Of course, movies routinely take historical events out of context, and 300 doesn't disappoint in its avoidance of historical accuracy. The authors are on record as saying that this is a fantasy and not historical film-making, but they haven't explained why they have such racist fantasies.

History or fantasy, 300 is an out-an-out racist diatribe worthy of contempt. I only need to refer you to Dana Stevens who wrote in her review for Slate: "If 300 had been made in Germany in the mid-1930s, it would be studied today alongside The Eternal Jew as a textbook example of how race-baiting fantasy and nationalist myth can serve as an incitement to total war".

It is an interesting paradox that works of imagination set in the distant past or the future tend to say more about how things are at the time of their making than movies with a contemporary setting. Think of sci-fi movies or swords-and-sandals from the 1950s or 1970s. More than anything else they tell us about the world view, mind set and emotional temperature of the people who made them and the time they were made.

In 300, the soldiers of King Leonidis utter guttural HOAAWTH! in the exactly the same way American GI's do (or at least we are assured by Jarhead), and the soldiers of the imperial Persian army are dressed exactly as modern-day Taliban, badly armed with meat cleavers.

What is most worrying to me is the idea that "western civilisation" is not, as I had understood it to be, the cultural, economic and militarily power dominating the globe, but a civilisation on the back foot, cornered, victimised and under siege. This bit isn't just fantasy; this is exactly the world view of the lunatic fringe of the far right politics of BNP, Jean-Marie Le Pen and Co.

The Spartans behave as the archetypal id of the neo-conservative regime changers' ego - uncompromising and unforgiving. This is the language of the "surge" rather than Baker-Hamilton recommendations. King Leonidis is cynical about diplomatic niceties, slaughtering Persian emissaries against all convention. This is the cartoon version of the way John Bolton behaved at the UN, making it clear that he had nothing but disdain for what he considered to be the double-talking, wheeling and dealing that diplomacy usually is all about.

It may not surprise anyone that King Leonidis repeatedly makes reference to "freedom" and calls the Persian troops slaves. The average audience of 300 - which I assume to be 16-year-olds taking time off from playing computer games - would not know that the Spartans were notorious as slavers, and that Persepolis was built by wage earners.

In the same way that the movie holds a distorting and flattering mirror to a particular narrative of the west, I am equally cynical about the Iranian tendency for the vainglorious. Growing up and going to school in Iran (as I did) you are brought up to think of Persian imperial history as unblemished and continuously glorious.

The past, for many in Iran, is a warm sunny happy country. We love nothing more than to daydream of a time when Pax Iranica had pacified half the known world - where we were the magnanimous and wise overlords. The disconnect is that modern Iran so fails badly in comparison.

The uniting of the secular westernised Iranians in Los Angeles and the so-called religious fundamentalist government in Tehran demonstrates that nationalism is still a principal energising factor in Iranian politics.

This means that all the analysis that sees an "Islamic" threat or civilisitional conflict between imaginary constructs called the west and radical Islam is plain wrong. The fact is that the Islamic revolution and Shia Islam are two of many expressions of Iranian nationalism, and not the other way around.

Iran is an animal blighted by the sin of national pride, but it rarely bites unless it has been kicked first.


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USA

I just didn't know that the Persians had 7 foot tall guys with saws for arms and giant cyclopses fighting the thong-clad Spartans who (a) somehow forgot all their breastplate armor and longer pants, and (b) somehow forgot all about the Athenians whose naval victory represented the actual major battle. I can't wait for Frank Millers' "D-Day" in which the allies storm the beach in speedos and pistols and are met by 20 foot tall Nazis with arms made out of tigers and bayonets for teeth.

Although I understand that in comic books you make things simple, I thought it was the job of an author (whether of a comic book or a film-maker) to at least be aware that it looks a bit cheesy when all your team's members are noble and manly and honorable and buff and all the opposing team's members are evil and ornery and effeminate and not only evil but simply and visually evil.

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GBR

Oh dear, somebody is offended by a Hollywood movie.

Must be a day with a 'y' in it.

Luckily the Iranian media is so progressive otherwise they wouldn't have a high horse to jump on.

This German propoganda from the Thirties that you mention, would that be from during the Holocaust that Iranians deny happened?

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Hilarious.

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GBR

**In 300, the soldiers of King Leonidis utter guttural HOAAWTH! in the exactly the same way American GI's do (or at least we are assured by Jarhead)**

Do they?

**and the soldiers of the imperial Persian army are dressed exactly as modern-day Taliban, badly armed with meat cleavers**

Do the Taliban wear grimacing "Scream"-style masks and run around with meat cleavers? Really?

What are you talking about?


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GBR

I haven't seen the film. However I suspect that much of the subtext which Golsorkhi perceives isn't there.

Comparing Leonidas's killing of emissaries to John Bolton in the UN is a stretch even for Iranian apologists. Also Golsorkhi fails to give specific examples of where the film is "racist".

Fact: The battle of Thermopylae did actually happen and the 300 Spartans did actually fight and die against overwhelming numbers of Persians (although they were initially backed up by 7000 other Greeks who were sent away when they were betrayed).

Fact: Like it or not the Persians were the invaders and Spartans were defenders.Maybe this is the Freedom the Spartans were fighting for? Freedom from Persian occupation?

Fact: Yes, the Spartans were slaveowners. So were the Persians. So were the democratic Athenians. I do not deny that the Spartans were not particularly attractive but slaveowning was ubiquitous.

These are facts. If they offend you, it doesn't make them any less true.

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GBR

I think it looks pretty good and that people are reading far too much into it. You don't have to go and see it if you don't want to.

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GBR

Amazing: Modern day Muslims, firm in their faith and beliefs taking offence at a comic book about the empirical activities of their pagan forebears in wars fought centuries ago.

When a film about the Maccabees appears I'm sure it will be percieved as a Zionist plot.

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GBR

As you point out, Masoud, jingoism's a pretty standard phenomena. It occurs in Iran, here in Britain and of course in the US. That doesn't make it any less dangerous or sinister of course. And its particularly so when produced by the culture of a country that - unlike Iran - actually has the credible and mostly undeterrable capacity to act out its militaristic fantasies in the real world.

300 should be seen not as a deliberate case of propaganda but as the naturally arising sort. Its an example of dominant cultural themes naturally reproducing themselves and thus reinforcing their legitimacy and our inability to question them. The makers of the film create this narrative not because they were paid by the Pentagon, but because they genuinely believe in the views and assumptions that underpin that narrative.

What's important is to be able to spot this happening when it occurs in ways less obvious than a chest-beating action flick. For example, in the oft repeated assertion that the West aimed to bring "democracy" to the middle east; that the war on Iraq was a "mistake" as opposed to a crime; that Western imperialism has been essentially benign, liberal and enlightened, whatever uglier episodes - e.g. slavery - occured along the way. These assumptions - utterly divorced from reality - express themselves not in crude cartoons for pre-adolescent boys, but in the leader articles of most broadsheet newspapers, indeed, in the minds of senior western policymakers.

This raises a question. How long can this intellectual and moral hegemony - based on fallacies - continue to assert and reassert itself before the dissonance between fantastic beliefs and the practical demands of governing the real world make that latter imperial task untenable? Can people whose views are based in a jingoistic fantasy, not the realities of the world, hope to govern that world effectively? Perhaps an answer can be found in the fate of US power during the historically disastrous neo-con era where, in the Middle East and Latin America, fantasy squared up to reality and got badly beaten.

David Wearing
http://www.democratsdiary.co.uk/

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Censorship alert.
.

Why did the post where I said that proposals for sanctions against Israel should not be tolerated from representatives of Islamic Fundemantalist states like Saudi Arabia, Iran or Pakistan or from any citizen in these countries that does not first disavow the extremist policies and actions of his / her own governments.
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This is a perfectly rational thing to say and well within the remit of CIF but Ishmael Patel deleted it.
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This is a dangerous precedent, where the subjective prejidices of the blogger concerned affect freedom of speech.
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The Guardian should thing three times before handing over editing privileges to the author of the blog. And they do this, because Richard Adams deleted one of my comments from his appartment overlooking Central Park (I am guessing about the apartment).
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Are we not living in a liberal democracy? Should this be tolerated? Are we all mad?

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ESP


Its just a film, and the maker of it has said many times that it is not supposed to be an accurate historical representation.

Dont take it so seriously - no-one else will.

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GBR

Look we suffered the shame of Braveheart with stiff upper lips so don't come crying to us sonny.

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FRA

The Iranians forfeited any interest in or claim to their Persian ancestors when they converted to Islam.

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GBR

Masoud Golsorkhi:"The Iranian representative at Unesco has logged a complaint and last week president Mahmood Ahmadinejad of Iran called the movie a psychological assault on the Iranian nation."

It is just my poor reading or did this article miss what must be the most important part of this story which is the Islamic Republic of Iran - the people who wanted to bulldoze Persepolis - are not upset over an American film about that same bunch of pagans. Khomeini famously said that Persia meant nothing to him - it was all Darkness and paganism. In the last days of Communism the East Europeans started trying to co-opt their Monarchical and Fascist pasts to justify their rule. Plus ca change.

Masoud Golsorkhi:"The authors are on record as saying that this is a fantasy and not historical film-making, but they haven't explained why they have such racist fantasies. History or fantasy, 300 is an out-an-out racist diatribe worthy of contempt."

Sorry but has anyone actually found out where this film is racist? I prefer the criticism that it shows gay-on-gay violence with the Spartans as gym-bound body fascists and the Persians as Queens, but I haven't seen it yet so I can't comment.

Masoud Golsorkhi:"What is most worrying to me is the idea that "western civilisation" is not, as I had understood it to be, the cultural, economic and militarily power dominating the globe, but a civilisation on the back foot, cornered, victimised and under siege. This bit isn't just fantasy; this is exactly the world view of the lunatic fringe of the far right politics of BNP, Jean-Marie Le Pen and Co."

You're right, it is not just fantasy. But it is not only the Far Right that has that view. Because there is a lot of truth to it.

Masoud Golsorkhi:"The average audience of 300 - which I assume to be 16-year-olds taking time off from playing computer games - would not know that the Spartans were notorious as slavers, and that Persepolis was built by wage earners."

They would not know it because it was not true. If by slavers you mean slave dealers, the Spartans had not done that for a long long time. The Helots were serfs, or collective farmers if you like, not slaves and the Spartans did not buy and sell them. What is the evidence that Persepolis was built by waged labour by the way?

Masoud Golsorkhi:"The uniting of the secular westernised Iranians in Los Angeles and the so-called religious fundamentalist government in Tehran demonstrates that nationalism is still a principal energising factor in Iranian politics. This means that all the analysis that sees an "Islamic" threat or civilisitional conflict between imaginary constructs called the west and radical Islam is plain wrong. The fact is that the Islamic revolution and Shia Islam are two of many expressions of Iranian nationalism, and not the other way around."

Well if that were true it would simply reflect badly on Iran. Nationalism clearly is not the principal energising factor in Iranian politics or the nationalists would not have been defeated by the Islamic radicals in 1979. Rather the Islamic Revolution, which inspired and inspires Muslims across the world, has been able to use and exploit Iranian nationalism - such as it is - as the decline in religious feeling continues. That does not mean the civilisational conflict claim is wrong because nationalism can clash just as easily as religions if not more so. Nationalism is not exempt from culture. If anything this suggests that we are having such a conflict - Iranians, whether Iranian Americans or Iranian nationals have turned on Hollywood. A straight break down civilisational lines.

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GBR

I've read equally laughable attempts to compare the '300' to insurgents in Iraq.

The film is a painstakingly faithful recreation of the Frank Miller comic book, which was published in 1998.

The imagery and dialogue was transported straight from the page. How prescient of Miller to forsee Bolton's behaviour at the UN.

http://brockleycentral.blogspot.com

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GBR

What? A Hollywood film that misrepresents history? Well, hold the front page.

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GBR

There is certainly an argument that elements of Zoroastrianism - from the festival of Norouz to 12th Imam / End Times theorising - have been incorporated into Shia/Iranian Islamic culture.

In that sense, there is arguably a continuity between pre-Islamic Persian culture and the Zoroastrian theology which preceded it.

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GBR

SeerTaak

You really are a dick aren't you?

"The Helots were serfs, or collective farmers if you like, not slaves and the Spartans did not buy and sell them."

Collective farmers my arse. They were SLAVES. Whether they were bought or sold is neither here nor there. They were slave labour to allow the Spartans to swan about being tough and not having to do any real work other than military training. They were kept deliberately terrorised in order to prevent uprisings, although these still occured regularly. Sparta frequently declared "war" on these slaves in order to legally kill a few of them from time pour encourager les autres.

Despicable fantasist that you are, I can see why you'd hate anyone to think ill of you fantasy ubermensch society.

Now run along and hide under your bed from the nasty Orientals who the ancient Greeks stole most of their civilisation from.

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ESP

It's a film. It may well be unmitigated shite, I don't know as I haven't seen it. What I do know is that I'd rather live in a society where anyone can make any old shite no matter who it offends. If it offends you, here you have the right to say so and the free-will not to watch it.

So simple really isn't it?

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GBR

My understanding of classical greek history is that you couldn't find a regime as opposed to "regime-change" as the one in Sparta. Spartan policy was not to create empires, not to trade and generally not interfere "abroad" because the entire Spartan army was needed at a moment's notice in case the Helots revolted. Dick Cheney would have been executed very quickly had he been a Spartan.

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IRL

Surely the Iranian Mullah's would approve of a movie that portrays the pre-Islamic pagans as decadent bejewelled hedonists, it is my understanding that they threw out a lot of the Shah's pagan-nationalist history stuff after the revolution because it was 'unIslamic'. I understand Ahmadinejad likes to toy with Persian nationalist symbols however.

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"This, for the Iranians, is the equivalent of the Danish cartoons, but with go-faster stripes."

I suspect this is correct though - an utterly manufactured outrage.

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USA

Generally, in the West, we believe that invading an countries Embassy and holding its acredited diplomatic staff is an deliberate insult. Moreover, having ones armed forces march over another countries flag is also disrespectful, as is declaring that everyone who is not a Muslim is going to hell.
Perhaps Iran will stop upsetting other peoples?

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GRC

The Spartan king is called Leonidas, not Leonidis. Just like the chocolate.
The film is very entertaining, I wonder though whether its aesthetic references are mostly gay, fascist or both...
And western civilisation, newborn in Greece at the time, was indeed under mortal danger by the Persian invasions. World history would have been VERY different had the Persians won.
Boy, those Persians are sore losers...even after 2500 years...

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GBR

Masoud Golsorkhi: 'What is most worrying to me is the idea that "western civilisation" is not, as I had understood it to be, the cultural, economic and militarily power dominating the globe, but a civilisation on the back foot, cornered, victimised and under siege. This bit isn't just fantasy; this is exactly the world view of the lunatic fringe of the far right politics of BNP, Jean-Marie Le Pen and Co.'

There is one other far-right politician who seems to think the same - surprised you didn't mention him, Mr Golsorkhi:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/05/09/AR2006050900878.html

'Liberalism and Western-style democracy have not been able to help realize the ideals of humanity. Today these two concepts have failed. Those with insight can already hear the sounds of the shattering and fall of the ideology and thoughts of the Liberal democratic systems.

We increasingly see that people around the world are flocking towards a main focal point -- that is the Almighty God.'

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GBR

Freemanmoxy: You are wrong I'm afraid. SeerTak correctly points out that they were more like Serfs than Slaves - the difference is there and historians acknowledge it. He does not diffuse their 'suffering'.

"Now run along and hide under your bed from the nasty Orientals who the ancient Greeks stole most of their civilisation from."

This being the Oriental civilisation that was built on slavery? You're a pretty funny guy.

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GBR

What on earth has modern Iran, a theocracy seeking a nuclear weapon, got to do with ancient Persia? Should the people of modern day Sparta/Greece be offended by the portrayal of them as muscle-men warriors? It is a movie, based on a ancient battle, thats all, the Iranians and the rest of the world should be more worried about uranium enrichment than a well made hollywodd movie. It all seems a little silly and I am offended by Iran seeking the bomb? Does anyone care?

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GBR

Given that the basic premise of 300 is 'Heroic defiance against ovwerwhelming odds', you can pretty much knit your own favourite analogy:

US history: the Alamo

US neo-con history: see this blog post? Or any sppech by Dick Cheyney?

British history: Any war you care to mention, but see WWII (Dunkirk, Battle of Britain) for the most obvious examples. Alternatively, see Robin Hood

Incidentally, given the overwhelming firepower of the US, and the chunterings about 'dealing with' Tehran, I'm surprised Iranians don't identify with the little guy, despite the history.

From the reviews I've read/seen so far elsewhere, 300 seems to suffer from an overblown sense of machismo - the tag line should have been either: 'Oi, Persians! You Want Some?!' or 'You! Me! Thermopylae! NOW!'

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USA

"and the soldiers of the imperial Persian army are dressed exactly as modern-day Taliban, badly armed with meat cleavers."


Those Taliban guys must have been adorable!

http://editora.globo.com/quem/galerias/315_extrasantoro/foto_gd_01.jpg

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GBR

Alexander the Great kicked your arse so hard they had to film the story twice.

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GBR

@Masoud Golsorkhi.

You haven't actually seen it, have you?

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USA

This is the most utterly ridiculous reaction I've heard of since a bunch of US Congressmen with great umbrage changed the name of "French fries" to "Freedom fries" in the congressional cafeteria because France didn't support our war with Iraq.

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GBR

DavidTHarryblog:"In that sense, there is arguably a continuity between pre-Islamic Persian culture and the Zoroastrian theology which preceded it."

But merely saying so is probably a crime in Iran. They have killed people in Egypt for saying much the same about the Quran.

Which is why this fuss is so interesting. I think like the DDR's embrace of Frederick the Great it is the dying kicks of a failed regime.

FreemanMoxy:"You really are a dick aren't you?"

Well it takes some effort, but I like to think so.

FreemanMoxy:"Collective farmers my arse. They were SLAVES. Whether they were bought or sold is neither here nor there."

It is exactly the point. There is a vital difference between a slave and a serf. It might not make much difference to the serf, but it still exists.

FreemanMoxy:"They were slave labour to allow the Spartans to swan about being tough and not having to do any real work other than military training."

Absolutely. You have a point?

FreemanMoxy:"They were kept deliberately terrorised in order to prevent uprisings, although these still occured regularly. Sparta frequently declared "war" on these slaves in order to legally kill a few of them from time pour encourager les autres."

Absolutely. You have a point?

FreemanMoxy:"Despicable fantasist that you are, I can see why you'd hate anyone to think ill of you fantasy ubermensch society."

Sorry but where have I suggested that I have any fantasies about Sparta much less ones about it as an ubermensch society? As it happens I have a strong criticism of the "Left" due to their fantasies about Sparta, but that is a different issue. Do you think that perhaps the problem here is you do not understand what I think and have made little to no effort to find out?

FreemanMoxy:"Now run along and hide under your bed from the nasty Orientals who the ancient Greeks stole most of their civilisation from."

See above.

(And by the way, there is no evidence the Greeks stole their civilisation from Orientals)

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GBR

I am so happy and proud that there were Greeks and Spartans in particular.

Mr Golsorkhi and the Danish protesters forget that thanks to these so called Spartans and Greeks he is now writing on the Guardian. I wonder if the Persians were still around most likely would be like in Iran nowadays.

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USA

What's hilarious about this is that this columns happens to be right next to another one entitled 'Iran must have the bomb'. So, anytime the delicate sensibilities of the Iranians are offended by works of art, whether they be by Rushdie or Miller, they can salvage their primitive form of honor?

The thing is, Miller is an equal-opportunity insulter.

In Sin City, Miller presented the US as an amoral wasteland.

In V for Vendetta, Miller presented Thatcher's England as a ppolice state.

Time to grow up, Iran, or be left further behind.

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USA

"300 is an out-an-out racist diatribe"

Hilarious. It's a comic book, Mr. Golsorkhi. A video game brought to life. It's a bit of historical-science-fiction ephemera that would be forgotten in a month if you'd ignore it. It has nothing to do with current events, and nothing to do with modern Iran.

Which, by the way, has nothing to do with the great empire of Xerxes. Altho' I can understand why Ahmadinejad would like to conflate them for political purposes, with the exception of that pagan religion.

I would feel more for your position if the modern-day Iranians weren't trying to destroy their pre-Islamic archaeological heritage and deny its existence but for those parts that might have ideological uses today.

Sorry. Now if Hollywood made a movie that twisted the Conference of the Birds -- then you might have a complaint. . .But it's telling about the state of thing in Iran that even most forgettable bit of graphic fluff has to pass some kind of political litmus test. . .

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GBR

Its fiction folks, calm down.

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GBR

"What is most worrying to me is the idea that "western civilisation" is not, as I had understood it to be, the cultural, economic and militarily power dominating the globe, but a civilisation on the back foot, cornered, victimised and under siege. This bit isn't just fantasy; this is exactly the world view of the lunatic fringe of the far right politics of BNP, Jean-Marie Le Pen and Co. "

It was also the situation at the time of the Persian invasion of Greece:

The King with half the East at heel is marched from lands of morning;
Their fighters drink the rivers up, their shafts benight the air.
And he that stands will die for nought, and home there's no returning.

In fact, western civilisation only became "the cultural, economic and military power dominating the globe" comparatively recently. Most of European history consisted of being invaded by nomads from Asia. The last set were the Turks only a few hundred yaers ago.

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GBR

You Have Been Trolled.

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GBR

I wonder what percentage of the people watching the movie will actually make the connection between ancient Persia and the modern state of Iran any way?

I suspect not many.

In any case Braveheart managed to be racist to both English (effete war criminals) and Scots (patronising and anachronistic Hollywood Celtic/noble savage cliches) but I don't recall much fuss in the UK about it. So so what? As historical revisionism goes the movie is probably rather stupid but its not on a par with the president of Iran's views on the holocaust and Jews is it?

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USA

mandrade posted
Comment No. 483772

March 19 18:20

GBR
I am so happy and proud that there were Greeks and Spartans in particular.


hi mandrade

If the film had glorified Trojans the Vatican would have objected.

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GBR

We didnt hear the germans complaining when Schindlers List or Downfall came out, so why should we be so concerned that a few mullahs are bothered about a battle 2000 years ago. For god and allah's sake, they get offended by the sight of a woman's forearm, so we really shouldnt be giving them so much attention. I am sure the Iranians will produce a lovely movie about how Iran is the best place in the world ever and the persians were simply bad non muslims who saw the error of their ways and their descendents are now good muslims working in a lab enrinching uranium or working as historians, trying to prove the holocaust was a myth.

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CAN

"For Iran, the film 300 is the equivalent of the Danish cartoons, but with go-faster stripes."


Raise your shields, they will be attacking Movie theatres.

Here s the official Iranian "critique" of the movie by "Zionist" Warner Bros.
http://memritv.org/Transcript.asp?P1=1400

"This bit isn't just fantasy; this is exactly the world view of the lunatic fringe of the far right politics of BNP, Jean-Marie Le Pen and Co."....

"If 300 had been made in Germany in the mid-1930s, it would be studied today alongside The Eternal Jew as a textbook example of how race-baiting fantasy and nationalist myth can serve as an incitement to total war".....

From a society where the Government is still denying the holocaust as a matter of policy, it seems Ironic that arguments about the very movies ushering in that event are used to compare with 300.

Depiction of Invaders in a negative way is very common in movies and would cause offense only among those who are not used to a free movie industry or are suffering from absolute hypocrisy.
The Iranians were also obsessing over Tom And Jerry as they saw it as a way of vindicating Jewish Evil by the use of a clever mouse outwitting the Cat.

What a Joke.
Based on what passes for entertainment in Iran, the anti semitic movies, TV shows, holocaust denial and all the rest, they are now offended at some silly comic based movie.

http://memritv.org/Search.asp?ACT=S2
http://memritv.org/Search.asp?ACT=S2#
http://memritv.org/Search.asp?ACT=S2
http://www.teachkidspeace.org/doc357.php
http://newsbusters.org/node/10325
http://timesonline.typepad.com/comment/2007/02/tom_and_jerry_t.html
http://memritv.org/Search.asp?ACT=S1

Look at how many times Germans were depicted in cartoon like ways in movies, as were the Viet Kong, The Confederates, the Japanese and pretty much anybody else who played some sort of adversarial role in history.

"soldiers of the imperial Persian army are dressed exactly as modern-day Taliban, badly armed with meat cleavers."

GO see the movie and notice that there is much more to the Persian Army than that and unlike the Taliban, they look flashy and wealthy. They are actually depicted as an international force with eastern and even Asian elements and weapons. The Spartans are depicted in often homo erotic ways, surely not the "republican" way.

"western Civilisation" is not, as I had understood it to be, the cultural, economic and militarily power dominating the globe, but a civilisation on the back foot, cornered, victimised and under siege."

That is not the message. If we need to dwell into the philosophy about what the conflict between Greece and Persia represented is the conflict between being ruled vs being governed.
That is what set apart Greece (and later Rome for a while) from the rest. This is still also what sets apart western civilization from the rest today.
As for siege, the west is/was under constant siege from the forces of "Rule" to depose the systems of "governance".
Fascism, Communism and Religious fanaticism all have and are attempting to replace being governed with being "ruled".
In this respect, the movie was successful as the Greeks symbolized governance whereas the Persians symbolized "Rule".
In this regard, even today, those who are "ruled" still greatly outnumber those who are governed as most humans live under some for of tyranny to this day while those who are "governed" are a minority.

It is a good movie and should not be taken so seriously, but in a society where entertainment is either banned or can only come from the state and is often used to rouse hatred of others and other propaganda purposes, it surely would be seen as offensive.


McLefty

They already considered Shindler s List as a Zionist Plot.
I also heard (not a joke) that the Maccabes movie will be made by Mel Gibson of all people, lets see the Greeks be offended at that one as the that was another example of "Jews causing a war".

Ishouldapologize
"Are we not living in a liberal democracy? Should this be tolerated? Are we all mad?"

...And they say we are not under siege like 300 Spartans....LoL.

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GBR

Sounds great, I must see it when its released. Iranian whinging = pot calling kettle black.

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USA

I hear that Stephen Fry is in disfcussions to remake the Damnbusters movie - this is obviously an allegory to the bombing of Iraz and the use of bouncing bombs mimicing the imperialistic American errrrrr..... well something.
Its a movie. Actually a pretty good one in its target. It is not meant to be a history lesson, it is meant to be a comic strip brought to life. This whole approach is tantamount - and allegorically equivelant - to commenting on Sin City as a comment on modern policing.
Lets get a life people. And lets be honest if Persia had jnothing to do with Iraq this post would not be here. If Persia had been a christian/budhist/Zen country the allegory would be lost. This is just another bullshit example of Islamovictimization again isn't it? No matter what is said or done now if A Muslim is within a ten sentence parimeter or can be attached within 6 degrees of seperation it is a comment on Islam.
If they ever did a remake of Fawlty Towers (please god leave it alone) the sketch would be changed from "Dont mention the war!" to "dont mention Muhammad".

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USA

We need to see this in its proper perspective. I doubt that more than 10% of Americans know that Iran and Persia are the same country and probably not many more than that could find Iran on a globe. As far as the "racism" question is concerned, I think its more a question of getting exotic badguys for the teens (and immature adults) to root against.

It is just as silly for Iran to protest about a comic book movie as it would have been if Mongolia had protested against John Wayne's portrayal of Gengis Khan in "The Conqueror". On a deeper level Iranian sensitivity is a clear indication of their feelings of insecurity.

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GBR

There's been a lot of comments saying 'it's fiction'. Well guess what? The Spartans WERE psychotic, military-obsessed paranoid murderous muscle-bound nationalist nutjobs. They were very good at it, because they concentrated on one thing only: survival through military superiority, and strength of character. In other words, to anyone who wasn't Spartan, they were psycho a**holes and fail on every human level beyond protecting themselves.

Yes, they're the heroes in a movie about who can swing a sword harder, based on a comic book. If you seriously think for one second that this is a scathing racist attack on modern Iran, you're insane.

They were absolutely uncompromising, yes, but couldn't be more different from the Neo-cons. All their allies had to be in agreement before they'd go to war, for a start.

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GRC

RogerInTheUsa
"hi mandrade

If the film had glorified Trojans the Vatican would have objected"

What on earth is the link between the Vatican and Troy?
I know the Laocoon complex is in the Vatican Museum and Virgil wrote the Aeneid in Rome..but still...do enlighten us.

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GBR

It's a great film, if you're into graphic novels, fantasy and wild CGI.

If not, just exercise your right not to go and see it. What's the problem here?

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GBR

Mr Golsorkhi...could we please not make a big deal out of this film and just ignore it completely...we don�t want silly scenes in Tehran or anywhere else to condemn this none sense film...and don�t even compare it to the stupid Danish cartoons its not going to help iran or Iranians at all...

Iranians all over the world and specially our beloved Iran deserve a very happy Nourouz tomorrow and very prosperous New year ahead�have a happy one...

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USA

I guess when you're not the target, you just don't get it. The film is a visually interesting cartoon story extremely loosely based on historical events from 2500 years ago. It glorifies a martial, autocratic, slaveholding, eugenics practicing culture (Sparta) which was absolutely detestable in every way other than fighting ability. It denigrates a much richer, larger, and more cultured entity (see, for example, the declaration of human rights by Cyrus the Great on the Cyrus Cylinder) in the unfortunately racist manner we have come to expect from Hollywood.

One of the posters asked how we know that Persians did not keep slaves and that the work at Persepolis was paid labor. Ever heard of beauracratic records, wise one? We know because there are records of what the workers were paid. The Persians made a point of freeing all slaves in nations conquered (remember the freeing of the Jewish slaves of Babylon, which is mentioned in the Bible?) and not allowing slavery in their territories. Now, who was the civilizing force?

Posters have made the point that the film has nothing to do with current times. But as the winds of war between the US and Iran are currently being fanned by some, this movie could be seen as propaganda to justify the �clash between civilizations� that so many seem to recklessly seek.

By the way, Persia won the battle (which some of the posters seem to forget!). They could have rolled over the rest of the Greek cities with little trouble at that point. However, the empire calculated that the "victory" was more costly than could be justified by the prize and called off the rest of the campaign. Sound familiar?

All that said, of course, I'm all for freedom of expression and wish the artists who made this film the best of luck and all success.

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USA

The vast majority of American viewers of this film have no idea that Persia=Iran: your giving too much credit to the US system of public education and to American's knowledge of (or interest in) history.

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GBR

Personally i have a problem with any media which takes real historical people/events and twists them for their own political ends. You would be weary of how you present someone if they were still alive. It seems cowardly to not take the same care simply because someone is no longer around to defend themself. If you cannot prove the point you are trying to make with real historical precedent, it probably isn't a point worth making.

Of course, the really amusing thing about this current debate is that, if it were a couple of years ago, the people who are now saying 'its only a film' would be arguing in favour of the importance of historical accuracy, while those currently condemning it as a right-wing propoganda piece would be arguing that 'its only a film'. It goes without saying, of course, that back then the film in question would have been the left-leaning Kingdom of Heaven rather the right-leaning 300. It would be nice if people tried to form their own opinion for a change, rather than automatically leaping to defend anything spawned by their ideological allegience regardless of its merits.

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GBR

"For Iran, the film 300 is the equivalent of the Danish cartoons, but with go-faster stripes."

Oh pur-leez ... it's a sword 'n' sandal slash-athon. Nothing else.

Grow up.

Though from what I recall of studying the period, ol' Xerxes wasn't exactly a rocket scientist when it came to strategy - Marathon anyone?

Waltz: "GBR It's a great film, if you're into graphic novels, fantasy and wild CGI.

If not, just exercise your right not to go and see it. What's the problem here?"

Not much more to add.

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Muslims offended...again...who cares?

Looks like a great film though.

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GBR

Perception is a funny thing. I've not seen the film but on hearing that one had been made which showed the global superpower, which lauds its own cultural achievments in ignorance of the rest of the world beyond its borders, and subsequently gets its arse handed to it on a plate by a small bunch of guys prepared to die for their own distinct cultural beliefs and the right not to be run by a nation thousands of miles away my first thought wasn't "Pah, pro-american propaganda"

Considering the world renowned excellence of Iranian cinema one would expect their populace to be able to spot, or at least exploit, a sub-text when one is presented for their use.

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GBR

Mr golsorki; sorry to state the bleedin' obvious, but has it ever occurred to you you that may just be overreacting a tad?
This film is a fantasy story i.e. it is FICTION!
NO-ONE who goes and sees it is going to come out with the first thought on their mind beng 'gosh! Iranians are AWFUL!" In fact, 90% of the audience will be too dim to equate persia with Iran

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DEU

I encourage future social scientists to examine today's Comment is Free for the number of accusations of racism made by authors and posters alike. Truly a phenomenon. I can't help worrying that if the word racist carries on being overused, real racists will get in under the radar.

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GBR

I just sit back, remember that homosexuality was compulsory for Spartan warriors, and enjoy the thought of Peter Pace dealing with that. Far more entertaining than such a ridiculous film.

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USA

Now that we know the Iranians' weak point, I think we should exploit it. If they don't abandon their nuclear program at once, we should flood the world with an endless series of '300' sequels:
-
'301' - The defeat of the Iranians by Alexander the Great at Issus in 333 BC
'302' - The defeat of the Iranians by Julius Caesar at the Rubicon in 49 BC
'303' - The defeat of the Iranians by King Arthur at Camlann in 537 AD
'304' - The defeat of the Iranians by Charlemagne at Barcelona in 797 AD
'305' - The defeat of the Iranians by Richard the Lionheart at Acre in 1191
'306' - The defeat of the Iranians by Napolean at Austerlitz in 1805
'307' - The defeat of the Iranians by Meade at Gettysburg in 1863
'308' - The defeat of the Iranians by Patton at Bastogne in 1945
'309' - The defeat of the Iranians by MacArthur at Inchon in 1950
'310' - The defeat of the Iranians by Skywalker in a galaxy far, far away...
-
Our army may be bogged down in Iraq and Afghanistan, but our film industry remains undaunted! Fear our special effects!

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CAN

jihadisbad

V for Vendetta was Moore, not Miller, but your point still stands. I saw the film. It's not very good but it's intersting visually. The Persians in the film are mostly not Persians. They are Asians and Africans of all sorts. There is some laughable stuff about "Spartan democracy" but if you find this movie offensive, you need to get more than a paper-thin skin. The movie was not supposed to be realistic-there are monsters for crying out loud-it's supposed to be like a comic book and in that sense it succeeds.

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GBR

'For Iran, the film 300 is the equivalent of the Danish cartoons, but with go-faster stripes'

Well for most people its an action film based on a comic book.

By the way, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's statement that Israel should be wiped off the map is pretty damn offensive too.

This complaint is pathetic. Find something better to whinge about.

I tell you what: Iran can keep hosting a holocaust denial conference if we get to see 300 - deal?

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GBR

Whitt, no need for special effects... use grainy film. Plenty of room to dream!

I'd previously been quite keen on seeing this fillum, with its homoerotic battle-scenes. I really, really want to see it now.

Sheesh, I thought the football thread was a tortuous comparison.

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NLD

Brilliant!

Now I'll definately watch the movie!

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GBR

Capatriot, one doesn't want to get into an historical p*ssing contest but your comment below is laughable.

"By the way, Persia won the battle (which some of the posters seem to forget!). They could have rolled over the rest of the Greek cities with little trouble at that point. However, the empire calculated that the "victory" was more costly than could be justified by the prize and called off the rest of the campaign. Sound familiar?"

Pur-lease. If one is going to pick up other posters on their lack of historical knowledge, or criticise Hollywood for yet another "historical" film which bears little relationship to fact, then at least have the decency to have a nodding acquaintance with the facts yourself.

Xerxes did not call off the campaign after his "victory" at Thermopylae. Ever hear of Salamis? Plataea? Mycale? Minor matters of course.....

If you are desperate to find modern political capital in events 2,500 years ago you might rest with noting that Xerxes was unable to mount further foreign adventures due to political unrest at home. One area that I'm sure many would not mind history repeating itself.

As it is your post is worthy of a place in this thread here - http://talk.guardian.co.uk/WebX?14@Glaring historical errors you just can't overlook@.775e6642/0

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GBR

Frank Miller is rapidly becoming the Christopher Hitchens of comics.

I'd complain that the movie leaves out the Spartans' penchant for boy-buggering -- expect, of course, SeerTaak insists that none of that went on in ancient Greece, and who am I to argue with such a historical authority?!

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USA

I'm boycotting this movie for it's blatant bigotry and stereotyping. As an amatuer bodybuilder, I find its depictions of people with ripped ab muscles as being warlike, highly offensive.

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GBR

@@socialismisfeudalism
Com No. 483899 ... Muslims offended...again...who cares?

Teh77: You are such an ignorant...what has Islam got anything to do with ancient Persia (2500 years ago) ...

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GBR

"Iran is an animal blighted by the sin of national pride, but it rarely bites unless it has been kicked first."

Be careful...why, that almost sounds like a threat.

Why exactly should Iranians have more of a problem with this than the English with Braveheart or the British with The Patriot?

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USA

psyops posted

If the film had glorified Trojans the Vatican would have objected"

What on earth is the link between the Vatican and Troy?
I know the Laocoon complex is in the Vatican Museum and Virgil wrote the Aeneid in Rome..but still...do enlighten us.


hi psyops


http://www.trojancondoms.com/
http://www.slate.com/id/2150552/fr/rss/

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GBR

Zeppo, please don't pollute this thread with your disgusting apologia for the terrorist, Sylvester Stalone.

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GBR

"..Mahmood Ahmadinejad of Iran called the movie a psychological assault on the Iranian nation.."
COMMENT:
Sorry Islamic priest, but this movie is a psychological assault on what Mahmood Ahmadinejad and other retrograde religious idiots try to make of Iranian nation - every person with brains is able to understand this, - first/foremost Iranians themselves.

"..We love nothing more than to daydream of a time when Pax Iranica had pacified half the known world - where we were the magnanimous and wise overlords.."
COMMENT:
OK it might seem like a successful piece of irony, but wait a minute - Hizbullah.. Mahdi Army.. arming, training, financing terrorists in Arabic Palestine - if all these aren't practical efforts aimed at "Pax Iranica", then.. what is that?

"..This means that all the analysis that sees an "Islamic" threat or civilisational conflict between imaginary constructs called the west and radical Islam is plain wrong...
TRANSLATION:
Hey kuffar! Listen -
1. There is no "Islamic threat".
2. There is no "civilisational conflict" (civilization will be perfectly fine..)
3. "West" is imaginary construction.
4. "Radical Islam" is imaginary construction.
5. note well - "Islam" isn't imaginary construction.
6. So we excluded what we excluded, and what is left - right, - Islam is the equivalent of civilization. Those who don't accept Islam, won't have good destiny.

"..Iran is an animal blighted by the sin of national pride, but it rarely bites unless it has been kicked first.."
TRANSLATION:
..Just dare to interfere in, or oppose to, the cause and matter of national pride.. You will feel pity then..

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GBR

What about the Thespians? Everyone seems to forget that in the last stand there were about 300 Thespians who refused the offer from Leonidas to retreat and insisted, despite knowing that it meant their certain death, to enjoy the last day's play. Now, I don't know whether or not Thespians back then were like our Stage savvy Thespians today, but I like to think so.

And there was another group of Greeks with Leonidas and the Spartans - Thebans I think - and Leonidas hated them and refused them permission to retreat with all the other Greeks and forced them into the first line of battle on the final day - and they were the first to die. According to Herodotus - who is not our only source since we learn about these events and their psychological effect on Xerxes from the great Athenian playwrights too - but I happen to think Herodotus is pretty good and rather more accurate than some classical historians seem to think him.

Someone mentioned Marathon and Xerxes. Dummy! Marathon involved Darius - the father of Xerxes.

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GBR

MrDismal: "Someone mentioned Marathon and Xerxes. Dummy! Marathon involved Darius - the father of Xerxes."

Guilty as charged - post in haste, repent at leisure.

Doubtless my ancient history teacher would be in a state of apoplexy if he heard one of his students came out with that kind of blunder. Though 3 words he taught will always stick in my mind ...

... beware of hindsight.

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GBR

Some posts on this thread appear to believe that anyone who enjoys 300 also harbours a desire to recreate Sparta in Budleigh Salterton or somesuch, where no doubt it will sit uneasily alongside other movie-inspired para-societies such as the Star Wars Empire (just outside Exeter), Gotham City (formerly Norwich), and Hobbiton (somewhere in Oxfordshire).

Anyway, Steven Seagall could kick those Spartans' butts. He'd pretend to be a chef and then he'd bash that Leonidas with a ladle and a hard-arse aikido hotshoe shuffle.

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GBR

I'm going to disagree with just about everyone here, and say that the success of the movie (and it's very successful) is actually very telling with respect to recent, and perhaps future, history.

If you look at the last 4 comparable sword and sandals blockbusters (both Alexanders, Troy, Kingdom of Heaven), all were flops. All those movies had complicated messages, a basic tension between showing violence for amusement while stating that violence was a bad thing, and an essentially unhappy ending.

All were produced by a small group of men who had an idea that the product they were making was something that would sell in the american market, and so make money and further their careers.

In that, they resemble the Iraq war. Like them, that product has flopped in the US marketplace, the biggest turkey since Ishtar. Nobody wants to buy a confused moral message like trying to do good by violent means, and getting corpses instead of flowers.

300 is different - violence is to be glorified in, the enemy are to be demonised (not just black skin, not just scarring, but horns), and _there is no obligation at all to perform good acts in order to be the good guys_. Success in war is sufficient justification for any of the iniquities of spartan society (which the film glories in, down to the throwing weak babies off cliffs). Just say the name of your country after you murder someone, and it's not a crime, not something the story of the film needs to punish: this is SPARTA.

All of this is on record as having been taken by Frank Miller from the works of Victor Hanson, notably Carnage and Culture.

http://victordavishanson.pajamasmedia.com/

'Ultimately the film takes a moral stance, Herodotean in nature: there is a difference, an unapologetic difference between free citizens who fight for eleutheria and imperial subjects who give obeisance. We are not left with the usual postmodern quandary �who are the good guys� in a battle in which the lust for violence plagues both sides. In the end, the defending Spartans are better, not perfect, just better than the invading Persians, and that proves good enough in the end. And to suggest that unambiguously these days has perhaps become a revolutionary thing in itself.'

Question is, the next time someone wants to sell a war product to the american people, what will happen if they take '300' and not 'Three Kings' as the basis for their prospectus?

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USA

Mea Culpa ... partially!

Kittenkong is absolutely right when he/she wrote "Xerxes did not call off the campaign after his "victory" at Thermopylae." No, they went ahead and sacked and burned some Greek cities on the mainland and lost the battle of Salamis on the sea. Xerxes decided to pull back the bulk of his forces over the famous ship pontoon bridge, after which the remaining Persian forces were beaten by the Greeks.

I do still maintain that Thermopylae was a victory (of sorts) and that, if the empire had thought the Greek lands were worth it, they would have mustered another huge navy and eventually (probably with great losses) would have won. But exhaustion back home thankfully scuppered that.

I would indeed not mind if the current world empire would reevaluate the benefits vs costs of its imperial adventures and decide to come back home.

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GBR

300 is clearly propaganda. I was aware of the reference to the modern day. The Spartans are clearly US marines, clean shaven many of them, professional soldiers who chant like marines. The Persians are unmistakably Islamic jihadists, lots of close up of veiled terrorists with only the threatening eyes showing (lots of eyes piercing the darkness in this film, along with torches).

Historically it's probably crap, missing out uncomfortable details for it's target mid west american redneck audience, like the Spartan armies homosexual culture and the sheer militarism of Sparta which was somewhat at odds with Greek civilisation at the time. Sparta itself was regarded with suspicion by other Greeks: they obviously knew nutters when they saw them.

The director Zack Snyder may have a particular interest in subversively displaying Persian (Iranian, Iraqi, arabs generally) as the bad guys. And casting a bad impression of Sean Connery in the lead was a mistake, although there are so many accents in this film, Scottish, American, clipped English and I swear at one point broad Welsh, that it doesn't raise too many chuckles.

The last time I saw such blatant symbolism was Lemony Snickett. The end credits of that film are practically a beginners guide to.....this and that.

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GBR

We are offended as we have been since the Greek Herodotus portrayed Iranians as barbarians. We are offended as your current regimes can invade nations, mass murder 100s and thousands of innocent civilians, nuke countries, yet portray Iran and middle-east as the barbarians. We are offended as history is constantly rewritten by the so called victor to show factious events that were far from reality. To brain wash the ignorant in believing that west is civilised and the rest barbarians. In fact the wars between Greece, Rome and Iran do not reflect the entire relationship we had with the then west. Consider the time scales that these civilisations have been around. In fact there was a great deal of trade, cultural and scientific exchanges which is hardly written about. It is for this reason that Iranians see that west today lead by US has not changed its ways. We have the right to be offended.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YebB4nVw_Mg


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USA

It may merely be coincidence,but it appears the director and the producers all have..exotic.. surnames.
However I'm all for cinematic freedom and maybe the people who own the means of distribution in the land of the free, will allow us to see the Turkish film, "The Valley of the Wolves", a film decreed to be unfair to sensitive marines and other military personnel.

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GRC

Well RogerInTheUsa,
you got me there...
Having been taught ancient greek history and literature 3 times over during my school years, not to mention working the Iliad and the Odyssey during junior high, I failed to see the connection between Trojans and condoms...a clear indication Greece has to urgently diversify its nationalist school history curriculum in today's globalised world...

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GBR

And another thing ...

But first - kakihara - apology accepted - and I like your point about hindsight - for it can as you suggest be very dangerous - it certainly is where financial market statistics are concerned because all too often people make the mathematical mistake of thinking that because they've found one particular pattern that fits historical data that that particular pattern is right - whereas each new pattern one can think of reduces the probability that any particular pattern that fits is right - or - let me put it this way - if there are a thousand possible patterns and one of them fits what's happened then - and the chance of that was a thousand to one - then it's almost certainly just by chance that it fits what's happened - this problem bedevils medical statistics because the more patterns one looks for the more chance there is that you find a pattern that fits by random chance - and thus deludes you into thinking you've found a real cause and effect link when all you've actually found is a perfectly normal random coincidence -

... some poster earlier suggested that Xerxes turned up in Greece - changed his mind about what would be a good plan from an economic point of view - and then wandered off back home again - relatively unperturbed. If Herodotus is anywhere near being right it was a lot worse than that. We think that Xerxes lost not only 90 percent of his three million strong invasion force but nearly all of the close friends and relatives that came with him. The numbers are disputed. Everyone thinks Herodotus is wrong about the large numbers but accepts that his invasion force drank rivers dry and after the battle of Salamis in which the Athenians destroyed their navy (smart move that - using the newly discovered silver mines near Athens to pay for building warships just in time to fend off the Persians - well done Pericles) had no proper military lines of communication (like Napoleon after he got to Moscow) and was doomed.

So hey - look at US/UK lines of communication on a map and weep - especially re this whole revisit of ancient history and Persia. Who's got the good lines of military communication this time? I'm UK and I say our lines of communication have always looked v. v. bad to me.

Doesn't it all stand on its head? Persians screw up their lines of communication and Leonidas shocks them, the Athenians sink all their boats, and the Persians suffer a totally unexpected military defeat. UK/US screw up their lines of communication and the insurgents shock them, the Persians close the Straits of Hormuz, and the UK/US suffers a totally unexpected military defeat.

Yuk!

This is foresight and I hope I'm wrong.

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USA

psyops posted
GRC
Well RogerInTheUsa,
you got me there...
Having been taught ancient greek history and literature 3 times over during my school years, not to mention working the Iliad and the Odyssey during junior high, I failed to see the connection between Trojans and condoms...a clear indication Greece has to urgently diversify its nationalist school history curriculum in today's globalised world...


hi psyops

also points up the difference between a classical education and high-school level humor....

.. in my defence, they are heavily advertised, have a 70 percent market share, are ubiquitous in drug stores and supermarkets and therefore are what spring to mind when I hear the word Trojans.

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CAN

Sheikratanroll:
"It may merely be coincidence,but it appears the director and the producers all have..exotic.. surnames."

Now this sounds like more authentic Iranian film critique

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GBR

On the strength of this thread, I've changed my opinion from "It looks pretty good" to "I might well go and see it if I've got a spare couple of hours."

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USA

Is Ahmadinejad denouncing this homoerotic children's film really any more silly than MPs raising in the Commons the question of the "imprisonment" of fictional Coronation Street character Deidre Rashid?

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GBR

The scottish accents of the spartans, incidentally, is probably not a coincidence. There's this whole theory on the US right that a specific Scots-Ulster warrior culture, a Sparta to New York's Athens, is what makes america great.

http://www.amazon.com/Born-Fighting-Scots-Irish-Shaped-America/dp/product-description/0767916883

More than 27 million Americans today can trace their lineage to the Scots, whose bloodline was stained by centuries of continuous warfare along the border between England and Scotland, and later in the bitter settlements of England�s Ulster Plantation in Northern Ireland. Between 250,000 and 400,000 Scots-Irish migrated to America in the eighteenth century, traveling in groups of families and bringing with them not only long experience as rebels and outcasts but also unparalleled skills as frontiersmen and guerrilla fighters. Their cultural identity reflected acute individualism, dislike of aristocracy and a military tradition, and, over time, the Scots-Irish defined the attitudes and values of the military, of working class America, and even of the peculiarly populist form of American democracy itself.

....

Born Fighting shows that the Scots-Irish were 40 percent of the Revolutionary War army; they included the pioneers Daniel Boone, Lewis and Clark, Davy Crockett, and Sam Houston; they were the writers Edgar Allan Poe and Mark Twain; and they have given America numerous great military leaders, including Stonewall Jackson, Ulysses S. Grant, Audie Murphy, and George S. Patton, as well as most of the soldiers of the Confederacy (only 5 percent of whom owned slaves, and who fought against what they viewed as an invading army).


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USA

Dear Mr. Golsorkhi,

You have stated that "Islamic revolution and Shia Islam are two of many expressions of Iranian nationalism".

This statement is incorrect, because according to my Iranian friends, the Iranian revolution WAS NOT an Islamic revolution. In fact, as soon as Shah left the country and it became apparent that the islamists were to overtake the power structure, there was another revolution underway to oust the fanatic religious forces.

However, as you know, this second revolution never materialized since the Arabs invaded Iran, spearheaded by Saddami forces. This gave the islamists to kill as many patriotic Iranians at the front rather than having to deal with them inside the capital Tehran. Hence the islamists found the opportunity to credit the revolution to an islamic ideology rather than its real cause, which was Iranians having been awakend to the reign of a Shah who knew the snowy slopes of Saint Moritz better than any street in his capital; a Shah who had amassed over 20 Billion dollars of petroleum money in his own name, while the streets of south Tehran dropped miilions of gallons of floodwater into the homes of the poor, and a country that suffered one of the worst transportaion structures in the world. At the same time when this was happening in Iran, Turkey, a country a fraction of the size of Iran which did not have a single drop of oil and had a population twice that of Iran had developed a transportaion system comparable to that of Germany. To summarize, Iranians had been awakened to a tyrant ruler who saw nothing past his immediate family and the military that was tasked to protect him and this was why the revolution happened.

To indicate that the revolution per se happened because of nationalistic feelings is false. Worse than that, to indicate that the roots of the revolution were Islamic is another slap in the Iranian people's face.Shah was a corrupt and selfish leader and he had to go. Pure and simple.

With respect to the movie 300, let that not bother you. Hollywood has been making movies that shows the German military depfeated in every battle. According to Hollywood, if you go through all the movies they have made about the second world war, the Germans did not win a single battle, and the darn thing happened only 70 years ago. How do you think they are going to tell the story of a battle that happened in 300 B.C.?

But to argue your point, if there is anyone who believes in the story told by this movie, then I beg someone to prove that they can actually enslave a Persian, and the Iranians, should prove what they claim, which is that they have never held slaves and they have never been slaves to anyone.

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USA

Parsi:
How do you say "overreaction" in farsi? The majority of people that like this movie probably think Persia is somewhere in Africa. BTW why didn't you get this mad over Xena Warrior Princess?

Prepare for more insults! We are sending our women to fight you!

"TV GUIDE PROMO
Xena must hold off an entire Persian army single-handed---and also tend to Gabrielle, who's been struck by a poison arrow."

http://www.whoosh.org/epguide/army.html

http://www.tv.com/xena-warrior-princess/show/698/summary.html

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GBR

We should also tackle the inherent racism that can be found in the Asterix books. The portrayal of the French as violent, boar-munching savages and the Italians as decadent imbeciles has polluted the minds of our children for too long.

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GBR

"We should also tackle the inherent racism that can be found in the Asterix books. The portrayal of the French as violent, boar-munching savages and the Italians as decadent imbeciles has polluted the minds of our children for too long."

Oh come on, you know thats not entirely untrue.

Anyway. For the author: as has been pointed out many times here, its a film based on a comic book. What next? Physicists getting all upset because Superman can fly?

It used to really bother me how the Incredible Hulk could rip all of his clothes off, and then turn back into Banner with a complete set of undamaged clothes. Then I got over it.

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USA

@PatBateman

I knew I chap at uni who assured me with a straight face that Asterix was a fascist.

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USA

ZOTZ
How do you say "overreaction" in farsi? The majority of people that like this movie probably think Persia is somewhere in Africa. BTW why didn't you get this mad over Xena Warrior Princess?

Prepare for more insults! We are sending our women to fight you!
"TV GUIDE PROMO
Xena must hold off an entire Persian army single-handed---and also tend to Gabrielle, who's been struck by a poison arrow."

Hola ZOTZ

So now you're bashing Xena Warrior Princess? You some kind of Xenaphobe?

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GBR

I'm a descendant of the Carthaginians. I'm part Maltese from Malta. If you want to defend the silly idea of "whiteness" of most Europeans then good on you. If you want to defend Islam then screw you.

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GBR

suraci
Comment No. 484093

"..300 is clearly propaganda.."

You bet.

Just compare with propaganda that comes from the other side - mobs burning flags and effiges, hostages begging for mercy, televized beheadings, scenes of mass shootings of blindfolded people, 9/11 hip-hops clips, suicide bombers' tapes, blood streaming on the streets, etc. - all non-staged video-production.

Can we have "300", please?

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USA


I

http://www.iran-press-service.com/ips/moxiepix/a254.jpg

can

http://www.geocities.com/richard.clark32@btinternet.com/fariba1.jpg

understand

http://chromatism.net/current/images/stoning.jpg

why

http://www.mehrangizkar.com/english/azadeh/archive/stoning%20to%20death.jpg

the

http://ordoesit.typepad.com/me/images/noose_1.jpg

Iranians

http://time.blogs.com/photos/uncategorized/gayhangingiran.jpg

are

http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/media/images/40931000/jpg/_40931283_flog203.jpg

unhappy

http://www.pathguy.com/lectures/8186.jpg

about

http://www.homanla.org/New/40.jpg

people

http://www.iranfocus.com/uploads/img42e3a07aaf306.jpg

thinking

http://vwt.d2g.com:8081/iran_hanging.jpg

they
http://www.iranian.com/BTW/2004/September/Hanging/Images/photo.jpg

are

uncivilized

http://www.frontpagemag.com/Media/Homepage/stones2.jpg

when

http://www.faithfreedom.org/Iran/hanging.jpg

they

http://stopfundamentalism.com/images/stories/Execution/edam.jpg

have

http://www.ahwaz.org.uk/images/afrawi-hanging.jpg

a

http://www.ncr-iran.org/images/stories/repression/public-hanging-mass.jpg

religious

http://www.holycrime.com/Images/Sep3002Hangings8.jpg

leader

http://www.chriscam.com/images/photos/iran1.jpg

like

http://www.chriscam.com/images/photos/iran2.jpg

Khatami

http://www.chriscam.com/images/photos/iran3.jpg

in

http://www.chriscam.com/images/photos/iran4.jpg

charge,

http://www.chriscam.com/images/photos/iran5.jpg

stop

http://atlasshrugs2000.typepad.com/atlas_shrugs/images/hanging_3.jpg

insulting

http://www.peacelink.nu/KVINNER/iran_womanexecutionIV.jpg

Iranian

http://www.amnesty.at/aktionen/iran2/iran_hanging.jpg

civilization

http://myrtus.typepad.com/photos/uncategorized/gayhanging.jpg

and

http://www.handsoffcain.info/immagini/2006/07/8325718_sub1.jpg

culture

http://blogs.knoxnews.com/knx/silence/archives/hostage.jpg

now!

http://www.geocities.com/richard.clark32@btinternet.com/shiraz.jpg


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GBR

ZOTZ

It disagree! I don't think that it's an over reaction and I am not suggesting censorship. Although I do question the timing of this movie which coincides with the policies of this administration to demonise nations its planning to bomb and Iran seems to be next. What you must remember is that the public opinion is not shaped through reading free press or based on reason.

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GBR

Correction! There are clearly those here that do read but remain illiterate. Clearly they can not distinguish that its politics, not culture, that is at the heart of clash.

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IRL

I think the comment that compared to getting hysterical over Asterix sums this article up. It's also interesting to note that imperialism seems to be good and worth defending when it's a Middle Eastern empire conquering European.

"The Spartans behave as the archetypal id of the neo-conservative regime changers' ego - uncompromising and unforgiving"

Umm, isn't it the _Persians_ who are doing the regime changing in this movie?

Another article derived from NDS (NeoCon Derangement Syndrome).

P.

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USA

It's just a movie! Fiction, for heaven's sake. Is there any free speech left; or are we to let our entertainment outlets be bullied by fundamentalists or people who can only think in one mindset?

Terrorism is the fear of violence. Many extremists fighting against the Muhammad cartoons or 300 are using violence to try to scare the newspapers or movie studios into not publishing or releasing what they have the right to release. It is their judgment that decides what is put out � not that of the government, the radicals, or any other people.

It's just like when Catholics, among others, protested against the Da Vinci Code. Amazing waste of time and energy on both sides.

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GBR

Unfortunately, any attempt to criticize bias in western media, especially by non-western individuals, is seen by many as an attack on the so-called free will of the west. Although the film 300 may not have specific references to any current regime or government in the middle east (clue: Iran), it does provide the watcher with an intense and panicky sense of being under threat and attack by a savage and merciless army. This, dear reader, whether you will accept it or not is part of a large media propaganda which you may as many millions of others have, fall into the trap of. The film depicts the spartan army as a small minority of 300 soldiers who are ready to fight courageously with the invading (1 million strong)Persian army. Whether the facts of this film truly represent the history in that period is highly questionable, but the film with its striking visual effects puts the watcher in a state of fear and being under seige. Under current international circumstances, people who believe in the war against the 'axis of evil', are forced into a position where they empathise with those courageous Spartans fighting till the last drop of blood. Therefore, it is not surprising to find that 300 broke box office records in America on March 9, 2007. Overall, the watcher exits the cinema with a strengthened mentality of being threatened by an unpredictable evil lurking behind them, or even next to them or perhaps more specifically in the middle east. In conclusion, it is up to the individual whether they want to sit and absorb western media propaganda or develop a more critical mind and question the ideologies of the so-called free democratic western media. Personally, i prefer the latter as i refuse my own ideas and opinions to be dictated- dictation of my opinions and ideas shall only occur by consideration of all facts.

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GBR

Unfortunately, any attempt to criticize bias in western

media, especially by non-western individuals, is seen by

many as an attack on the so-called free will of the west.

Although the film 300 may not have specific references to

any current regime or government in the middle east (clue:

Iran), it does provide the watcher with an intense and

panicky sense of being under threat and attack by a savage

and merciless army. This, dear reader, whether you will

accept it or not is part of a large media propaganda which

you may as many millions of others have, fall into the trap

of. The film depicts the spartan army as a small minority

of 300 soldiers who are ready to fight courageously with

the invading (1 million strong)Persian army. Whether the

facts of this film truly represent the history in that

period is highly questionable, but the film with its

striking visual effects puts the watcher in a state of fear

and being under seige. Under current international

circumstances, people who believe in the war against

the 'axis of evil', are forced into a position where they

empathise with those courageous Spartans fighting till the

last drop of blood. Therefore, it is not surprising to find

that 300 broke box office records in America on March 9,

2007. Overall, the watcher exits the cinema with a

strengthened mentality of being threatened by an

unpredictable evil lurking behind them, or even next to

them or perhaps more specifically in the middle east. In

conclusion, it is up to the individual whether they want to

sit and absorb western media propaganda or develop a more

critical mind and question the ideologies of the so-called

free democratic western media. Personally, i prefer the

latter as i refuse my own ideas and opinions to be

dictated- dictation of my opinions and ideas shall only

occur by consideration of all facts.

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From the write ups this film sounds really good,i will go and watch it.

some great trailers out for it too, here's one where one of the Sparta Heroes kicks some dodgy looking bloke down a well think it's a parsian?.

looks really good:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wZm52UrkDpA

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GBR

MOliphant

How your acquaintance could descirbe the de facto leader of a small village of indomitable Gauls that still held out against the Roman invaders as a 'fascist' (derived from the ancient Roman symbol of power: fasces) I don't know.

Perhaps he was misled by Tortuous Convolvulus, the Roman agent, who was sent by Julius Caesar to sow discord in Asterix's village, by convincing the villagers that Asterix had sold them out to the Romans.

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GBR

Pluh-ease, just RELAX!

From what I've read, this film is a fun and spectacular effort with lots of musclebound half-naked Spartans. It's about something that happened 2000 years ago; and please do NOT bring in the Danish cartoons, this is not even about a revered founder of a religion like Mohammed.

This article is an example of parallel activism. To the original writer - if you're so worried about the demonisation of Iran by the West, write something about that; don't get all hyper-sensitive about a film. Why can't you write what you really think? That Iran is being demonised by Bush? Are we such sensitive souls that you have to present your protest sugar-coated in the context of a mass-media product? Or are you just riding on an existing media event?

But parallel activism has its own momentum. You write this article; people like Seer Taak write nonsense about it; people like me write other stuff in opposition. And it's all nothing to do with the real issue.

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GBR

Politics? Timing? Do me a quaver. Pre production on a CGI film this large takes time and is hardly likely to produce a result which dovetails into American foreign policy on purpose. What happened? George Bush ordered someone to make this film? Come on...

A simplistic story about a small number of 'good' guys defeating a large number of 'bad' guys in a very big fight. Where have I seen that before? Dambusters, Starship Troopers, The Lord OF The Rings, The Untouchables, The Matrix, Star Wars.... its probably the biggest movie formula after 'boy meets girl'. Anyone who thinks this is a conspiracy is doing so on purpose.

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USA

Actually, I found the movie "Starship Troopers" to be a fairly witty tongue-in-cheek satire of all the tough-guy macho military adventure movies.

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NOR

I wonder if 'The Pathfinder', which is screening in Malaysia, Russia and Mexico and slated for a much-delayed US release on April 27, will a attract similar outcry? There, Norse Iron Age settlers on Newfoundland are portrayed as dumb, 10 ft monsters who look and behave like the Uruk-Hai in Tolkien. They ride horses (mysteriously transported across the ocean) and wear bizarre masks and hides as they kidnap, rape and massacre the noble Native Americans for sport. The actual Norsemen who braved the Atlantic 500 years before Columbus were peaceful farmers and fishermen who, according to Erik's saga and the Saga of the Greenlanders, were attacked and driven off by the warlike natives. Somehow though, I can't see Norwegians or Danes dispatching furious missives about the racist portrayal of their ancestors. Perhaps some are more thin-skinned than others.

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USA

I've yet to see "300", but then I've not seen "Valley of the Wolves -- Iraq" either. (Both movies are apparently inspired by real events.)

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USA

soru
GBR
The scottish accents of the spartans, incidentally, is probably not a coincidence. There's this whole theory on the US right that a specific Scots-Ulster warrior culture, a Sparta to New York's Athens, is what makes america great.


hi soru
Americans probably can't tell Scots-Ulster accents from other British Isle accents. I think they use Brit accents in sword 'n sandal movies because it would seem sort of incongruous to have Spartans sounding like Americans.
"Tell Xerxes fugeddaboudit!" or "y'all tell Xerxes we ain't interested" I suppose it must seem strange to people in NI to have the Spartans sound like them

I notice that in this clip
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yBWRORn5sFI&NR
Xerxes has a faintly Puerto Rican accent

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CYM

So, to paraphrase Herodotus, these Persians - they don't like it up 'em?

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IND

Please let us NOT have censorhip! Shashi Tharoor was moaning in an Indian newspaper about the depiction of Brahmins, most of whom are vegetarian, eating rats and snakes in an Indiana Jones film. It is hilarious. The best way to deal with perceived insults is to laugh.

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GBR

TEACUP

I agree no censorship but a casual glance at the film will reassure you that that GOLSORKHI is dead right.

Its pro US bull.And look at how people are already using it .Below is a perfect example.

.

ShatterFace

.

## This German propoganda from the 30s RE the Holocaust that Iranians deny happened ##


.

No war against IRAN.

No stupid posts on CIF pre empting and forgiving it.

B

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USA

A gore fest, maybe. Racist - it is almost painful to respond to that charge in particular, not to mention this inane article as a whole.

Why is it racist to show a battle from the point of view of the Spartans? Do you think that the Spartans - or any sane person, about to fight to the death, humanizes the enemy and then engages in p.c. speak so not to hurt anyone's feelings? Would the film be more realistic if it had a soliloquy where King Leonidas praised the virtues of the Persian population before the battle? And you think that, because the film does not show something that unrealistic, it makes the film racist? What idiocy.

And there is nothing wrong with showing the Battle of Thermopolaye. It was only that battle - with the bravery of those Spartans - that kept Athens from being burned to the ground by Persia. In other words, but for the ultimate sacrifice of the Spartans, we would not have inherited the philosophy of the Greeks and the political form of democracy. I think that the battle deserves to be immortalized, and I really could care less what some theocrats in Iran or some multiculturalists in the West think about it.

As to the author's reference to Dana Stevens, I am continuously entertained by multiculturalists who attempt to take all historical events out of context and then reinterpret them in terms of their own modern - usually utopian - moral view. Only then is the multiculturalist able to retain the historical example as supportive of their own tender p.c. thought or to discard and demonize it. Historical context has no meaning for a multiculturalist such as Ms. Stevens. Before condemning this entertaining film as racist, I suggest she take a look at all those World War II posters dehumanizing the Nazis and the Japanese. It is human nature to dehumanize one's enemy before going into battle. That is not racist.

Obviously, there is nothing about the 300 that can fit into the multiculturalist milieu. At any rate, I find this author's ridiculous dribble to be mildly amusing, but nowhere near as entertaining as the movie. HOOOAH - (and yes, as a former U.S. Infantry officer, I can assure you that is exactly what we say)

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USA

mnsalens,

Thank you for your post. Indeed, no matter how savage the movie tries to portray the Iranians, it seems that the CURRENT REALITY puts the savagry potrayed in the movie to shame. I have not seen the movie, but I don't think in the movie any teenagers were hung to their deaths as the links you have posted show.

Thank you for exposing the Iranian regime for what they are.

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USA

Teacup posted
IND
Please let us NOT have censorhip! Shashi Tharoor was moaning in an Indian newspaper about the depiction of Brahmins, most of whom are vegetarian, eating rats and snakes in an Indiana Jones film. It is hilarious. The best way to deal with perceived insults is to laugh.


Hi Teacup
I don't think most Americans realized they were Brahmins, or that they are vegetarian.

You've got to admit that there really is something disgusting about eating raw rats and snakes that have not been properly ground up, cooked, and served with catsup on a sesame seed bun.

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300 was an enjoyable cartoon.

Watching the Iranians' futile sputtering and frothing is even more fun.

Three cheers for insensitivty and offensiveness!

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NZL

Helots were brutally oppressed (the Spartans declared war on them once a year so they could kill any they liked without the law getting involved). The Spartans were very weird fascist-communists. Fascinating culture, though.

I don't expect realism in a comic or a cartoon, however. And this one has no more to do with modern politics than "Troy" or "Alexander" or "Gladiator". (An accurate docu-drama based in Sparta would be interesting, that said.)

I just think it's sad that people are hanging on obsessively to these identities from thousands of years ago. Probably one in five hundred Westerners knows about the connections between Iran and Persia. Let it go.

It's like getting worked up about oppression of orcs in Lord of the Rings. Except the orcs were more realistically depicted.

However, you could have written a general piece about glorification of war and the military, which I'm sure was what was actually behind the studio's green light for the film.

American "support for the troops" is like a religion - all the more so because only lip-service is required.

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GBR

@ Mujokan - "(An accurate docu-drama based in Sparta would be interesting, that said.)"

There is one. http://www.amazon.co.uk/Spartans/dp/B0002PC25Y/ref=pd_ka_3/202-2390722-9243841?ie=UTF8&s=dvd&qid=1174374397&sr=8-3

It was broadcast a few years ago - fascinating stuff.

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GBR

mnsalens...you deliberately forgot to add the G'bay and Abu Graib images....

aplogies for the following links....but some poeple here seem to have a very short term memory span...

http://www.antiwar.com/news/?articleid=2444

http://www.salon.com/news/feature/2006/02/16/abu_ghraib/

http://www.albasrah.net/images/iraqi-pow/iraqi-pow1.htm

http://www.thememoryhole.org/war/iraqis_tortured/

http://www.smh.com.au/news/world/photos-us-doesnt-want-seen/2006/02/14/1139890737099.html

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/in_pictures/4716280.stm

some of you lot get sexual satisfaction from these images...how sick can you be...and you are supposed to be the more civilised one!!!! get real...no body is perfect...

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GBR

Yes, and what about the Lord of the Rings, eh? The sub-text of that was obvious. The Aryan race in the ascendant where they belong!

And what about the Magic Roundabout(rubbish movie version), eh? Clearly, nothing to do with cute puppets and everything to do with middle class angst about drug use amongst the proles! (Actually that might be true)

And what about Gladiator, eh? Bloody Italians!

And don't even get me started on Shrek...

Come on Masoud, I'm sure, in time, this movie will be seen in the context of "the world view, mind set and emotional temperature of the people who made them and the time they were made." Of course it will, no one lives in a vacuum, including film makers. But to suggest that it can be compared to the Eternal Jew which was out and out vile Nazi propaganda is just fatuous.

You've also trotted out the age old argument that the only people who can 'survive' a movie like 300 are people like you who are intellectually and morally enlightened way above the lumpen masses. Well, as a member of the masses, I'm going to see the movie at the weekend and I'm sure I'll come out of it without the urge to invade a sovereign country (unless it's France).

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GBR

If you really want to present Iran as a civilised country you'd probably be best avoiding conclusions like 'Iran is an animal blighted by the sin of national pride, but it rarely bites unless it has been kicked first.'

Likening the country to a wild animal probably isn't the smartest move and I doubt that that sentence would have been allowed if written by a Western writer.

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GBR

Greeks and Iranians are the same race. Greeks are genetically closer to Iranians than they are to the English.

page 75, The History and Geography of Human Genes, Luca Cavalli-Sforza et al.

Fst distance.

Greek - Iranian 70
Greek - English 204

page 76, Nei's distance

Greek - Iranian 11
Greek - English 34

The English are the same race as Iranians too.

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GBR

You had me at "racist gore-fest".

Can't wait to see it.

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i think quite a lot of people here underestimate the power of film. Under a dictatorship/oppressive regime of any kind one of the first things to come under their direct administration are cinemas, directors, studios etc. i'm not saying the US is a dictatorship or that the US government, CIA etc have anything to do with 300's production, all I'm trying to point out is that cinema is one of the most effective tools for influencing people. if you have the money and an agenda, you can produce a film.

Try watching Triumph of the Will by Leni Riefenstahl. This film can only be watched here in Germany in an educational context. You have to have an introduction to it, then you can watch it (only at a library) and afterwards you have to talk about it. This isn't because young Germans today are any more likely to turn to right-wing extremism than, lets say young English people are to the BNP. It's because the film is in itself so dangerous.

300 is more than likely nothing in comparison to this. I haven't watched it so can't really comment. Some people here have described it as "a cartoon" and therefore cannot be linked to any real life situations. Well Animal Farm by George Orwell didnt lose any of its impact by being based in fantasy.

Whether or not 300 is worth discussing is something I will have to decide on if/when I see the film. The trouble is is that even the worst films can have an impact. I can still remember a large number of British people being more than a little annoyed with U571 for example despite the fact that it was terrible. I would find it interesting to know how many people around the world now think the Americans captured the Enigma machine. Or Saving Private Ryan where you can get the impression that the Second WOrld War was entirely won thanks to the Americans and that they had to put up with some incompetent Brits, who insisted on driving their tanks in front of German Tigers even after having been told it was there.

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GBR

Can the average Guardian Blogger/Journo look at ANYTHING and see racism? It would appear so.

We had this crap when Narnia came out. All of a sudden The Guardian decided that it was a Christian Fundamentalist movie and the only reason that it had been made was to soften up us westerners for mulitiple attacks on evil Muslim nations.

As someone who had read the books and seen the film all this Christianity crap had gone completely over my head. I asked many other people who had either seen the film, read the book, or both. Not one had noticed the Christian thread.

I know The Guardian likes to encourage it's readers to 'read betweeen the lines' and 'never accept the obvious' but the fact remains that if you take the 'alternative' view every single time, you're going to be wrong most of the time (Codpiece's law).

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NLD

Well, at least here in the West we see both the movie 300 and The Protocols of the Elders of Zion as works of fiction.

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GBR

Masoud claims to be Iranian - one can only presume educational standards have slipped under the mullahs.

As PresterJohn points out above, Persians are the same "race" as the Greeks and the rest of the western peoples. They also speak an Indo-European language, and back then before they were colonised by the Arabs, would have had a strongly Indo-European culture.

Of course, if you are a weak writer without many ideas, perhaps squeaking racism might get you into print (well, the next best thing).

Of course, Masoud is one of these people who affects to despise the West but wouldn't live anywhere else. He certainly won't ever live in Iran, with Iranians and their Iranian ways. Ewww, gross, as he might say.

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GBR

Err, who cares what Iran thinks anyway. Iran "rarely bites unless it has been kicked first"? Who are they going to bite? They don't have any teeth.

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GBR

Whao...

All these comments and you might end up thinking that movie could be good... but no, it's 300... I've only seen the trailor and that was enough to convince me not to bother going to the cinema and not to bother renting the dvd when it will be out.
Troy was utter rubbish, so bad I don't even know where to start and 300 looks like pretty much the same and it even manages to look even less historical ( and more hysterical ) than Troy which is quite an achievement.

I feel sorry for the Iranian government taking offense in this. It's a sh*tty movie that doesn't deserve all this attention. And those who see any sort of historical insight in this movie are clearly deluded. As if Hollywood has ever produced a decent historic movie; they even change fairytales to make sure there is a "happy ending"...

It's as funny as saying that the USA looks like The Empire from Star Wars!! ( actually it does a bit...)

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GBR

Thanks for the tip, I wouldn't otherwise have gone out to see this film. It sounds brilliant.

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"Many people remember reading George Orwell's "Animal Farm" in high school or college, with its chilling finale in which the farm animals looked back and forth at the tyrannical pigs and the exploitative human farmers but found it "impossible to say which was which."

That ending was altered in the 1955 animated version, which removed the humans, leaving only the nasty pigs. Another example of Hollywood butchering great literature? Yes, but in this case the film's secret producer was the Central Intelligence Agency. "

http://www.commondreams.org/headlines/031800-02.htm


If it was happening then, why not now?


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GBR

Flashingblade: "Yes, and what about the Lord of the Rings, eh? The sub-text of that was obvious. The Aryan race in the ascendant where they belong!"

Anyone ever read Michael Moorcock's essay, Wizardy and Wild Romance? He does a fantastic demolition-job on Tolkein, not so much as a racist but as a classist - Sauron and his gang filling the role of "the mob" hurling beer cans over the garden wall of middle England (the Shire).

Anyway, if Iran wants to get uppity over something as trivial as 300, why not LOTR's generic "swarthy" baddies.

As for me, I'm gearing myself up to get offended when the Elric films are finally made - a psychological assault on albinos ...

... or black swords ...

... or maybe even people who marry their cousins.

And I'm sure Ahmadinejad can have a field-day with the Pan- Tangians ...

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AUS

haggistani
(ages ago, but I've only recently seen this thread)

"The Iranians forfeited any interest in or claim to their Persian ancestors when they converted to Islam."

Well, yes, just as the Greeks forfeited any interest in or claim to their Ancient Greek ancestors when they converted to Christianity. (So there's no need to fret about those Elgin Marbles...)

Of course movies are full of crude and misleading stereotypes, whether national, racial, sexual or individual (Mozart for one). You could hardly censor them all if you wanted to, and I certainly don't want to. Perhaps they can provoke some intelligent discussion (though this thread inspires no more than partial confidence in that notion) - maybe help some history teachers get students to think of different sorts of questions.

Maybe also, as Teacup suggests with her usual gentle wisdom, sometimes the best thing is just to laugh at the absurdity.

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GBR

PlasticGypsies - "I've only seen the trailor ... It's a sh*tty movie that doesn't deserve all this attention."

Right ... it's rated 8.2/10 (41,881 votes) and #201 best film of all time on IMDB. Yet you, who has "only seen the trailer", feel qualified to condemn it as a "sh*tty movie that doesn't deserve all this attention"? Oh dear, try to engage your brain before you post a comment please.

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IND

RogerInTheUSA,

I shall pass on your recipes for snakes and rats and so on to those who eat them.

Seriously, depiction of India and Indians in many western books and films are hilarious, begining with the fact that the authors usually come a cropper over our names, which have regional, religious and ethnic components to them. I could laugh or cry, so I laugh.

My pet writer at the moment is one Tom Clancy, who I am given to understand has iconic status in the US. I am afraid that, had I not known so many Americans, it would have seriously dented my opinion of that nation.

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NLD

Mr. Golsorkhi, the father of history, Herodotus, described the battle in following way:

So soon as the sun was risen Xerxes made libations; and about the time when the market begins to fill he commanded that the army should advance. This he had been bidden to do by Ephialtes, because the way for them that descended the mountain was shorter by far than the way for them that ascended. Now when the Persians were seen to approach, Leonidas and his companions, as knowing that their end was near, went further than they had gone on the days before into that part which is broader. For before they had been wont to guard the wall, and advancing therefrom to fight in the narrows of the Pass. But now they joined battle with the barbarians in the open space, slaying great multitudes of them. As for these indeed the captains of their companies standing behind them and having great whips, drave them forward. And many were thrust into the sea by the press and so perished; and many were trodden down by their companions. Nor did any one take any count of them that perished. And the Greeks, knowing that death was at hand, now that the barbarians had come round over the mountains, recked not of their lives, but fought with rage that was beyond all measure. By this time the spears of the greater part were already broken, so that they smote down the Persians with their swords. While they thus fought King Leonidas was slain, having done many deeds of valor; and there fell many other Spartans with him, men of renown. Many famous Persians also were slain at this time, and among them were two sons of Darius. And there was an exceeding fierce fight between the Spartans and Persians concerning the body of Leonidas; but in the end the Spartans prevailed, so great was their valor, and carried it away, and they drave back the Persians four times. But when the Greeks perceived that the Persians that followed Ephialtes were at hand, they returned to the narrows of the Pass, beyond the wall, and gathered themselves together in the company on the mound that is at the entering in of the Pass, where in aftertime there was set a lion of stone over the grave of King Leonidas. Here such as had swords yet remaining to them unbroken, defended themselves with them; and the rest fought with their hands and teeth, till at the last the barbarians, some pulling down the walls and assailing them in front and others surrounding them on every side, overwhelmed them with stones and arrows and the like. All the Spartans and Thespians showed themselves right valiant; but the bravest of all was Dieneces a Spartan. It was this Dieneces that spake a very noteworthy saying before the Spartans joined battle with the Persians. And the saying was this. A man of Trachis affirmed that when the Persians shot off their arrows the sun was darkened by the number of them. But Dieneces was not one whit astonished at the matter, but, taking no heed at all of the multitude of the Persians, made answer, saying, "This is good news that the stranger from Trachis brings us, for if the Persians so hide the sun then shall we fight in the shade." Many such like sayings did this Dieneces speak. ... Of the three hundred two, Eurytus and Aristodemus, were absent from their companions on the day of the battle. Now these two might, if they had been willing to agree, either have returned both of them to Sparta, for Leonidas had sent them away from the army and they lay at Alpeni, grievously afflicted with sickness of the eyes, or if they were not willing so to return, have died along with the others. As for Eurytus, when he knew that the Persians had come round by the path, he called for his arms and put them on him, and bade his helot lead him into the battle. So the helot led him to the battle, and then turned and fled, and Eurytus thrust himself into the press of the battle, and so perished. But as for Aristodemus his courage failed him, and he tarried at Alpeni. Now if Aristodemus only had been sick and so returned alive to Sparta ..., it may well be believed that the Spartans would have had no indignation against them; but seeing that, both being in the same case, one perished but the other was not willing to die, it could not but be that they should have great indignation against him that still lived. Such is the story that some tell about Aristodemus; but others say that having been sent as a messenger from the army, when he might have returned before the battle, he lingered on the way of set purpose, but that his fellow messenger returned and was slain. This Aristodemus, going back to Sparta, was held in great shame and dishonor. For no Spartan would give him fire, nor would any talk with him, but they called him "Aristodemus the Coward."

This is a way in which the event has been interpreted since. In this way the event is taught probably in every decent elementary school.So if you want to change the way European history has been taught more than 2000 years, good luck.

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GBR

The moment the Persians decided to attack the Spartans using gigantic armoured rhinoceruses they forfeited any right not to have fantasy movies made about them thousands of years later.

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GBR

Anyone remember 'International Commandos' the 1980s Iranian film about a brave team of crack commandos who were sent out to kill Salman Rushdie- a playboy who lurked in a hacienda guarded by evil henchmen. in the end the commandos failed but the Koran itself rose up the angels in Raiders Of The Lost Ark and zapped Salman.

Weird but true.

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GBR

CagedHorse:"I'd complain that the movie leaves out the Spartans' penchant for boy-buggering -- expect, of course, SeerTaak insists that none of that went on in ancient Greece, and who am I to argue with such a historical authority?!"

You know lying about me is hardly going to improve your credibility. Where, oh where, did I ever even imply boy buggering did not go on in Ancient Greece? Or even Sparta? All I have done is ask for the evidence about Sparta given so much of it is late and Roman or the work of Sparta's enemies. Why is it you want to believe that the Spartans were pederasts? Is it because you would feel better about yourself?

It is a pathetically sad day on CiF when being a mildly pedantic stickler for the truth becomes a reason for flaming.

MOliphant:"I knew I chap at uni who assured me with a straight face that Asterix was a fascist."

Asterix? Well can it be a coincidence that Jean Marie Le Pen is from the same part of the world? Your friend clearly was a world-leader in literary theory. He should have been an academic - he could have been Said before Said. Because this is a strong tradition with the notorious, and I swear I am not making this up, seminal academic text:

Ariel Dorfman, Armand Mattelart, David Kunzle (trans.), How to Read Donald Duck: Imperialist Ideology in the Disney Comic ISBN 0-88477-023-0 (Anti-Donald Duck Marxist Critique)

You have to read it.

Whole dissertations have been written on why Babar the Elephant is an apologist for Colonialism. I quote:

"In imagining the independence of the land of the elephants, Jean de Brunhoff anticipates, more than a decade before history forced Europe to put it into practice, the theory of neocolonialism."

toadalone:"But parallel activism has its own momentum. You write this article; people like Seer Taak write nonsense about it; people like me write other stuff in opposition. And it's all nothing to do with the real issue."

Sorry Mr Toad (if I might use your first name) but what nonsense do you think I have written? I love the unthinking bigotry behind that statement.

Sealion:"A simplistic story about a small number of 'good' guys defeating a large number of 'bad' guys in a very big fight. Where have I seen that before? Dambusters, Starship Troopers, The Lord OF The Rings, The Untouchables, The Matrix, Star Wars.... its probably the biggest movie formula after 'boy meets girl'. Anyone who thinks this is a conspiracy is doing so on purpose."

Except ... someone who has seen the film please correct me, but in the original, a small number of "good" guys did not defeat the "bad" guys. They all died. Every last one of them.

Go tell the Spartans, thou that passest by,
That here, obedient to their laws, we lie.

As a product of a culture with a long nationalist discourse that always ends in utter and total defeat, I have to say I love those sort of movies. Give me 300 who fight pointlessly, to the bitter end and the last man every day of the week - whether they are Spartans, Irish, Japanese whatever.

EnBuenOra:"Actually, I found the movie "Starship Troopers" to be a fairly witty tongue-in-cheek satire of all the tough-guy macho military adventure movies."

Which was one of the complaints about the European director's adaptation because the book damn well wasn't.

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GBR

Maybe the alleged racism and propaganda in 300 is just a cry for attention from Frank Miller because he hasn't done anything particularly good since 1988.

Personal gripe over with, I'm pretty sure that people might be reading a little too much into the film. Maybe it's actually about Spartans fighting Persians.

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USA

tehrankid77ou think there is no difference between Iran and the USA? You want to compare the human rights abuses at Abu Ghraib and the Iranians? Are the Iranians issuing charges against those who have murdered and tortured gays, teenage girls, trade unionists, journalists, religious minorities and bloggers?
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Eleven U.S. soldiers -- all from the enlisted ranks -- have been convicted in the Abu Ghraib scandal, with former Cpl. Charles A. Graner Jr. receiving the harshest sentence, a 10-year prison term. A general and other officers have received reprimands or demotions that ended or blighted their careers. Charges have been bought against officers who may be responsible for the human rights abuses at Abu Ghraib.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Image615903x.jpg
On October 20, 2004, Staff Sgt. Ivan Frederick pled guilty to conspiracy, dereliction of duty, maltreatment of detainees, assault and committing an indecent act in exchange for other charges being dropped. He was sentenced to eight years in prison, forfeiture of pay, a dishonorable discharge and a reduction in rank to private.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:AbuGhraibScandalGraner55.jpg
On January 16th Charles A. Graner, Jr was found guilty and sentenced to 10 years imprisonment, a dishonorable discharge, and the loss of all benefits.

http://i.a.cnn.net/cnn/2005/LAW/02/01/abughraib.plea.deal/story.vert.krol.tue.jpgOn February 4, 2005, Javal 'Sean' Davis pleaded guilty to three of the five charges against him to dereliction of duty, battery and making a false official statement to Army investigators after the photos from the prison were made public. This was part of a plea bargain with prosecutors. Under the terms of the deal, Davis was allowed to plead not guilty to two other charges: conspiracy and maltreating detainees.Davis was given the following sentence: six months in a military prison; reduction in rank to private (E-1); and a bad conduct discharge.
http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/english/doc/2004-05/20/xin_270501200106291187006.jpg
Jeremy C. Sivits special court-martial (sentence is not more than one year confinement) was held on May 19, 2004 in Baghdad. Sivits pled guilty and testified against some of his fellow guards. The court martial sentenced Sivits to the maximum sentence, one year of confinement, in addition to being discharged for bad conduct and demoted from specialist to private. Human Rights Watch was not allowed in the court room.
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/f/f2/Abu-ghraib-leash.jpgLynndie Rana England was convicted on September 26, 2005 of one count of conspiracy, four counts of maltreating detainees and one count of committing an indecent act. She was acquitted on a second conspiracy count. Along with a dishonorable discharge, England received a three-year prison sentence on September 27. The prosecution had asked the jury to imprison England for four to six years. Her defense lawyers asked for no time. England has been sentenced to three years for her crimes and given a dishonorable discharge.
It�s not over of course, the prosecuters are moving up the command chain.

Lt. Col. Steven L. Jordan is a military intelligence officer for the United States Army and was a director of the Joint Interrogation Debriefing Center.
In a report by Army Maj. Gen. Antonio Tagbua, Jordan was among several described as being "directly or indirectly responsible for the abuses at Abu Ghraib". Jordan supervised the interrogation task force at Abu Ghraib, and was the second highest ranking military intelligence officer there, serving under Col. Thomas Pappas who has been granted immunity from prosecution so that he can testify against Jordan. On April 28, 2006, Jordan became the highest ranking Army officer to face charges relating to the Abu Ghraib abuse when charges were filed against him, including oppressing detainees, lying about abuse, and dereliction of duty.
Recommendations of the Fay report
Finding: LTC Stephen L. Jordan, Director, Joint Interrogation Debriefing Center. A preponderance of evidence supports that LTC Jordan did, or failed to do, the following:
� Failed to properly train Soldiers and civilians on the ICRP.
� Failed to take full responsibility for his role as the Director, JIDC.
� Failed to establish the necessary checks and balances to prevent and detect abuses.
� Was derelict in his duties by failing to establish order and enforce proper use of ICRP during the night of 24 November 2003 (IP Roundup) which contributed to a chaotic situation in which detainees were abused.
� Failed to prevent the unauthorized use of dogs and the humiliation of detainees who were kept naked for no acceptable purpose while he was the senior officer-in-charge in the Hard Site.
� Failed to accurately and timely relay critical information to COL Pappas, such as:
o The incident where a detainee had obtained a weapon.
o ICRC is

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FRA

You wrote exactly what was on my mind after watching the film. For more on this historical inaccuracies see Wikipeida. The Persian army contain all the elements of the mysterious, treacherous and evil eastern 'Other' that are being constantly drip-fed into the public psyche.

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FRA

@doesnotexist

What makes you think I don't think the same about the Greeks - or have an opinion on the Elgin marbles?

Nevertheless, as evidenced by other contributors, Islam in particular doesn't recognise the paganism that preceded Islam.

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GBR

@ JohnYardDog - "Maybe the alleged racism and propaganda in 300 is just a cry for attention from Frank Miller because he hasn't done anything particularly good since 1988."

Well, he did co-direct the multiple award-winning, highly acclaimed box office success Sin City in 2005 and 300 is hardly a flop now is it ... but apart from those, yeah, definitely a career on the rocks ... Frank Miller, what a failure, sure ...

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AUS

from SeerTaak:

"EnBuenOra:"Actually, I found the movie "Starship Troopers" to be a fairly witty tongue-in-cheek satire of all the tough-guy macho military adventure movies."

[SeerTaak:] Which was one of the complaints about the European director's adaptation because the book damn well wasn't."

Ooh, I think someone doesn't like "witty tongue-in-cheek satire" - especially of "tough-guy macho" etc. Damn well diddums.

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AUS

haggistani,

Sorry, I wasn't meaning to imply that you had any particular feelings about the Elgin Marbles (a lot of people here in Melbourne do though), I was just idly extrapolating.

The Islamic world had some time for Greek philosophy and science, but certainly didn't embrace Greek and Roman myths the way Christian Europe did - Orpheus, Pygmalion etc, etc. That was a positive factor for Europe, I think, and indeed as far as I'm concerned religious myths are far more benign when people don't actually believe them any more.

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GBR

Waltz: Hey, I didn't say he wasn't sucessful, I just said that they weren't particularly good. Personal opinion here, I don't dislike Frank Miller fans or anything. Chillax. I was just using my dislike of his work on Elektra and Sin City as an example as to how you can read too much into a reading of a film by making the absurd claim that the film is actually about his disappointment in his own work. OK, maybe it wasn't very clear and for that I apologise, but I'm not very good all the whole written word thing.

It took me about an hour to write this.

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"Maybe the alleged racism and propaganda in 300 is just a cry for attention from Frank Miller because he hasn't done anything particularly good since 1988."

Hear bloody hear! 'Sin City' was just warmed-up, Tarantinoesque tripe.

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GBR

doesnotexist:"Ooh, I think someone doesn't like "witty tongue-in-cheek satire" - especially of "tough-guy macho" etc. Damn well diddums."

I wonder Mr Exist what I could have possibly said that would justify this childishly rude response? I am mildly curious as to why you would do the electronic equivalent of interrupting someone else's conversation to attempt to spit in their face? Clearly you feel justified in your behaviour, but I am curious about cyber-manners in general. Why do you think this is in any way whatsoever appropriate behaviour?

I did not like the film but I loathed the book. Or maybe the other way around. The film was dumbed down and idiotic whereas the book might have been a quasi-fascist rant but at least it showed some thought and interesting ideas. I never expressed my own opinion about either and I think the sensible thing to do would have been to ask me what I thought. But obviously you did not agree.

As far as the issue goes, the film did not attempt to deal with the ideas of the book and far from being a witty tongue-in-cheek satire was, as far as I could tell, a wholesale assault on the integrity of the book. It was parody to the point of insult. Does that matter? Well, I think that in a translation to film, a director ought to attempt to retain some characteristics of the book. I know there is no law that says he has to. But it would have been more honest for Paul Verhoeven to have stuck with his own script and made his own film (Alien meets Full Metal Jacket presumably) rather than exploit Heinlein's book and, as I pointed out, seriously piss off a lot of his fans.

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GBR

AmyJ:
"Right ... it's rated 8.2/10 (41,881 votes) and #201 best film of all time on IMDB. Yet you, who has "only seen the trailer", feel qualified to condemn it as a "sh*tty movie that doesn't deserve all this attention"? Oh dear, try to engage your brain before you post a comment please."

Gladiator had "rave" reviews too. (and I still think it's sh*te)

It's only my opinion anyway, so why would it bother you. I wont watch this movie because I know what to expect from it; we've already had zillions of similar movies and I've never enjoyed any of them. Why would I like this one more than any others?

"Engaging your brain before posting a comment".. You make me laugh. As if you needed to "engage your brain" to watch that tripe (or Troy or Gladiator or whatever). If you do, I can only feel sorry for you!

In fact, I like to "engage my brain" therefore watching simplistic Hollywood style peplum with the same old "the good guys vs the bad guys" storyline isn't going to deliver.
Best Regards*

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@ JohnYardDog - no problem. It all comes down to personal taste in the end anyway. Each to their own and all that.

@ PlasticGypsies - calm down before you give yourself a fatal Spartan of the lesser anthrax. No one will force you to watch 300. If they try, get the UN on to them pronto.

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AUS

SeerTaak,

Sorry, I didn't realize that you were so sensitive or that my flippant remark was so extreme by CiF standards.

You say: "The film was dumbed down and idiotic whereas the book might have been a quasi-fascist rant but at least it showed some thought and interesting ideas. I never expressed my own opinion about either and I think the sensible thing to do would have been to ask me what I thought."

Well I doubt that I was the only one who picked up a pretty clear indication that you preferred the book to the film, which does seem to be confirmed by your follow up remarks. I'm glad to see that you find the book interesting *despite* its being a "quasi-fascist rant." Actually I have a teenage son who says much the same (can't think of anything else he'd agree with you about; he's not as moderate as I am) - personally I can happily give Heinlein a miss.

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ITA

doesnotexist - not my dog, not my fight... but personally I interpreted SeerTaak's comments in precisely the opposite way to you.

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USA

First of all Spartans and greeks were illitrate and had not idea what numbers were the Persians thought them. What makes Herodotus�s propaganda so difficult to refute is that it is peppered with facts. But in reality, it is a desperate diatribe. Perhaps his biggest ploy is his attempt to equate democracy with freedom. These two words are used virtually interchangeably throughout his book. And the West has swallowed it hook-line-and-sinker. But America�s founding fathers knew better. They were not swayed by Herodotus. They implemented many safeguards to protect freedom from the pitfalls that mired Athenian democracy. Even Winston Churchill said, �Democracy is the worst form of government except for all the others which have been tried.� Democracy may well be the best form of government. But what makes America great is not so much democracy as it is its Bill Of Rights. And this is exactly what made Persia Great. Democracy can often lead to tyranny by the majority as was the case in democratic Athens, where women, slaves and foreigners did not have the right to vote. In monarchic Persia, however, women enjoyed a level of gender equality unmatched even to this day, and slavery was not practiced. The fact is, Persia�s monarchy was more free than Athens� democracy, all because of Persia�s Bill Of Rights. No one exemplifies Persia�s freedom better than Herodotus himself. He describes Athens as the bastion of freedom, yet he chose to live in Persia. Xenophon, on the other hand, who actually lived in Athens, reminisces enviably about the monarchy of Cyrus The Great? Herodotus claims Persia had enslaved most of the known world, yet we know Herodotus was not a slave. He traveled freely throughout the empire, openly criticizing it. Why did Herodotus not live in Greece? Because Persia - the empire he is so quick to demonize - afforded him the very freedom to publish his scathing report of it. People want to live where their god-given rights are protected, regardless of whether its democratic or monarchic. These god-given rights were first drafted into law by the founder of the Persian empire, Cyrus The Great. In fact, ancient Persia may well have served as the blue print for America�s Bill Of Rights. Both Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, the architects of America�s Constitution, were great admirers and owned several copies of Xenophon�s Cyropaedia.Today, no other country resembles ancient Persia as closely as does the United States. If any country should sympathize with, rather than celebrate, Persia�s quagmire in Greece it is the United States. Few events in history mirror America�s war on terror as closely as Persia�s war on Greece. The Greeks had been carrying out terrorist attacks on Persian holdings for years. They had attacked Persian cities, set fire to Persian temples, disrupted key trade routes, and pirated merchant ships crossing the Bosphorus. They incited rebellions inside Persian provinces, but perhaps most abhorrent to the Persians was the ease by which the Greeks broke their treaties and betrayed Persia�s trust.
Rather than resort to violence, however, Persia tried to keep the Greeks in check by financially supporting Greek politicians who were �pro-Persian,� much the same way America fights its proxy wars. But what finally triggered Persia�s wrath was an act rarely mentioned in the West, though well documented, even by Herodotus (7:11).
Persia�s 9/11:
In 498 BCE, Athens carried out a terrorist attack on Sardis, a major Persian city, which made 9/11 seem like child�s play. Aristagoras, an Athenian, set fire to the �outlying parts� of Sardis trapping most of its population �in a ring of fire.� (Herodotus 5:101)
More innocent civilians died at the hands of Aristagoras than Osama bin Laden could ever hope to kill. And just as most of the world supported America�s retaliation against Al Qaeda, so did it rally in support of Persia�s attack on Athens.
The Spartans were not even targets of Persia�s attack, until they violated a universal protocol by killing a Persian messenger who Herodotus claims was asking for Sparta�s submission but in reality was probably sent by Persia�s king, Xerxes to convey the same message America sent to the entire world after 9/11: �you�re either with us, or against us.�
The Spartans were Greek Jihadists who lived only to die. They were by all accounts ruthless savages who murdered Greek slaves known as �Helots� just for sport, cultivated a culture of thievery and rape, and practiced infanticide, as the movie �300� rightly points out in its opening scenes. Sparta was not even democratic. It was an oligarchy at best. Despite knowing all this, the West continues to hail the Spartans as the saviors of Western democracy.
Yes, the Spartans died fighting a foreign invader. But so do countless terrorists, yet few would consider them �good guys.� Those who do are then not much different from Westerners who cheer for the Spartans.

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GBR

Jihadisbad:

The thing is, Miller is an equal-opportunity insulter.

In Sin City, Miller presented the US as an amoral wasteland.

In V for Vendetta, Miller presented Thatcher's England as a ppolice state.

V for vendetta was Alan Moore actually. He's much better. In the comic reference is made to the Athenian victory at sea, and the others that fought with the Spartans, but the story is about the spartans, because that's the interesting bit. if the issue is preparing the American psyche for war with Iran, surely the key point is they started it first- in 480 bc or whenever it was? Ignoring that, i've seen the trailer- looked pretty exciting, probably go see it.

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GBR

No its not - its a film with soldiers in.

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GBR

The Vatican is connected with Troy because Rome was founded by the exiled Trojan prince AEneas, of course - just as Britain was founded by his friend Brutus. So the Vatican should actually be delighted to see the Trojans glorified, as should Britain (that's why Hollywood cast Orlando Bloom as Paris, stoopid).

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GBR

The Vatican is connected with Troy because Rome was founded by the exiled Trojan prince AEneas, of course - just as Britain was founded by his friend Brutus. So the Vatican should actually be delighted to see the Trojans glorified, as should Britain (that's why Hollywood cast Orlando Bloom as Paris, stoopid).

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GBR

The Vatican is connected with Troy because Rome was founded by the exiled Trojan prince AEneas, of course - just as Britain was founded by his friend Brutus. So the Vatican should actually be delighted to see the Trojans glorified, as should Britain (that's why Hollywood cast Orlando Bloom as Paris, stoopid).
What I object to is seeing a helpless piece of ancient history mugged by a bad film, again. There ought to be an International Trust to protect the rights of stories.

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FIN

I have now read a couple of hundred entries saying almost the same thing: It's only a movie, it's only a comic, bla bla, bla

Then why aren't movies about all the gory stuff in the old testament. Or are we afraid to be called anti-semites?

I'd like to see a movie where they burn a cow alive and where GOD gets pleased by the smell of the burning flesh and repents (??) the punishment he has subjected mankind to.

One other slight note about the so-called comic writer Frank Miller. He has written a Batman episode called "holy Terror, Batman" and he himself describes claims the plot revolves around Batman defending Gotham City from an attack by the Al-Qaeda terrorist organization. According to Miller, the comic is a "piece of propaganda" in which Batman "kicks Al-Qaeda's ass."

So don't come and say it's all fiction. It's all rather propaganda.


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USA

"...the Spartans were notorious as slavers, and that Persepolis was built by wage earners."


Mr. Golsorki:

I'm curious to know what is the source of this apparent statement of fact?

As far as I remember from long ago readings of Herodotus, Thucidydes & Diodorus, the Persians were in fact massive slavers and their armies were mostly made-up of paid mercenaries. Please correct this impression if it's wrong!

Furthermore, it is true that the Spartans always prided themselves on their freedom -- but not in the modern sense of the word -- and that Sparta (unlike, say, Athens or Corinth) was never ruled by a dictator. And even if the Spartans did not engage in farming but forced the Helots to work the land, the Helots were distinctly different from the other "doulos" or slaves in the ancient world: they were native Greeks and were entitled to own the land they worked on -- more like indentured serfs perhaps as opposed to the slaves of the Athenians or the Persians who were basically beasts of burden.

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GBR

Abarmard:"First of all Spartans and greeks were illitrate and had not idea what numbers were the Persians thought them."

This is nonsense. If anything the Persians were more likely to be illiterate as reading was not on their agenda and Persian was not much written.

Abarmard:"What makes Herodotus�s propaganda so difficult to refute is that it is peppered with facts."

Yes, I can see how you'd hate those facts.

Abarmard:"Perhaps his biggest ploy is his attempt to equate democracy with freedom."

Ploy? You mean observable fact?

Abarmard:"But what makes America great is not so much democracy as it is its Bill Of Rights. And this is exactly what made Persia Great. Democracy can often lead to tyranny by the majority as was the case in democratic Athens, where women, slaves and foreigners did not have the right to vote. In monarchic Persia, however, women enjoyed a level of gender equality unmatched even to this day, and slavery was not practiced."

Slavery did exist in Persia and, indeed, as Herodotus says, Persia reduced half the world to slavery. Persia did not have a Bill of Rights. This is an absurd piece of Iranian nationalist propaganda. So what if Athens did not let women and slaves vote? Persia, which introduced the hareem and the hijab to the Middle, did not let anyone vote. Persian women did not enjoy anything close to gender equality and there is no evidence otherwise.

Abarmard:"The fact is, Persia�s monarchy was more free than Athens� democracy, all because of Persia�s Bill Of Rights."

See above. This "Bill of Rights" is specious. The Cyrus Cylinder is a typical piece of monarchical propaganda and little more. It did not grant one general right.

Abarmard:"Because Persia - the empire he is so quick to demonize - afforded him the very freedom to publish his scathing report of it."

What evidence is there that Herodotus' work - entirely in Greek - was published in Persia? He went where he could find work and do his research but he seems to have published in Greece.

Abarmard:"In fact, ancient Persia may well have served as the blue print for America�s Bill Of Rights. Both Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, the architects of America�s Constitution, were great admirers and owned several copies of Xenophon�s Cyropaedia."

May, but almost certainly did not as it was not a Bill of Rights.

Abarmard:"Today, no other country resembles ancient Persia as closely as does the United States."

America: a Republic and a democracy, Persia: an autocratic Empire with thousands of oppressed peoples. How do you justify that claim?

Abarmard:"Few events in history mirror America�s war on terror as closely as Persia�s war on Greece. The Greeks had been carrying out terrorist attacks on Persian holdings for years. They had attacked Persian cities, set fire to Persian temples, disrupted key trade routes, and pirated merchant ships crossing the Bosphorus. They incited rebellions inside Persian provinces, but perhaps most abhorrent to the Persians was the ease by which the Greeks broke their treaties and betrayed Persia�s trust."

Persian cities? Would these cities, like Herodotus' own Halicarnassus, be former *Greek* cities that the Persians conquered, exploited and oppressed by any chance? Bosphorus? That sounds a little far away from Persia. What were Persians doing in the middle of the Greek world? Terrorist attacks? Like what for example? Treaties? What treaties? Trust? What trust?

Abarmard:"In 498 BCE, Athens carried out a terrorist attack on Sardis, a major Persian city, which made 9/11 seem like child�s play. Aristagoras, an Athenian, set fire to the �outlying parts� of Sardis trapping most of its population �in a ring of fire.� (Herodotus 5:101)"

That would be Sardis, the Greek city that the Persians conquered and which the Greeks were trying to liberate wouldn't it? Terrorist attack? You mean they besieged the city in the course of which some houses burnt down?

Abarmard:"in reality was probably sent by Persia�s king, Xerxes to convey the same message America sent to the entire world after 9/11: �you�re either with us, or against us.�"

Surrender or die in fact. As Herodotus said.

Abarmard:"They were by all accounts ruthless savages who murdered Greek slaves known as �Helots� just for sport"

There is no evidence of that either.

Abarmard:"Despite knowing all this, the West continues to hail the Spartans as the saviors of Western democracy."

Because they protected all of Greece, not just Sparta.

All in all this was one weird post.

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USA

I went to see 300 last night. Anyone, and I do mean _anyone_, who takes that movie seriously is mental. It's a movie based on a comic book (excuse me, "graphic novel" to the purists) which in turn was _very_ loosely based on the historic battle (I'm fairly sure there were no rhinoceroses involved, that Xerxes was not nine feet tall, and that Spartans did not go into battle wearing nothing but helmets and thongs for starters). I do think that Gerard Butler will be up for an Oscar for Best Performance by a Set of Teeth though.

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USA

Teacup
RogerInTheUSA,

I shall pass on your recipes for snakes and rats and so on to those who eat them.

Seriously, depiction of India and Indians in many western books and films are hilarious, begining with the fact that the authors usually come a cropper over our names, which have regional, religious and ethnic components to them. I could laugh or cry, so I laugh.

Americans generally know very little about India. This is changing as more Indians see to be moving to the US, and as Indians are beginning to appear in popular culture.

Re Names. For some reason, a very large percentage of the Indians, at least in the Northeast, are named Patel.


My pet writer at the moment is one Tom Clancy, who I am given to understand has iconic status in the US. I am afraid that, had I not known so many Americans, it would have seriously dented my opinion of that nation.

He tends to write rather militaristic books with lots of technical detail. I know that he was not too kind towards the IRA or the Castro regime, but I don't know of any books that he wrote hostile to Indians.

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IRL

This is just another guy movie in the 'last stand' male hysteria genre, nothing more. It is like a western version of the Last Samurai (no need to point out the differences, I know). Indeed I recall one line from the Last Samurai, before they pointlessly charge at the guns, where Katsumoto asks Tom Cruise 'what happened to the warriors at Thermopylae?' Cruise responds 'dead to the last man!' before they smile a mad end-times smile at one another and charge to a glorious, hysterical death.

I agree with most of what SeerTaak says, I wish I had so much time for fisking myself.

I wonder if they will make Millers latest comic 'Holy Terror Batman' into a movie. The dark knight takes on Al Qaeda in Gotham, and rumor has it the terrorists will actually be portrayed as young Muslim men.

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GBR

I just watched a clip on youtube provided by RogerInTheUSA (thanks) and, although it's hard to judge based on a 1.30 minute clip, I couldn't help thinking the film was portraying Sparta vs Persia as a David and Goliath scenario. The David and Goliath story is key to the self-identity of the Israeli state as Israeli nationalists view themselves as a tiny David surrounded by the hostile Goliath of Arabic / Islamic nations. It also forms a major part of the Israeli defence of their possession of nuclear weapons in the face of being so heavily outnumbered in their region. Anyone spot a vaguely controversial issue here? You know, why does Israel have the right to nuclear weapons when Iran doesn't? I take no position in that debate as I don't have enough background information to judge but I do think it means we shouldn't judge Iranians too harshly for jumping to some worrying conclusions from this movie.

Some posters are pointing out that "it's just a movie": well the UK seems to have double-standards on that as I well remember the paranoid uproar in Britain over Ken Loach's Wind That Shakes The Barley and its alleged attempts to draw paralells between British Army brutality in the Irish war of independence and current British Army brutality in Iraq. Suddenly movies became very important and the power of film allegory was of such concern that lead articles on TWTSTB appeared in most UK newspapers.

Here's an idea for Iranians: why don't you produce your own movies that tell the story from the Persian point of view? I'd go and see it - there are some great Iranian film directors e.g. Samira Makhmalbaf and other New Wave film-makers so surely it wouldn't be hard to find the talent. Throw some oil money at the project to compete on special effects costs and actor salaries, showcase it at Cannes and your job's done. Alternative narratives are always interesting to see as long as they're well made and acted and not an imitation of Hollywood's dull-witted propaganda.

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GBR

"plot revolves around Batman defending Gotham City from an attack by the Al-Qaeda terrorist organization. According to Miller, the comic is a "piece of propaganda" in which Batman "kicks Al-Qaeda's ass.""

if you were offered the opportunity to kick Al Qaeda's ass what would you do?

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GBR

Some posters are pointing out that "it's just a movie": well the UK seems to have double-standards on that as I well remember the paranoid uproar in Britain over Ken Loach's Wind That Shakes The Barley and its alleged attempts to draw paralells between British Army brutality in the Irish war of independence and current British Army brutality in Iraq.

--------------------------

As you say, the Wind that shakes the barley INTENDED to draw parallels, and if you asked Ken Loach he would have said just that, in this film the makers say
"this is a fantasy and not historical film-making"

so in fact the two are not alike at all

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GBR

"The Iranian representative at Unesco has logged a complaint and last week president Mahmood Ahmadinejad of Iran called the movie a psychological assault on the Iranian nationr"

Fantastic - I normally steer clear of Hollywood blockbusters but now I know it pisses off the lunatic Iranian fringe to this extent I'll go and see it. Twice.

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GBR

Abamard: 'First of all Spartans and greeks were illitrate and had not idea what numbers'

Illitrate? Like you, you mean?

(By the way, as I'm sure all readers of this thread know, the Greeks were highly literate, and so what credibility that leaves the rest of your post I'm not too sure.)

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GBR

usilow: "This is just another guy movie in the 'last stand' male hysteria genre, nothing more. It is like a western version of the Last Samurai"

Yes, I suppose it is.

Slightly OT, but against all expectations I liked The Last Samurai.

As Teacup mentioned regarding portrayals of Indians by Hollywood, they do an equally bad job with the Japanese (and Russians for that matter) treating East Asia as one monolithic mass.

Just look at Memoirs of a Geisha. Possibly the most boring film ever made.

And as for the accents? Worse than bloody Highlander.

Though TLS somehow managed to retain a little Japaneseness against all the odds.

And Katsumoto is a far more sympathetic character than I guess Leonidas will be.

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GBR

This is a dire, trouble making 'old Guardian' article forgetting the main reason for the film adaptation of 300 - it's based on a successful Frank Miller graphic novel celebrating unique heroism and therefore cartoonish violence, and Sin City (another Miller graphic novel) had been adapted to commercial and critical success a couple of years before. 300 has nothing political to say whatsoever, it's an action film with the central issue being that it's all filmed on blue screen and thus even less like real life.

Golsorkhi's self indulgent, blinkered and utterly humourless article highlights exactly the exasperating problems of dealing with modern nations who constantly seek reasons to feel slighted or insulted. Abysmal stuff which should be appearing in some rabid anti westerner middle eastern rag, not the Guardian.

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"I think they use Brit accents in sword 'n sandal movies because it would seem sort of incongruous to have Spartans sounding like Americans."

In this instance they're actually being rather bright because it was traditional for Spartan "Doric" dialect to be translated as if they were speaking Lowlands Scots. (The Athenians speak upper-class English, naturally).


Gorgo rules! "When asked by a woman from Attica, 'Why are you Spartan women the only ones who can rule men?', she said: 'Because we are also the only ones who give birth to men.'"

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GBR

Lopakhin to "Abamard: 'First of all Spartans and greeks were illitrate and had not idea what numbers'

Illitrate? Like you, you mean?"

Funniest post of the week!

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GBR

Stoobing

The Guardian all but is a rabid anti-western middle eastern rag. hadn't you noticed?

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GRC

Seertak
thanks for debunking that weird Abarmard post. It was so outrageous, I was even tempted to bother. I mean I couldn't tell whether it was a parody or the guy was actually serious in a really weird sort of way...Ancient Persia inspiring the American Bill of Rights which is good while democracy is bad...Very weird post indeed...
If the Abarmard post wasn't a parody, I guess then it is indicative of the historical revisionism and propaganda developing states fill school curicula with...and alas their population's brains too. Particularly in nationalistically defined states (I can think of my native Greece, or Iran, or Turkey or lately FYROM), constructing nationalist feeling and identity on historically distant glorious pasts, real or imagined, is a prerequisite of their nation building...with occasional weird posts on CiF as a side effect.

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GBR

There is obvious substance in what Masoud says, and their is also obvious foolishness in it. This is the case with many bloggs on CiF, and the usual suspects take their usual sides.

And we don't move forward.

Hollywood has been manipulated to reinforce western sensibilities for years. In the eighties, all the bad guys were Russians, there was a brief South African phase in the early nineties, now we have Arabs, as bad guys, informants, 'defectors', rehabilitated. We have some non-Arab Muslims in these more positive roles too (but they are usually morally compromised,in that that have illicit sex etc..etc..)

We always see however committed Muslims as either just emerging from a period of extremism, about to enter one,or in the thick of one. They are never squeaky clean.

But Just like Braveheart, we grin and bear it. The only problem is that in this so called advanced society, people should really 'get' Islam by now, you would think, to not have to construct these alternate histories.

The fascinating thing is that you can tell people till you're blue in the face that it's a fantasy, but it still ends up gaining a kind a deeper credibility in peoples minds as an 'accurate' representation of 'deeper' realities

It seems that humanity (particularly those of us living in a world of plenty) has lost the ability to face reality

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GBR

Well I've just seen the film and it's awful. As a comic-book for teenage boys I'm sure it's OK, but on screen it's laugh-out-loud comedy. Lumpen 'acting', clumsy script...

As for the propaganda issue, I think people have got it the wrong way round.

Xerxes - leader of the largest, richest empire on earth, with the biggest, most powerful army, which includes 'super' weapons of terrible destructive power.

Leonidas - leader of a small bunch of blokes trying to defend their country, using basic weapons, and trying to unite their countrymen, many of whom have different views of the enemy.


For Americans to see themselves as the 'freedom-loving' Spartans is as ludicrous as the Iranians worrying about the damage it may do to their unassailable historical/cultural legacy.

One final comment for all those arguing about the status of helots in Spartan society. Slavery is not defined by a financial transaction. (i.e. It is not necessary to be bought or sold to be a slave).

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GBR

There is obvious substance in what Masoud says, and their is also obvious foolishness in it. This is the case with many bloggs on CiF, and the usual suspects take their usual sides.

And we don't move forward.

Hollywood has been manipulated to reinforce western sensibilities for years. In the eighties, all the bad guys were Russians, there was a brief South African phase in the early nineties, now we have Arabs, as bad guys, informants, 'defectors', rehabilitated. We have some non-Arab Muslims in these more positive roles too (but they are usually morally compromised,in that that have illicit sex etc..etc..)

We always see however committed Muslims as either just emerging from a period of extremism, about to enter one,or in the thick of one. They are never squeaky clean.


Sorry....

One more thing

Psyops

I didn't see what you were responding to, but nonetheless your last post defintely IS anacceptable ( I was going to say racist but apart from having this loaded association, it doesn't actually mean much). I wont say any more than that, I will just wait to see who agrees with me and who thinks I'm being over the top.

But Just like Braveheart, we grin and bear it. The only problem is that in this so called advanced society, people should really 'get' Islam by now, you would think, to not have to construct these alternate histories.

The fascinating thing is that you can tell people till you're blue in the face that it's a fantasy, but it still ends up gaining a kind a deeper credibility in peoples minds as an 'accurate' representation of 'deeper' realities

It seems that humanity (particularly those of us living in a world of plenty) has lost the ability to face reality

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GBR

Unfortunately, any attempt to criticize bias in western

media, especially by non-western individuals, is seen by

many as an attack on the so-called free will of the west.

Although the film 300 may not have specific references to

any current regime or government in the middle east (clue:

Iran), it does provide the watcher with an intense and

panicky sense of being under threat and attack by a savage

and merciless army. This, dear reader, whether you will

accept it or not is part of a large media propaganda which

you may as many millions of others have, fall into the trap

of. The film depicts the spartan army as a small minority

of 300 soldiers who are ready to fight courageously with

the invading (1 million strong)Persian army. Whether the

facts of this film truly represent the history in that

period is highly questionable, but the film with its

striking visual effects puts the watcher in a state of fear

and being under seige. Under current international

circumstances, people who believe in the war against

the 'axis of evil', are forced into a position where they

empathise with those courageous Spartans fighting till the

last drop of blood. Therefore, it is not surprising to find

that 300 broke box office records in America on March 9,

2007. Overall, the watcher exits the cinema with a

strengthened mentality of being threatened by an

unpredictable evil lurking behind them, or even next to

them or perhaps more specifically in the middle east. In

conclusion, it is up to the individual whether they want to

sit and absorb western media propaganda or develop a more

critical mind and question the ideologies of the so-called

free democratic western media. Personally, i prefer the

latter as i refuse my own ideas and opinions to be

dictated- dictation of my opinions and ideas shall only

occur by consideration of all facts.

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GRC

So Mubai,
what exactly offended you in my post?
I read it again and can't figure out what you took offence at...
Glorious pasts, real or imagined, are a basic ingredient for nation state identity forging, hence their ubiquity in school history propaganda. Most developed nation states did that during their earlier national identity building periods...and newer states are at it as we speak...where is the racism in that arguement?

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USA

Iranians have every right to feel offended but it's inappropriate to blame the U.S. as a whole. This movie was put out by private corporations, primarily, Time Warner. The U.S. government didn't commission it. It was filmed to make $$$, which it did. Most Amercians, b/c we are admittedly not very wordly, would not even know to connect Persia with present day Iran. Offensive movies are made all the time in the U.S. Movies like Dogma that mock Catholocism, like Barber Shop that mock African Americans, hostorical dramas like Dances with Wolves that portray U.S. mistreatment of Native Americans, etc.

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USA

Iranians have every right to feel offended but it's inappropriate to blame the U.S. as a whole. This movie was put out by private corporations, primarily, Time Warner. The U.S. government didn't commission it. It was filmed to make $$$, which it did. Most Amercians, b/c we are admittedly not very wordly, would not even know to connect Persia with present day Iran. Offensive movies are made all the time in the U.S. Movies like Dogma that mock Catholocism, like Barber Shop that mock African Americans, hostorical dramas like Dances with Wolves that portray U.S. mistreatment of Native Americans, etc.

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IRL

Nabil.

Copying and pasting the same comment you made earlier in the day is both lazy and although it may not be against the rules, it should be.

"it is up to the individual whether they want to sit and absorb western media propaganda or develop a more critical mind and question the ideologies of the so-called free democratic western media."

As you are writing in the guardian, which dedicates itself to attacking western civlisation, I am curious as to what you mean by this. I have a very critical mind, a critical mind is the essence of western civilisation, unlike, well, every other one, especially the Muslim one.

"The film depicts the spartan army as a small minority of 300 soldiers who are ready to fight courageously with the invading (1 million strong)Persian army. Whether the facts of this film truly represent the history in that period is highly questionable,"

Duh. That is what actually happened.

People are not going to see the movie for political reasons, its popularity has nothing to do with any 'axis of evil' references, but because it is a testosterone fueled male hysteria movie. Unattached young men 18-35 are one of hollywoods key demographics, as can be seen by the proliferation of both geek and nerd epics (Tolkien and the Matrix respectfully). This demographic especially likes:

1. Last stands, fighting against the odds, 'for death or glory' blah blah. Unattached young males are civilisations worst nightmare, in fact they are what civilisations were invented for. What you see on screen is what this psychotic demographic dreams about.

2. Imaginary scantily clad women who fulfill nerd fantasies by also liking guns, bombs, computers and elves, and also support the men in their pointless last hurrahs.

3. Although the male hysteria genre has a tendency to portray the whole thing as freedom against tyranny etc, this is not actually a prerequisite, as seen by the Last Samurai, where male hysteria was commissioned in defense of feudalism and against progress. This demographic just likes somebody to be defending or conquering something, it doesn't really matter what. I'm sure if the Muslims got together and made a decent movie about Muhammad's extravagant conquerings young western males would flock to see it. Sadly most Muslim nations don't do culture (as seen by the shocking lack of book translation), even those with money out their ears (Saudi Arabia), so that ain't going to happen.

Long live the west! Hurrah!

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GBR

So Psyops,changed your tune have we?

I invite anyone to compare Psyops's posts either side of my personal obvservations and post what you think.

I'd find it interesting at least.

Incidentally I think the nail has been hit on it's head by Nabil.

When people (usually those in the 'better off in societies') compare things and peoples in the world, they forget the dynamics of controller and controlled, of strong and weak.

The not so well off, can't ever forget this (for obvious reasons). That's why they seem 'oversensitive'.

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GBR

Damn!

at first I thought usilow was being ironic and sarcastic,but I then slowly began to realise that he/she was being serious.

Scary stuff.

Makes you feel that humanity is doomed.

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GBR

Once again,cerebral flatulence masquerading as analysis.The original 300 5 part mini series is about a decade old now.A vast majority of Americans would have no concept of Persia ,let alone a 'Black Christ'.

Apparently the Italians were offended by Ben Hur and Ipod sales are on the rise due to the incessant whinging of muslim commentators.Suck it up bedwetter!

Has anyone seen the Gary Busey pro jihadi war movie from last year? or the unique programming of Iranian tv.

If this upsets you,the next Frank Miller project is the Dark Knight vs Al Quaeda and I for one cannot wait.We need artists with vision as opposed to feelings.....

Any insight regarding Sharia law and bootleg Dvds? which i'm sure will be flooding Tehran even as we speak.

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GBR

SeerTaak Comment No. 484808 March 20 11:00 GBR
CagedHorse:"I'd complain that the movie leaves out the Spartans' penchant for boy-buggering -- expect, of course, SeerTaak insists that none of that went on in ancient Greece, and who am I to argue with such a historical authority?!"

Hey, wait a cotton pickin minute! This is England. This is the Guardian. This is March 2007. What's wrong with buggery? I thought buggery these days was a simply a matter of personal preference. Down with homophobia.

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GBR

Once again,cerebral flatulence masquerading as analysis.The original 300 5 part mini series is about a decade old now.A vast majority of Americans would have no concept of Persia ,let alone a 'Black Christ'.

Apparently the Italians were offended by Ben Hur and Ipod sales are on the rise due to the incessant whinging of muslim commentators.Suck it up bedwetter!

Has anyone seen the Gary Busey pro jihadi war movie from last year? or the unique programming of Iranian tv.

If this upsets you,the next Frank Miller project is the Dark Knight vs Al Quaeda and I for one cannot wait.We need artists with vision as opposed to feelings.....

Any insight regarding Sharia law and bootleg Dvds? which i'm sure will be flooding Tehran even as we speak.

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GRC

Well Mubai,
I didn't change my tune, my two posts are on exactly the same line. On the other hand, you didn't even bother to clarify what exactly you find offensive in my posts and frankly I am not in a position to read your mind.
As noone else matched your discomfort at my posts, I can't help but conclude you face an english reading comprehension issue, entirely of your own making.

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GBR

Those who dismiss this as 'just a movie based on a comic-book' have absolutely no idea how ideology, culture and myth operate in the mass media. It is both amusing and instructive that so many of the posters decrying the ideological message immanent in the movie are such obvious subjects of the very ideology that this movie and hundreds of others have promoted since the beginning of the Cold War. Yes, and comics too: Marvel and DC were masterful propaganda tools, where multi-millionaire Yank industrialist 'Tony Stark' was the good super-hero 'Iron Man' confronting 'Dr. Doom' who hailed from the Eastern European commie hell-hole of 'Latveria' and was the embodiment of evil.

Of course one piece of crude ideology such as '300' does not 'cause' a political belief to appear out of thin air and inject it into the minds of passive subjects, but it certainly contributes to the confirmation, cultivation and reproduction of a political belief that already exists. There are many subtle but powerful mythological and ideological devices at work in all media products of this type, including metaphors, metonyms, synecdoches, paradigms, syntagms, presentational and representational codes, naturalising codes, the logic of the concrete and many more. However, the most powerful apsect of its ideological effect is that its main signifiers are deliberately symbolic - not literal in the sense of iconic or indexical - which reinforces the beliefs of the group more efficiently because all symbols are created by arbitrary social convention rather than representational precision. To put it simply, everyone knows that the ancient Greeks are not contemporary Westerners and the ancient Persians are not contemporary Muslims, but the very act of substituting symbols for real representations functions not only to place a thin diplomatic mask over the propaganda but also to convene the group around the relationship between the symbols - one of hatred, hostility and war - which prepares the group for the possibility of real hatred, hostility and war.

This 'symbolic preparation' is a time-honoured practice common throughout human history. Without doubt, Western populations are being prepared for potential large-scale warfare and, since 'Star Wars' emerged to begin the process again after the defeat in Vietnam had stalled it, the preparations have become quite intense.

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IRL

Questionaire contain your nonsensical, paranoid leftist ramblings to your media studies tutorials would you? This is a male hysteria movie, and nothing more. Movies that do take a concrete political stand are usually leftist, although probably not leftist enough by your standards.

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CAN

Dont worry Mubai, Usilow's is just one of many similar beliefs (so the end of the world as we know it is assured :). Here are other ones:
- Inventon/Discovery/Innovation only happens in the USA(exclusively)/The West (predominantly), depending who you talk to - an "Anglo" or an "Euro".
It is of little importance that it is not true for ancient gunpowder, the paper, more recently algebra (Arabic!), the Periodic Table, and very recently Jet propulsion, Controlled Nuclear Fusion, the laser, plus the Internet Protocol came from CERN in Switzerland, not the USA.
- Legal systems are ONLY fair in the USA&UK(precedency law)/The West(i.e. Roman style jurisprudence included). The fact that unless you can afford exorbitant legal fees, you might end up in jail innocent, is also immaterial. Innocent until proven guilty simply means that if you can afford to pay bail, you will stay out of jail during the investigation (which option may not be available in some non-Western jurisdictions).

Mind you I have heard claims even more ridiculous than this:
- Social security was first invented in the USA. (I believe this is the land of freedom of enterprise "laissez-faire", as opposed to socialist arrangements!).
- The USA has the best health care system in the world. (failing to cover close to 50 million!)

Of course "Sadly most Muslim nations don't do culture" is a good match for the above, and I promise to include it in the list next time I talk to a redneck, whatever version he likes to hear Latin/Muslim/Slavic/FOREIGN might be alternatives, the latter meaning non-Anglo as opposed to not native for the country you are in - Danes are foreign when they are in Denmark too!

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GBR

Happy Norooz to all Iranians � what a beautiful celebration it is. Just a quick point: every educated person knows that Alexander of Macedonia destroyed Persian's Persepolis in one of the most barbaric acts in history of humankind, not just "western civilisation". This is a fact, not Hollywood fiction. Hollywood fabricates a lot of rubbish but most people, thankfully, can tell fact form fiction.

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IRL

Greek4GodsGift - You are dealing with little side points to what I was actually saying. The main point had nothing to do with the west and the rest, but with the fact that this movie is simply representative of the male hysteria genre rather than having any preconcieved political agenda.

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USA

Greek4GodsGift

It is of little importance that it is not true for ancient gunpowder, the paper, more recently algebra (Arabic!), the Periodic Table, and very recently Jet propulsion, Controlled Nuclear Fusion, the laser, plus the Internet Protocol came from CERN in Switzerland, not the USA.

Hi Greek

Cern is certainly one of the world's great research centers, but I believe that it was the Chinese who are credited with developing both gunpowder and paper.

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USA

First things first. I saw the movie and could care less about how they portray the Persians as it is EXTREMELY difficult to take this movie seriously...That's that...so everyone, Persian or non-Persian, please CHILL IT OUT.
2nd - for those of you who are trying to insult Iranian culture by connecting it to bombs, extrimism, etc....You're just ignorant and don't know anything about ture Iranian culture and if you're not interested or can't think of anything intellectual to justify your arguments, no one cares, just keep your mouth shut.
3rd - those who question the contribution that ancient Persians have made to this world (yes, you psyops), just remember: chances are that when the Persians owned half of the known world, you're ancestors were still having sex with their own children, brother & sisters, and probably eating food off the floor.
psyops, you obviously have no clue about Persian history and the extensive history of the Greek-Persian wars. I know you probably hate to hear this, but the Persians have won many if not most of them...so shut the f. up.
BTW, HAPPY NEW YEAR to all Ma' Persians.
I'm OUT.

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AUS

RogerINtheUSA,

I think Greek was only attributing the "very recently" category to CERN - his earlier examples were just "not the West." (And gunpowder may have been a Chinese invention, but it took the west to turn it into a weapon of mass destruction ;-))

There's a very interesting article in the latest "New Scientist" about prejudice: the origins, role and possible implications of "us and them" perception and behaviour.

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GBR

@usilow

nonsensical, paranoid leftist ramblings = stuff wot I am too thick to understand

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GBR

re marvel and dc comics as propaganda..in their heyday they were actually about responsibility and being good...anyhoo..there was an experiment done years ago where viewers of a video were told 2 from a group of pre school children they were watching on the tape playing had behavioural problems. although none of the children had any behavioural problems those looking and expecting to see problems did indeed see an example of a number of difficult behaviours.....that story seems to make sense with regards to many of the "outrages" discovered when people want to find them...

TONIGHT WE DINE IN HELL XX

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USA

Forget about this stupid movie. This is for bunch of hill billies with half ass education....

Let's all support Cyrus Kar and his effort to make cyrus the great project off the ground. While in there make sure you contribute as well.

http://spentaproductions.com/cyruspreview.htm

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GRC

Hi Pers80,
thanks for sort of clearing the mystery of my posts being considered offensive. Although had you taken care in reading them, you 'd find out they are not.
You somehow seem to conclude i am denying the importance of the Persian civilisation of 25 centuries ago and take offence at that...to which charge I plead innocent...just read my posts more carefully.
Each culture is of its merit, though of course all are not equal in their contributions to civilisation. I know I originate from a eurocentric narrative, being aware of such a bias is ok but being a cultural relativist is not ok by me. Now I happen to think the huge importance of the ancient greek contribution is sort of an objective given. I bet ancient Persians of 500 BC were cool too, though qualitatively they belong to the oriental dynastic genre. Still, every cotribution is welcome. And yes, the post ascribing the US constitution to 500 BC Persia was pretty outrageously revisionist and absurd by my standards.
The thing is... does it occur to you how absurd it is to get worked up over defending a civilisation of 2500 years ago? The only reason for having such a sensitivity is having been subjected to stupid nationalist propaganda, ascribing to you some sort of pride and interest in your homeland's ancient past. Believe me, I know about it, been there, done that. This is the 21st century AD, maybe we can focus on this age, shall we? As the cult of a glorious past is a really crude and boring propaganda ploy in my country as well as yours, I suggest you get more in touch with your nationalist feelings and more critical of them.
I bet they told you at school you originate from a glorious civilisation that enlightened the world with its majesty and this somehow makes you too all important...still I suggest you snap out of the propaganda and embrace reality.

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CAN

Today's reality however is that Iran is a far larger and geopolitically more important country than Greece, sorry Psyops.
To think of all that was done to that part of the world by the Muslim Turks, which your ancestors invited and carried across from Asia Minor on their own ships!

All attempts are also being made by the Anglo-Saxon West to sever all connections to (Greco-)Roman civilisation: they refuse to practice medicine in Latin (or even look at a prescription in Latin!), they claim that there are de-facto no verb tenses in the English/German/Dutch languages, those being just a carry-over from Latin-mindedness etc.

I had a funny occasion at work: we were sitting in a formal meeting, and one of us had to be scribe. A colleague of Italian descent said "Ah - scriba!", at which point a redneck that disliked him went "Shut up A., we all know that there is an Italian equivalent for most English words!" My jaw went south...

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USA

By the way, Terry Jones' excellent documentary series "Terry Jones' Barbarians" deals with a lot of illusions about how barbaric were all the societies outside the Greco-Roman world.

One interesting episode dealt with a war between Rome and the Persians, and on this occasion it was the Persians who were the more advanced warriors.

Obviously like most research it brings us past the most simplistic Greco-Roman propaganda so it manages to appreciate the contributions both within and just outside the Roman world.

Surely one would not want their understanding of the ancient world obscured by any one particular society's biases.

The DVD is not out yet, apparently, but here's the accompanying book.
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Terry-Jones-Barbarians/dp/0563493186/ref=pd_ka_1/202-8613814-9159849?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1174432705&sr=8-1

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GRC

Hey Greek, I know Iran is larger and more important and I am absolutely OK with that. I am also quite happy I dont live there, I wouldnt like to live under sharia law and they stand a high chance of getting blitzed by the americans these days, so i think i am better off at home, thank you.
Ok, I guess some americans are kind of crude in their worldview and worldyness. However, i think reason, simplicity, debate and critique are important aspects of the western world. In some cases, the anglosaxons seem to do those values more justice than relativist continentals these days. Be fair.
Off to bed now, gotta wish those Persians a happy, bombless new year!

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GBR

Usilow

I am amused by your attempt to change the context of what i said in my article earlier.

You said:
"As you are writing in the guardian, which dedicates itself to attacking western civlisation, I am curious as to what you mean by this."

I think the word confused rather than curious fits your state of mind at this point. In the paragraph i wrote to which you have referred to, i was adddressing the movie '300' as part of the western media propaganda rather than the 'guardian' itself. I am not sure whether this was a product of your state of confusion or perhaps more intelligently a mere attempt to change the context of what i was saying (again a technique many media corporations use)in order to fabricate a contradiction in my article. Such a contradiction does not exist as i regard the guardian as one of the few media organisations which actually give a better perspective of what is actually going on in he world.

I consider your statement : "I have a very critical mind, a critical mind is the essence of western civilisation, unlike, well, every other one, especially the Muslim one." as fringing on the line of racial abuse as you automatically assume, from my name Nabil, that i am a muslim (true) and therefore, have the disadvantaged trait of not having a critical mind. My dear friend, i ask you to revise your definition of what 'critical' is. Being critical involves the use of the skill of criticism to reach a judgement about something regardless of what side you are on as long as your argument is reasoned. My article is a clear example of a critical mind, and therefore, i (being generalized by your statement as the whole of the Muslim people!) do have a critical mind.

I agree with your statement: "People are not going to see the movie for political reasons". Indeed, people are more than likely to go and watch the film 300 because they find it interesting and appealing. The focus of my article was on the propaganda which affects film during and after seeing the movie, and not before, which you have inferred. People as you have rightly said do not go and see the movie because they know they are falling into the trap of propaganda. The propaganda is already there, but it's effect takes place during watching the movie and not before. Extending on the idea of western propaganda in this particular movie, the army fighting against the spartans could have been an army of a million aliens or robots rather than the Persian army but still have the same effect of inducing fear in people. This effect does not create the sense of being under threat as the people in the western world (especially in the united states) are already in such a state. The desired effect is to strengthen the already present feeling amongst people that they are under threat from an entity which is unpredictable, merciless and savage. However, this effect of frightening the people is very small in this film alone and the fear of the threat of terrorism is only strengthened significantly when enough fear has accumulated. This accumulation of fear occurs through observing the media in the western world (especially the USA). This fear amongst people is the ultimate aim of the propaganda as generated by the US government and being blindly reported in the media.

Again, i am amazed by your ignorance in your article when referring to the Muslim people in the following statement:

"I'm sure if the Muslims got together and made a decent movie about Muhammad's extravagant conquerings young western males would flock to see it. Sadly most Muslim nations don't do culture (as seen by the shocking lack of book translation), even those with money out their ears (Saudi Arabia), so that ain't going to happen.".

Your ignorance shines when you say that there is no muslim culture. It is enough to say that the Qur'an itself drives the culture of many muslims until now. This culture does not only exist in the years of the prophet Mohammad but also these days, which is a fact you have ignored. Such culture is seen in any of the Arab countries' broadcasts where films and series are made about various historical campaigns in the past.

In conclusion, it is good to be critical, but being critical involves being within reason which you havent shown.

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USA

doesnotexist
RogerINtheUSA,

I think Greek was only attributing the "very recently" category to CERN - his earlier examples were just "not the West." (And gunpowder may have been a Chinese invention, but it took the west to turn it into a weapon of mass destruction ;-))

When I read Greek4's posting I envisioned 1. a bunch of scientists in Meyrin sitting in a circle pounding wood pulp to make paper 2. a similar group embellishing their grant proposals.


There's a very interesting article in the latest "New Scientist" about prejudice: the origins, role and possible implications of "us and them" perception and behaviour.

Unfortunately I don't have access to it yet - it will be available through my library later. I had been talking to my son this weekend about possible hormonal changes in adolescents that make them particularly group vs outside conscious and particularly vicious. There's a cif post " Reason with yourself" that deals with ethical issues and the family vs outsider issue.


re Mubai

Hollywood has been manipulated to reinforce western sensibilities for years. In the eighties, all the bad guys were Russians, there was a brief South African phase in the early nineties, now we have Arabs, as bad guys, informants, 'defectors', rehabilitated
Hi How about some examples?

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GBR

I sort of agree with usilow here. I don't understand what the fuss is about. To me, 300 appears to be just another "last stand" war porn movie which is loosely based on a historical battle (one that occured in 480 BCE in this case). I haven't made any connection between it and what is happening in 2007. I'm sure other people will (some people already have), but that isn't the film's fault.

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USA

ABSOLUTELY DISGUSTING! There is too little pederasty in '300' for it to be an accurate portrayal of ancient Greece! The Greeks all lived by the rule 'Women for breeding, boys for pleasure'. There are still too many heteros in the US military for the comparison to work

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CAN

It was a stupid, gory, and borderline racist waste of money and time.

thanks for the link, EnBuenOra

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CAN

The East German Communists used to say;

"Art is just politics in another form"

Thus, any art that is not in service of the "Regime" is therefore subversive.
Given the totalitarian mindset of Iran s regime, it is no surprise that they are pissed off at the movie as it deals with Persians and does not portray them according to the desires or interpretations of the Islamic Republic.

If the movie would have outright glorified the Persians and had not portrayed them in a negative light, the Regime would still be upset just that in that event they would be crying about the "West Glorifying Persia and all its golden past vs the "piety" of the new "Islamic Iran".

They would be arguing that the Jew USA is attempting to undermine their national culture by emphasizing it's non Islamic and hedonistic past, thus destabilizing the Regime and attempting to bring back the debauchery of the Shah.
In other words, no movie would make them happy aside from one praising the virtues of their depraved regime.

It is one thing for the writer of this article to be critical of the depiction of Persia or Persians....we could debate as to how that did or did not occur...but quite another is to invoke the statements and opinions of the Fascist thugs running Iran s dictatorship. Those parts of the article in themselves debase the credibility of the critique as much as throwing around words like "racist", the Pavlovian code word to salivate the Guardinistas.
This government has gone after Pirates of the Caribbean and Tom & Jerry.
Just watching this foul piece makes one sick. For someone to then come around and use Nazi analogies is almost funny.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rX-DZk900Ak

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CAN

The East German Communists used to say;

"Art is just politics in another form"

Thus, any art that is not in service of the "Regime" is therefore subversive.
Given the totalitarian mindset of Iran s regime, it is no surprise that they are pissed off at the movie as it deals with Persians and does not portray them according to the desires or interpretations of the Islamic Republic.

If the movie would have outright glorified the Persians and had not portrayed them in a negative light, the Regime would still be upset just that in that event they would be crying about the "West Glorifying Persia and all its golden past vs the "piety" of the new "Islamic Iran".

They would be arguing that the Jew USA is attempting to undermine their national culture by emphasizing it's non Islamic and hedonistic past, thus destabilizing the Regime and attempting to bring back the debauchery of the Shah.
In other words, no movie would make them happy aside from one praising the virtues of their depraved regime.

It is one thing for the writer of this article to be critical of the depiction of Persia or Persians....we could debate as to how that did or did not occur...but quite another is to invoke the statements and opinions of the Fascist thugs running Iran s dictatorship. Those parts of the article in themselves debase the credibility of the critique as much as throwing around words like "racist", the Pavlovian code word to salivate the Guardinistas.
This government has gone after Pirates of the Caribbean and Tom & Jerry.
Just watching this foul piece makes one sick. For someone to then come around and use Nazi analogies is almost funny.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rX-DZk900Ak

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USA

Apparently all 4 episodes of "Terry Jones' Barbarians" are available for viewing on Google Video (and probably YouTube as well, I'd guess):

http://video.google.com/videosearch?q=terry+jones+barbarians

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IND

This is still going on? So much vitriol over what sounds like one of the dumbest films ever? Cool down folks, go and watch some nice romance.

RogerInTheUSA,

I can't remember the Clancy novel in which Japan (the main villain), China and India team up to expand their territory to house their expanding populations. Which of India's neighbours do Clancy had her eyeing? I put this to an American brother-in-law (who spends at least a month of every year in this country) and after a week of agonising over the question, he came up with Somalia! Clancy had us attacking that drop in the Indian Ocean, Sri Lanka. It is a beautiful country, but it isn't exactly large.

I giggled over it through a long train journey. By the end of the book (which had an irate Japanese pilot wipe out most of the US government by flying a plane into the Capitol), I was hysterical to the point of worrying my fellow passengers. They couldn't believe that a book about warring countries was funny.

Among other things, Clancy took off at the Japanese for being a) polite and b) scrupulous about their personal hygiene. I consider these admirable traits, but Clancy did not. Sorry, I am getting the giggles just thinking about it.

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AUS

Teacup

You are a treasure, a calm but captivating oasis in the harsh wastelands that can be CiF.

But saying: "Cool down folks, go and watch some nice romance" is asking a bit much. I mean, a chickflick!!? I might like Jane Austen and classical music, I might be a librarian (and former househusband even), but really, if Hugh Grant had never been born, would the world be a worse place for that?

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IND

Thanks DoesNotExist,

Let us hijack this thread and turn it into the battle of the sexes (assuming that the moderator does not notice). You must agree that chickflicks are innately superior to "gore-fests" in that they glorify love rather than war. I can't comment on Hugh Grant, but a world without Placido Domingo or Samuel Ramey would be duller for women.

Over to you

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AUS

Teacup,

Well yes, far better to glorify love rather than war, but do chickflicks have much to do with real love? (And I like "gore-fests" even less.)

And a world without Placido Domingo or Samuel Ramey (or Anne-Sophie von Otter or Emma Kirkby) would be duller for everyone (everyone of taste at least), men amd women.

(Oh dear, I'm not really getting the hang of this "battle of the sexes" thing, am I?)

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NLD

@Teacup and DoesNotExist - howabout a combination of gore-fest and chick flick? Personally, and I may be totally slated for this, but I thought The Two Towers encompassed both genres....

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GBR

Well the Iranians have a knack for paranoia:

From Deborah Lipstadts site:

A story, about which I blogged last year, is once again making the rounds. It concerns an Iranian professor who has "discovered" that the American cultural icons, Tom and Jerry, the cat and mouse cartoon characters, are part of the Jewish conspiracy. In short, Tom and Jerry are a ploy to make people think well of mice and, by association, of Jews.

This news was broken by Hassan Bolkhari, an Iranian professor of philosophy who is a member of the Iranian Film Council and a cultural advisor to the Iranian Education Minister in a speech at an Iranian film seminar [translation courtesy of MEMRI, where you can view the clip].

Bolkhari told his audience that the cartoon characters �Tom and Jerry,� a creation of the �Jewish Walt Disney Company,� were actually elements in a conspiracy designed to improve the public image of Jews.

[Ignore, if you will, the facts that �Tom and Jerry� was created by the Hanna Barbera team in the MGM studios and at the time of the creation of Tom and Jerry, the Walt Disney Company was a place that was not particularly hospitable to Jews. Those are just irrelevant detail of importance only to Jews and troglodytes.]

Bolkhari made it all sound quite rational.

"If you study European history, you will see who was the main power in hoarding money and wealth, in the 19th century. In most cases, it is the Jews.�


In their hording, he charged, they were acting just like mice. This was the origin, Bolkhari explained, of one of the derogatory terms used to refer to Jews, �dirty mice.�

In an attempt to counter this negative impression, Jewish cartoonists created a cute mouse who would make people laugh. Bolkhari told his audience that:

�the mouse [in the cartoon] is very clever and smart. Everything he does is so cute. He kicks the poor cat's ass. Yet this cruelty does not make you despise the mouse. He looks so nice, and he is so clever.�


Of course, Bolkhari continued, contrary to the impression left by this endearing mouse, Jerry, mice are actually �very cunning...and dirty,� just like Jews. That is one of the reasons, he added, Hitler hated them.

Don�t dismiss Bolkhari as some fringe kook dredged up by MEMRI to poke fun at the Iranians. According to the 2005 Iranian Short Film Festival, where he was a judge, he holds a Ph.D. in Islamic Philosophy and teaches philosophy at Tabatabaei and Al-Zahra Universities in Iran.

Jon Stewart has taught us you just can't make these things up.
� 2007 Deborah Lipstadt

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CAN

"Don�t dismiss Bolkhari as some fringe kook dredged up by MEMRI to poke fun at the Iranians. According to the 2005 Iranian Short Film Festival, where he was a judge, he holds a Ph.D. in Islamic Philosophy and teaches philosophy at Tabatabaei and Al-Zahra Universities in Iran."

Sounds like we will see his featured posts here soon on CiF

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GBR

�Hitler in Argentina� is an excellent work of investigation whose main objective is to prove The Fuhrer did not commit suicide in Berlin, but that probably fled to Patagonia. It is over this topic that investigative journalist, Abel Basti has gathered a great number of data, mostly coming from witnesses and documentation � to prove that the so-called death of the Nazi leader, at his Bunker in Berlin, has been a great lie that has been maintained alive for more than sixty years�

Very interesing article in

http://www.qu4tro.co.uk/

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GBR

�Hitler in Argentina� is an excellent work of investigation whose main objective is to prove The Fuhrer did not commit suicide in Berlin, but that probably fled to Patagonia. It is over this topic that investigative journalist, Abel Basti has gathered a great number of data, mostly coming from witnesses and documentation � to prove that the so-called death of the Nazi leader, at his Bunker in Berlin, has been a great lie that has been maintained alive for more than sixty years�

Very interesing article in

http://www.qu4tro.co.uk/

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IND

DoesNotExist and pHughes,

Looks as though we could not tempt McLefty or Armaros. Sigh!

You have a point about chickflicks, DNE. If I had daughters, I would ban them from reading most mindless romances until they were married or had reasonable experience in the real world. Still better than the "lets go in and kick some a**" school of writing, though.

pHughes,

That entire trilogy is a marvellous mix of war and romance. Of course, there is that school of drama or opera writing where the play/opera ends because the entire cast has been wiped out and there is nobody left to act/sing. Those bel canto gems, The Siege of Corinth and Lucrezai Borgia come to mind, though the latter is mass poisoning rather than war. Doesn't 'Tis a Pity She's a Whore also end with the whole lot having passed on to another world?

There is a real battle of sexes going in in the "Women in the Navy" thread. It will probably get bloody before it gets better.

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GBR

mirthcontrol:
"re marvel and dc comics as propaganda..in their heyday they were actually about responsibility and being good..."

If you care to examine the metaphors and signifying codes in these comics you will find that most of them act as vehicles for an overarching tenor that symbolises the Cold War, the evils of communism and the 'alien' East and the exceptionalism of the American way of life.

Many of the posts on this thread are amongst the most stupid that I have read on Cif.

I recommend the following introductory text: Fiske, J. 'Introduction to Communication Studies', 2nd Edition.

Reading this text might help some of you to appear more like informed decoders of media messages and less like blathering gobshites.

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SWE

Teacup

"If I had daughters, I would ban them from reading most mindless romances until they were married "

My Grandmother read mindless romances untill she was married.
Then she started on murder mysterys.

Doesnt that just say it all?

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IRL

Communication studies, Questionaire? Ha, I knew it, only a someone into 'studies studies' could use such inscrutable language.

Communism was evil, and I'm sorry if American comic books failed to portray that fact in a sufficiently ironic manner, and did not place the word freedom in inverted commas when talking about America. I think the best was the alternate history of Superman where instead of being raised by good midwestern farmers landed in the USSR and became Stalins henchman. The East is weird, Russia is a lovely place but an enigma. And the American way of life is a lot better than most others... with the exception of the French, who live the best.

Anyway I hope Millers Holy Terror Batman fights for truth, justice and the American way! I expect a good deconstruction of it by you for the tutorial after it comes out questionaire.

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GBR

@ Teacup and all

Combination of chick-flick and gore-fest? You've got this tom-boy's vote...

True Romance
The Lost Boys
Sleepy Hollow

Any other suggestions?

Lord of the Rings was just to long and dragged out. Plus Orlando Bloom does nothing for me...

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GBR

questionaiire. Humble as ever. Have you actually read many comics or are you just regurgitating other people ideas from some Communication Studies book ?

Tony Stark as All American playboy hero, was swiftly followed by Tony Stark as drunk bum, friendless, looser.

Was that also meant to highlight the success of the US dream vs the dark failure of communism ?

Personally I don�t think there is any other medium as subversive or as outspoken against current US and Western policies, religions orthodoxy and socially corrosive power, or as brilliant at exposing the bulls**t of modern consumerism, politics, mass media and our dystopian surveillance society as comic writers and artists.

Miller is an outspoken critic of censorship and pretty hard to pin a label on . His work certainly appeals to the kid in us, that likes ripping yarns of the type enjoyed by humans since we painted heroes hunting scary beasts on cave walls. Nothing wrong with ripping yarns.

As to being racist, who knows, but one of his most successful books is that of �a young, African American woman who escapes abject poverty and becomes successful while fighting the ideologies of racism, gender bias, and mental illness.� .. �The series was a mix of Miller's typical action sequences as well as being a political satire of the United States and its major corporations.�

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IND

LesterJones,

I don't know how to ask this delicately, but your grandfather...?

Mook,

Great titles! This is the wrong end of the day for me to be creative, I am a lark, but I shall think about it, to the detriment of the evening.

Have you read the trilogy? The books are so much better than those films.

Will catch up tomorrow.

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GBR

@ Teacup, sleep well. I am an owl so I always seem to miss your interesting contributions.

I have read the LoTR trilogy, and am sorry to say I found it just as ridiculous as the films.

The only chick-flick/gore-fest book I can think of is Birdsong. Sebastien Faulks writes about being a woman better than most women I've read...

@LesterJones - !!! my mother also loves Agatha Christie and Stephen King. Perhaps I should warn my dad...

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"Combination of chick-flick and gore-fest?"

The Alien films, House of Flying Daggers, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Buffy the Vampire Slayer ...

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SWE

@Teacup

Exactly, My Grandfather eventually died a natural death, but in my Grandmothers imagination he had met his maker by way of candlestick, rope, poison, hit and run, run and hit, gun shot, blade, sword, drowning, suffocation......Goodness knows what would have happened without the vent that was murder mysterys, I may not be here to reply to your post...

@moook

Considering what Ive just written to Teacup I suggest you get your Mother subscibed to a murder mystery bookclub, its your Fathers only hope!

By the way, maybe Sebastian Faulks and you both just imagine what its like to be a women in the same way, unless of course you are a women, then Faulks really is cleverer than I thought he was.

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GBR

For all this talk of Spartans representing democratic vis a vie, an equal opportunity society...isn't a society such as Persia's, a society that accepts homosexuality, bisexuality, multiple cultures and cultures, disability (even accepting the erotic potential of amputees - Xerxes' go-go dancers) a far better representative than a bunch of proto-Nazi's?

Once again the white west rears their fears of the "other"...naive claims of "it's just a film"...

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GBR

@ LesterJones

As long as Elizabeth George keeps writing then I think Dad is safe...

I am a woman. Yes, Mr Faulks is a genius! For someone like me who is officially allergic to the romance/chick-lit genre in all its trite gloopiness, he is proof that it is possible to write about love and sex from a woman's perspective without inducing more nausea than the thought of John Prescott naked.

Plus he brought a new understanding to WW1 - a monstrous event that seemed so far away to me before to be almost irrelevant. How humbled I feel now after reading Birdsong.

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GBR

Zoroastafarian, great name. However, while I take your point, I feel you should realise that, no matter how repressive a society like Sparta is, no matter how badly it treats its own people, no matter how more civilised you think you are, you still shouldn't be invading and occupying them. Don't try to spread your values at the point of a meat cleaver.

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NOR

Obviously, the Iranian representative at Unesco works as a PR person for the film 300.

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NLD

House of flying daggers was an excellent movie - but was it a gore fest?!?!...here's one of gore-fest and chick-flick rambo 2 - take me to america rambo!

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SWE

@Moook

Then fair play to Faulks. I loved "Birdsong" aswell but struggled with some of the others and was glad to be rid of "Charlotte Grey".

Anyway, metaphysically speaking its still possible that you and Sebastian only imagine what it is like to be a women in the same way!

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GBR

Thank you Lopakhin. And i agree:

"Don't try to spread your values at the point of a meat cleaver."

Something both sides, the Islamic fundamentalists and the US/ Isreali administrations should both heed.

Pacifism above any other isms!

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IRL

God, I hate Terry Jones as a historian (as a comedian, he was probably the least funny of the Python). He appeared on BBC recently with Mary Beard, criticising the allegedly right-wing leanings of Kenneth Clark's "Civilization", which is ironic coming from someone who produces a whole series which is merely agitprop for the "American is Bad" crowd and has all the subtlety of a brick.

P.

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GBR

@ LesterJones

I've only read Birdsong, though I liked the film of Charlotte Grey.

"Anyway, metaphysically speaking its still possible that you and Sebastian only imagine what it is like to be a women in the same way!"

A truer word ne'er spoken on Cif. Eddie Izzard jokes that he is a lesbian trapped in a man's body. It's quite possible I am the reverse...

@ waltz and phughes - sorry, I thought House of Flying Daggers was dreadful!

I would add any Sean Connery - and now Daniel Craig - Bond film to our list, though again not particularly gorey. And From Dusk till Dawn, and Three Kings. Mr Clooney mixes gore and gorgeousness perfectly.

Must stop daydreaming and get some work done...

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GBR

Amazing
the peace loving, tolerant and in no way mad fundamentalist, leader of iran taking offence at the great satan again, how newsworthy.

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GBR

Questionnaire

You see the problem is that word "decode" which equals "interpretation" - you are acting as if interpretations have the same epistomological status as some directly observable empirical fact. Now if you can explain to us all how the theoretical framework you are using to decode such works of art as 300 in such an "informed" manner can be rigourously testified through empirical (preferably experimental or another form of controlled quantative test) means then you will be taken seriously as the external objective world of matter is the only authority that matters in determining the validity of a theory (Mr Fiske and his 1st year university text book notwithstanding). Otherwise you are basically doing the same as all those medieval scholastics with their ever so useful discussion about how many angels can dance on a pin-head.

Oh and don't bother giving me any post-modern anti-science stuff mate either - the fact that I am sitting here typing this on my laptop and not sitting in my cave waiting for the anti-christ flagellating myself and wondering in my fast induced delirium if rocks are safe to eat shows that the running score so far is Empiricism 1 Angels on Pinheads 0. The further a proposition is from direct empirical measurement, the more layers of interpretation there are, the more likely it is that the "informed decoder" is just projecting his/her own biases onto the subject and its all just a load of wank. It might be internally logical intelligently expressed wank in some cases but it stil ain't empirical fact and can't be treated as such.

So stop condescending us and try reading less 1st year communication studies textbooks and more history of philosophy instead and try to learn some critical thought.

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SWE

@moook

Ahh, the beauties of CiF, from gore to chick-flick to metaphysics and back again in one easy mouthful.

Eddie Izzard, now your talking, the walking talking living lesbian in a mans body doll. I can only hope he is the future, as for me, I believe Im a lesbian dreaming Im a man stuck in a mans body, and frankly its the best dream Ive ever had.

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USA

Teacup
RogerInTheUSA,

I can't remember the Clancy novel in which Japan (the main villain), China and India team up to expand their territory to house their expanding populations. Which of India's neighbours do Clancy had her eyeing? I put this to an American brother-in-law (who spends at least a month of every year in this country) and after a week of agonising over the question, he came up with Somalia! Clancy had us attacking that drop in the Indian Ocean, Sri Lanka. It is a beautiful country, but it isn't exactly large.


Hi Teacup

I looked at a world map and found where India is. I see that there's a huge amount of unoccupied land just north - maybe they could attack that - oh, whoops, maybe not that country. Maybe they could invade along their southwestern and southeastern borders. Oh.

Reminds me of the Canadians complaining that the guns smuggled into Canada are all smuggled in along their US border.

LesterJones posted

My Grandmother read mindless romances untill she was married.
Then she started on murder mysterys.

Hi Lester

It's when she moves to the Internet that you worry

"McGuire's computer also contains searches for guns, chloral hydrate"
"he computer user searched for "how to purchase guns in Pennsylvania," and "purchase guns in N.J." The jury heard evidence last week that McGuire had purchased a Taurus model 85 .38-caliber handgun and a box of bullets from John's Gun and Tackle Room gun shop in Easton, Pa."
"Someone at approximately 5:44 p.m. on April 18, 2004, typed the words "how to commit murder" into a search engine on the Internet on the McGuires' home desktop computer, "
" . . . on trial for killing her husband, William McGuire, in their Woodbridge Center Plaza apartment and later dismembering his body "

"http://ems.gmnews.com/news/2007/0321/Front_Page/010.html"


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GBR

@ LesterJones - !! sounds fun...

@ questionnaire and reynardthe fox

I have read the Fiske text. I have also read that other favourite of 1st year communications studies students � Roland Barthes' 'Death of the Author', where Barthes basically says that any meaning put into a film/book/whatever is made redundant as soon as it's shown to an audience as that audience will interpret the work any way they damn well like.

Just thought I'd play devil's advocate ;-)

(and no, I don't have a degree in communications studies!)

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GBR

I'm confused... Is the movie any good then?

As for re-writing history (ala "Ministry Of Truth" style), only a moron would look to Hollywood as a definitive source of historical events. True, some accurate films do slip through the LA Bullsh*t Detector (tm), but they are usually really boring and about tax-evasion or clog-dancing!

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USA

Psyops - WOW...I wasn't aware of your extensive knowledge regarding education in Iran. Have you ever been there? it's ok you don't have to answer that...believe me, NO ONE in Iranian schools tries to glorify any past kingdoms as it would go against the current regime in Iran and would undermine their efforts to represent thier own form of ruling as the most glorious in Iran. Again you're taking about things you don't know jack about. And no, i don't thing it's obsured to get worked up over defending a civilisation of 2500 years ago when I see an ignorant person such as yourself, who seems to know absolutely nothing worth mentioning, insults it. I sugget you do some research first and only then come sit in front of your computer and express your thoughts using your keyboard...thanks & out.

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GBR

usilow:
"Communism was evil..."

Thank you for that nuanced and sophisticated analysis.

qwan:
"questionaiire. Humble as ever. Have you actually read many comics or are you just regurgitating other people ideas from some Communication Studies book?"

I once owned a a whole series of Marvel Ist editions, which I gave away to my cousins. They lived on a farm and eventually the comics ended up on a spike in the outside toilet. When I took my young son to the shop 'Forbidden Planet' in the 1990s, I was informed that I had given away over 15,000 quids worth of comics.

At the moment I'm just regurgitating some basic ideas. One has to start somewhere. We'll take it to a more advanced level when you all get the hang of it.

"Tony Stark as All American playboy hero, was swiftly followed by Tony Stark as drunk bum, friendless, looser...Was that also meant to highlight the success of the US dream vs the dark failure of communism?"

Try thinking what the American Dream is actually about. Exactly that. The loser rising to status and riches, losing his grip and rising again is also a motif of Westerns; think Dean Martin.

ReynardtheFox:
"You see the problem is that word "decode" which equals "interpretation" - you are acting as if interpretations have the same epistomological status as some directly observable empirical fact. Now if you can explain to us all how the theoretical framework you are using to decode such works of art as 300 in such an "informed" manner can be rigourously testified through empirical (preferably experimental or another form of controlled quantative test) means then you will be taken seriously as the external objective world of matter is the only authority that matters in determining the validity of a theory..."

That would be 'epistemological', 'rigorously', 'tested' and 'quantitative'.

No charge for that.

I taught the philosophy of science for years, and I am well aware that empiricism, materialism and scientific method have their place. We are now, however, exploring the qualitative realm, in which you obviously have no expertise. So shut up and read a book.

moook:
"Roland Barthes' 'Death of the Author', where Barthes basically says that any meaning put into a film/book/whatever is made redundant as soon as it's shown to an audience as that audience will interpret the work any way they damn well like."

Yes, but earlier, in 'Mythologies', he had distinguished between the 'denotative' and 'connotative' orders, and in the latter the individual's interpretations are heavily influenced by the 'preferred' meanings of the culture of which he/she is a subject. Later, in S/Z, he admitted that the ability of the text to provide the author with multi-layered polysemic meaning, and thus allow breadth of interpretation, depended on its quality and, of course, on the quality of the audience - almost back to Leavisite elitism.

The movie '300' is not a quality text, and Masoud Golsorkhi is correct to posit it as a crude piece of warmongering racism that symbolises the current clash between Islam and the oil-hungry West. Yes, it only works with idiots, but these are precisely the idiots who voted for Bush and Blair and believed their WMD and Al-Queda fictions before the invasion of Iraq.

Cultivating idiots as the target audience is the mass media's primary function. More politically dangerous than the idiots are the half-educated who believe that the standard liberal-pluralist encoding/decoding that exists in popular culture is actually subversive and oppositional. No it isn't; it's a fake.

Much to learn. So little time.

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USA

EnBuenOra says, "I can't wait for Frank Millers' "D-Day" in which the allies storm the beach in speedos and pistols and are met by 20 foot tall Nazis with arms made out of tigers and bayonets for teeth."

That movie would be AWESOME!!!!!!! YEAH!!!!

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GBR

Thermoplye?

As a persian, you should always remeber Purim. Mahmoud Ahmadinajed is the new Haman.

Not forgetting what happened to the Amalekites.

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USA

questionnaire - well said...agreed.
EnBuenOra and newyorkblue - dude, i would see that movie twice and buy it on DVD too.

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GBR

Fantastic movie! Go see it! Remember, in a weeks time no one will remember all the abstruse intellectualising wank spouted by all the lefty morons on this website, but two thousand five hundred years later we still lionise the 300 Spartan warriors who went to war to defend the freedom of Europe. Hail to the real men!

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GBR

"Combination of chick-flick and gore-fest?"

Audition? Can't beat Takashi Miike.

... or is that pushing things too far?

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GBR

@Questionaire, do you really believe that any story where the hero overcomes an obstacle is about the American dream is it?


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GBR

@Questionaire,so any story where the hero overcomes an obstacle is about the American dream is it?


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SWE

"Combination of chick-flick and gore-fest?"

Pop-Idol for sure, plots a bit thin but OH the gore and the chicks and the gore and the chicks. It just never stops

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DEU

Back to the article: if the manufacturers of fur coats state in their marketing that the animals were all treat 'humanely' in that they had lots of room to move during captivity, they fed on only organic fresh foods, were stroked lovingly at least once every hour and were also allowed to watch TV and listen to Mozart...would this make it alright to wear fur? Would it make us at least feel better about it and possibly marvel at the extra natural, happy shine of the material?

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GBR

Hey dholiday, nice idea, wrong article...

D'oh!

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DEU

Ouch! Sorry...my post made even less sense than most others here

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GBR

questionnaire....i love when non comic people talk about "marvel 1st editions"...what are they ???

comics were about goodies and baddies..responsibility and doing good... i grew up and thanks to some help from people like peter parker i got involved in the support of others..
duties i carry out with fairness and respect..
too bad you used yours for toilet paper.... x

ps do you agree people often see what they are looking for even if it isnt there ?

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GBR

seertaek - you sound just like a chap called heigou. i wonder if you are him, resurrected...

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USA

Oddly the "highly offended" protests by Iranians only make you look ridiculous. You aren't getting the rules, as in suck it up or laugh it off, crying and moaning about it only makes it more popular for the publicity. After what Hollywood has done to every minority group at one time or another, the British, the Japanese, all of Asia really, and anyone else they could get away with, what makes Iran so special that they alone should never be dealt with in any manner that offends their oh so delicate sensitivities?

It takes a rare, usually indie movie to even bother attempting to get the historical accuracies right, and when they are trying in the trailer it will TALK about the historical accuracies in the film. I don't even recall one trailer talking about the fact that the battle actually happened.

That it is based on a comic book does matter, look at the visuals, its not even TRYING to be realistic.

Personally I can not wait to see it. Fully realized stylistic visuals, what looks like a fascinating performance by Gerard Butler, and a bunch of improbably hot looking men all sweaty and bad ass for two hours, I'm in. :)

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GBR

Questionnaire kinds like that secret weapon that can use right at the end of a difficult level in a computer game, when you've gained enough credits. A little more humility wouldn't go amis though, I mean, you know a lot but you don't know everything!

Psyops. I'm not going to argue about it. It;s there in black and white if anyone wants to see. I don't care if no one notices it but me. I've my piece on it.

Was it Roger in the USA who asked for examples?

Come on man, don't you watch movies?

Rambo III
Firefox
Various Bond movies------Bad Guys all Russians

Lethal Weapon 4, True Lies (I think) bad guys south african (and Arab, but they were the brainless headstrong henchmen/terrorists)

Sleeper Cell
one or two episodes of spooks
24

all have a mixture of Muslim terrorists, snitches, refermed characters and morally compromised

(Even lost had a guy in it who was supposed tobe a former fedieen guy)

Any more examples anyone? Of course there are british bad guys in loadsa movies but they are rarely really that serious. Oh and we cant forget Germans.

Of course us black guys are mostly just petty criminals, or 'second in command', out of the good guys (but never the big boss of the goodies).

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MEX

@Janissary.

"heigou" = Melanie Phillips.

When she was "outed" she stopped posting.

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USA

I think one has to take the context into consideration. With 300 being so over the top and obviously cartoonish it actually makes YOU look bad to be so affected by it. Yeah it has taken until like just recently for movies to begin to start get it right, and even then there are embarrasing examples to the contrary, like Blood Diamond, a movie set in is it Sierra Lione(?), that has a white guy for the main focus of the story.

Things like 24 I can actually understand the protests over, TV is actually more potent for that kind of racist propagandaesque stuff because of the weird difference it makes when something is directly into your home. When I saw in the latest season in the very beginning that the one "good" Muslim the caring white American family protected from the idiot thugs out to beat up any darker skin person they could find actually turned out to be a bad guy I was officially done. 24's nuclear bombs going off everywhere is the type of thing you have to watch out for.

Here's hoping the upcoming movie "the Kingdom", about American law enforcement having to get along with I think Saudi law enforcement IN Saudi Arabia is not another step backward, THAT movie getting it right would do alot.

No one is arguing that movies do not have power when they get it right, but you as well have to know when laughing it off at how away from reality it is, is the right call versus protest. This is the mistake the Iranian protestors are making.

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NZL

What about Star Wars? The new prequels reveal that all those faceless storm troopers are actually clones of Temuera Morrison and hence must be Maoris.

Outrage!

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