March 13, 2007


'Axis of evil' seeps into Hollywood (Kaveh L Afrasiabi, /14/07, Asia Times)

No doubt about it, four years after his famous and also infamous "axis of evil" speech, US President George W Bush's crusade mentality has finally found its cinematic counterpart - in 300, a major motion picture centered on the epic battle between the Persians and the Greeks in 480 BC.

It is part history, part fantasy, safely buffering itself against potential criticisms, eg of its historical distortions or shortcomings, by the cinematic license optimally exploited meanwhile to preach to the audience about the values of freedom against the evil forces of unfreedom.

Portraying the past world in a contemporary language with the help of voiceovers in case we missed the message, the dramatic feature plunges into the midst of a violent battle that fully resonates with the contemporary discourses on "clashing civilizations".

More than pure entertainment, it is a movie that wants people to reflect on what they are seeing, by teaching a lesson or two about history, by eliciting sympathy for its exalted Spartan heroes and heroines standing up to the world's first superpower, the Achaemenid Persians.

Saturated with not-so-subtle Persianphobia, the movie calls for the interrogation of the political agenda behind it, at a time when Iran is constantly threatened with military invasion and "all options are on the table" in Washington.

You'd think, even if they no longer believe in it, that Hollywood could figure out that its blockbusters during the WoT have generally featured the classic theme of Good vs. Evil.

Posted by Orrin Judd at March 13, 2007 12:00 AM

Because never, ever in all of recorded history before 9/11 was Thermopylae portrayed as a crucial battle between Western Civilization and Persians bent on its destruction.

Posted by: b at March 13, 2007 10:44 AM

But they don't understand America's the 300.....

Posted by: Sandy P at March 13, 2007 11:09 AM

America used to be 'the 300'. Now America is a combination of 'the 300' and the Athenian boy-lovers. Sadly.

Posted by: lebeaux at March 13, 2007 1:10 PM


True, but we're the only nation with the diversity to tolerate the presence of the Athenian boy-lovers, while also sending "The 300" to do the real work!

Posted by: John J. Coupal at March 13, 2007 8:03 PM