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300: Homophobic Propaganda for Bush’s Upcoming Invasion of Iran?

The movie 300, based on the Frank Miller graphic novel, has earned $70 million at the box office, breaking some records. But if you read some of the commentary out there you might not be too interested in seeing it. All the villains are gay. All the good guys are white and the bad guys are black. The whole thing is just Frank Miller's thinly-veiled cheering for Bush to invade Iran. Etc. Now, 300 is definitely not a historical documentary. But I don't think the criticisms mentioned above are completely true-although I can certainly see why many people may have jumped to them. First off, any movie about war coming out in the year 2007 will inevitably be seen as a commentary or allegory for the current War in Iraq. That's understandable, but probably not reflective of the intent behind this particular movie. In fact, 300 (the novel) came out in 1999, well before the current Bush presidency. Ah, but isn't Frank Miller known to be somewhat right-wing, and couldn't he have updated the movie to better reflect his clash-of-civilizations views today? Miller has said that 300 is largely director Zack Snyder's film. Although he seems more-or-less pleased with the result, he plans on directing any movies based on his books himself from now on. Second, it is hard to equate 300 Spartans repelling an invasion of their homeland by a technologically and numerically superior force of Persians with the current Iraq War or any planned invasion of Iran. That is, unless you switch the metaphorical teams. The United States is clearly the superior, invading force in the Middle East. Leonidas personally leads his Spartans against Xerxes' forces and is able to succeed because of superior tactics and knowledge of the terrain. This has been the exact opposite of the current administration's handling of war. Insurgents have used their knowledge of the neighborhoods of Baghdad to their advantage, and are using asymmetrical warfare tactics with unfortunate success. Where was the scene of Leonidas getting into the Laconian Air National Guard and avoiding combat? The charges of homophobia are largely based on two things - the "boy lovers" crack about Athens and the notion that Xerxes was portrayed as gay. Many have pointed out that the Spartans most likely had just as much pederasty as the rest of Greece at the time, so the joke didn't even make sense to anyone with a little historical context. True enough. But I would like to point out that sexual relationships between men and young boys are not the same as homosexual relationships between consenting adults. You can condemn child molestation without being homophobic - in fact, many gay organizations make this point themselves. As for how whether or not Xerxes was gay - I can see where that interpretation comes from, but I guess I didn't interpret it that way. Critics cite the makeup and jewelry, but that to me seemed like obvious symbols of decadence and Xerxes' facade of otherworldliness (and therefor godhood). There is one scene where Xerxes puts his hand on Leonidas' shoulder which some have said looks like a come on - to me, the scene looked more like an attempt at paternalism on Xerxes' part. He was, after all, offering Leonidas control of Greece in return for acknowledging Persia's rule, as you would offer your son the keys to the car if he respects your curfew. This is all not to say that 300 was a perfect film. My biggest criticisms were: 1) Although the vast majority of 300 is an almost miraculously successful translation of comic art to live action, the freakish characters like Ephialtes were overdone and looked a little ridiculous. Why would the Immortals look like the orcs from Lord of the Rings? What was with the giant fat guy with axes for hands? 2) All the mentions of fighting for freedom were a bit much. I get the point, that the Greek city-states fought dearly for their freedom from external rule, but most modern viewers will think the Spartans were talking about the modern idea of freedom - that is, personal political and economic freedom. Sparta wasn't exactly a shining example of this kind of freedom, built on the slavery of serfs working the land. There was some democracy, but only for the few. 3) One of aspects of the story of this battle that made it interesting was the fact that Leonidas knew he was doomed. According to Herodotus, an oracle had told the Spartans that they would either lose their kingdom, or lose their king. So beyond the incredible odds, Leonidas would have gone knowing there was no chance of return. In 300 instead they draw a distinction between the mysticism of Persia and the rationality of the Greeks. It's an interesting choice, but I kind of missed the fatalism of Herodotus' telling. 4) I thought the scenes back in Sparta of Gorgo's attempts to get support for sending the whole army were a good addition, but it was more than just 300 Spartans fighting this war. Thespians and Thebans fought and died with the Spartans and Athens was busy preparing to fight Persia at sea. Adding a bit of larger context, even indirectly could have made this a better movie. Any film worth watching will inspire different interpretations and criticisms, but I recommend you watch 300 before taking some viewer's criticisms (including mine) to heart.

Ann Coulter She Wolf of the SS

You may have recently heard that Ann Coulter called John Edwards a faggot. Well she didn't directly call him a faggot she more indirectly called him a faggot, but she still thinks he's a faggot none the less see for yourself: [youtube]Sx9Bi3C4rs8[/youtube]   Now every politcal candidate is running around decrying her remarks and calling her reprehesible, but as you will notice from the clip many people in the audience are aplauding her remarks. These are the people Ann Coulter is trying to appeal to. There are lots of idiots in this country who hate gays, immigrants and women's rights and want to go back to the good 'ol days of the 1950's when White Men were on top and every body else was shit. Quiet frankly I don't see anything wrong with what she said. This is America and one of the most import rights is freedom of speech. This includes making ridiculously stupid comments. Ann Coulter has made a career out of making outrageous statements and as long as there are people willing to buy her books I don't think she'll be stopping any time soon. Also wouldn't you rather have somebody announce to everybody that their an asshole rather than be nice to your face and then turn around and say how much they hate you. Like her or not I respect Ann Coulter's honesty with what she belives in no matter how crazy. Of course that being said she is a total idiot and 99% of the time has no idea what she is talking about. The following clip demonstrates this: [youtube]vIsvMSEYiK4[/youtube] There also is something strangley sexy about Ann Coulter. I think its that whole evil Nazi she wolf vibe. I could imagine her running a concentration camp and spanking me with some leiderhosen. She also kind of looks like a tranny with that long neck and manly hands. I swear you can see an Adam's Apple in some shots. But I think the person who should have the final word on the subject is good 'ol Henry Rollins, who says it best in his letter to Ann: [youtube]ZgSBhlw-o9E[/youtube]

It is OK to Entice 16-Year-Old Boys to Have Sex

I have absolutely no problem with Rep. Foley's actions, specifically IMing and corresponding with 16- and 17-year-old boys in a sexual manner. I would have no problem if he induced them to send naked pictures of themselves to him. I would have no problem if he convinced them to meet him and have anal sex. The issue is his moral hypocrasy, not his actions. And to condemn his actions may betray one as a rank homophobe. I generally think that 16 is a reasonable age of consent. It is the age of consent in many states, so it seems to have widespread approval. Yet, the discourse about Foley has often been implicitly, and in some cases explicitly, about the age of the boys involved. I would hate to see the righteous indignation exhibited by many Dems find itself lost in a thicket of its own hypocrasy. Let's look at two declarations and see if there are any corollaries involved. 1. Heterosexual lust for teenage girls saturates our society for better or worse and most people do not get lathered up into a rage about it. 2. Homosexuals and heterosexuals should be treated equally in all substantive areas of the law and should furthermore have moral equivalence when one debates their actions. If you don't agree with both these postulates, then stop reading. But if you do, then the only natural conclusion that can be drawn is that the level of ire directed at Foley's actions should be the same level of ire directed at the sexualization of 16- and 17-year-old teenage girls or more specifically, the level of ire directed at an older man trying to seduce a 16-year-old girl. Girls that age are often sex objects and openly referred to as such both in private conversation and in the media. Many may find an older man lusting after a younger girl to be uncouth and possibly disgusting, but it is accepted enough that there is little public outrage when one encounters such a scenario. The dark undercurrent of the Foley affair is that people and the media seem to be implying that it is sick and wrong, to the point of it almost being criminal, for Foley to have sexual conversations with boys that young. Because this response is so divergent from the equivalent response to such heterosexual shenanigans, it implies a deeply-rooted homophobia saturating not only the media, but the pundits from both parties. The arguments centered around the use of public office or power to entice sex, the moral hypocrasy of speaking one way and acting another, or the covering up of worrisome practices by those in power are all possibly valid condemnations of Foley and the Republicans in general, but this subtlety is lacking in much of the discourse I have been seeing in both the MSM and the blogosphere. I hope that once the furor dies down, a more careful dissection of this scandal can be conducted, without the pall of homophobia infecting the conversation. ADDENDUM: Consider the story of Representative Dan Crane, who did more than possibly solicit sex with a 17-year-old page, he actually did have sex with the page! But she was a female and he was merely censured. But to be fair, the Studds debacle did not generate as much media heat, and that situation was more egregious than the Foley situation (minus the hypocrcasy). FURTHER ADDENDUM: Drudge Report is reporting that the Foley accuser was 18. Are we upset with Foley because he abused power, because he is a supposed pedophile, or because he is gay? The first is legitimate, the second is untrue, and the third is the dirty secret that fuels some people's outrage whether they realize it or not.