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Friday, August 29, 2008

"300" dudes in loincloths a visionary metaphor for Iraq

By Michael and Joel

Michael: "Gay!"

I've heard it said, oh, at least 300 times about this film. And it may seem hard to debate such an intellectual argument. After all, the movie is filled with spear-chuckers wearing only red loincloths, dripping olive oil sweat in the sun, taking on The Prince of Persia, who really seems to dig S&M (and I'm not talking about the Metallica album) with an army of (sex) slaves called Immortals for their renowned stamina, which the Spartans vow to "put to the test," if you catch my drift.

But, as my wonderful mother, the late Betsy Bay used to tell me during those confusing adolescent years, "gay" is a relative term. And that has proven true time and time again throughout my...throughout history.

Not really sure how this could be misinterpreted as "gay."

I mean, sure, on the surface, my description of 300 only two paragraphs back seems kind of gay, but around the same time, circa 300 B.C., the Greeks were holding some of their first Olympic the nude.

That's right folks. It's hard to believe in today's conservative culture, but back in the heyday of the Olympic Games, dudes let it all hang out whilst competing in wrestling matches, running full speed down the track and performing beautiful synchronized swimming techniques. It was a wonder to behold, though quite "gay," especially considering that women were banned from competition, essentially making the original Olympics a gyros fest.

Even that, however, pales in comparison to eight guys blowing nine guys, in the words of legendary comic Lee Harvey Oswalt. And really, is that even THAT gay relative to the idea of Rip Taylor, Elton John, Neil Patrick Harris, Rex Grossman, Liberace, Fabio and that black guy from Grey's Anatomy running a train on a unicorn atop a bed of rainbows during a pride parade? Not really.

"Gay" is a relative term. Neil Patrick Harris gets sloppy seconds, above.

The point is that while, yes, the male bonding and focus on working as a single "unit" may seem "gay," 300 is relatively mild in its gayness by historical standards, which is important to note, because at its core, 300 is a film about unadulterated history, straight from Frank Miller, a Spartan graphic novel historian who left behind a book to depict the facts, and only the facts, about the Battle of Thermometer, called so for the heat that was generated by the sea of flaming arrows--also totally not gay, despite its overwhelming phalliticity.

It's too bad that his artist, Lynn Varley, wasn't very good, and Miller himself didn't do much in the way of telling a complete story. Luckily, "director" Zack Snyder was given the reins to turn their hieroglyphics into a medium that today's audiences can understand (it's cool, super-fans, Michael Freakin' Bay had another little project called Trans-fucking-formers at the time and couldn't have accepted the gig were it offered). And turn he did, down to the very last detail. Miller's cryptic history is realized, as Snyder fills plot holes and doesn't shy away from providing viewers the true, gritty truth, in sllloooooowwww mooootttion. This may be the most historically accurate film ever created. Period.

While Miller and Varley's book wasn't quite as detailed as the Sunday greats like Marmaduke, and provided lame audio queues, it provided a formidable outline for Snyder's visionary epic.

Maxim, hailed alongside The Atlantic, The New Yorker and The FHM for its literary and arts prowess, wrote on the 300 movie box, "A spectacular visual feast that is as inventive and groundbreaking as the first Matrix." If that doesn't lend credability to the artistic vision that is 300, I don't know what does.

Maxim's teaser headlines prove it has truly earned it's spot among the intellectually elite.

Joel: The Matrix? Are you shitting me? That movie was crap compared to my visionary epic, The Number 23. But where were my sequels--The Number 24 and Numbers Revolution? If Hollywood wasn't overrun with Je...but I digress. The movie is packed like granola with areola, and you are darn tootin' about one thing, Michael; 300 is historical as fuck. And you know what they say, "History begets history." Which is why it became apparent early on that Snyder was not only recording history, but creating a metaphor for the War in Iraq. The War...Against Terrorism of Mass Destructions. Or TMDs.

Just look at some of the films key quotes and you have an idea of how Snyder feels about America's greatest conflict since Rocky IV.

As 300 is to the War in Iraq, Rocky IV was to the cold war. Spoiler alert: That referee bites it in Round 3.

As soon as the Persians (Americans) invade Sparta (Iraq), they're all driving around in Hummers, like, "This is madness!"

But the Spartans say, "No," [dramatic pause] "This is Spaaaaarta!"

See, if you buy into Snyder's liberal hullabaloo, America tried to make a change in a culture it did not understand, but the Iraqis were all like, "Dudes, this isn't madness. It's just Iraaaaaaq!" You should not change culture you do not understand, according to Snyder (and Indian in the Cupboard).

During the Spartan War the Ira...Spartans were burning their oil in an effort fuck us...Persia over, raise gas prices and shit on the environment. Oil smoke ain't good. I saw it in that Al Gore flick where he used that lift for the giganto power-point screen. Anyways, Not only did they give us nothing (TMDs, oil) but they took from us everything, Snyder argues.

It turns out the Persians, not the Spartans, were harboring TMDs all along.

"Give them nothing! But take from them everything!" Word, Snyder. Word.

"Ha-ooh!" a chant used often by the Spartan soldiers, is actually taken directly from the Iraqi equivalent for the American Marines' "Ooh-rah!" And it's just downright disrespectful.

"Tonight we dine in hell," one of the most famous quotes from the flick, is often inaccurately reported as an inaccurate translation on Snyder's part. Many believe the original quote actually ends with heaven, and was the common cry of Spartan martyrs before suicide mission. This theory, however, has been proven incorrect. Snyder's translation is, in fact, accurate, and the quote is actually meant to symbolize the routine of life and war in Sparta. The country's soldiers have become accustomed to the hell that is their country. And the rather than being a war cry, the line was a protest slogan meant to address the repetition of everyday life in Sparta, the plight of the common man, if you will.

"Prepare for glory," however, was, indeed, a gross mistranslation. Accurately, the quote should read, "Prepare for rape." Because Persia is going to bend Sparta over and fuck it in the ass, no matter how right the Spartans are in defending their way of life from an evil empire, if you buy into Snyder's propaganda.

Rex Grossman plays Sparta in a dramatic recreation of 300. He is "sacked" by a "Packer," in PG-13 terms, above.

There's a saying they used to have in Sparta, I mean New York, but probably Sparta, too.

"Freedom isn', like, at all. No matter what, you're playing with blood. And blood is the highest of costs. The cost of blood."

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