March 14, 2007

Racism in 300

A Movie Only a Spartan Could Love

300 is the most RACIST film since Birth of a Nation!

Stop the movie 300

Iranian cyber attack against American movie

Comment:  These postings are relevant to this blog because

1) 300 is an example of our cultural mythmaking:  the noble Westerners against the base non-Westerners.

2) Zack Snyder used techniques similar to Mel Gibson's to make a nation of people look inferior, barbaric.

If you transposed 300 to the American West, what would you have? Think Custer's Last Stand.


Rob said...

Several critics have remarked on the Persians' distinctive physical traits: dark skins, piercings, etc. The racism comes in giving them and only them these indicators of inferiority. In reality they were just as civilized and "white" as the Greeks.

Are you saying the critics were wrong--that you couldn't distinguish the Greeks and Persians physically? If so, you're the first to take that position. Congratulations on your original thinking. ;-)

Whether 300 is doing well at the box office is irrelevant to its message of light-skinned civilization vs. dark-skinned barbarism. Given the debacle in Iraq, Americans are probably hungry for black-and-white movies in which the good guys stick it to the bad guys. Westerns were popular for the same reason: It was cathartic to watch cowboys killing Indians.

Anonymous said...

Writerfella, you are so right, about Xerxes coming across like a Gou'ald (however you spell and punctuate it).

A little surprised that Iran has "officially" complained. The ancient Persians depicted in it practiced indiginous Persian religions. Those who now practice indigious faiths in Iran such as Zoroastrianism are severely presecuted by the Iranian government....

I wonder what Iran would say about a film depicting the brave Iranians who fought against the Muslim invaders prior to the year 650 A.D.?

Anonymous said...

"Ghost Rider" and "Wild Hogs" also show the appetite for motorcycle movies.

One would only imagine that if they had added Harleys to "300", the resulting film with motorcycle-riding Spartans would have clocked in a record $225 million weekend. Add Tim Allen as one of the Spartan leaders, and make sure that the Persians all had flaming skulls on their shoulders, and you'd have a box office record that would never be broken.

Rob said...

With all the people writing reviews for publications about archaeology, history, Indians, etc.--not to mention all the bloggers--I bet the critics who pay greatly outnumber the critics who don't. Not that who pays is relevant to anything. Critics generally have their reputations or their careers on the line, which far outweighs the price of a single ticket. A typical critic is much more invested in a movie than a typical fan, not much less.

Critics aren't "wrong" if they judge a movie bad and the public judges it good. They're going by different sets of criteria. Critics are judging whether the movie achieves the highest standards of the motion picture arts. Fans care only if the movie fulfills a common denominator level of entertainment.

Are you seriously arguing that the public is a better judge of a movie's quality than the critics? According to the public, the best movies of all time include Titanic, Star Wars I: The Phantom Menace, and Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest. According to the critics, the best movies include Citizen Kane, Casablanca, and The Godfather. Now explain to us again how the public knows better than the critics do.

Gee, Russ, I didn't think I'd have to explain Movie Criticism 101 to you. Let me know if there's anything else I can help you with.

Rob said...

I looked at lots of 300 pictures to verify the critics' complaints. Here's one with the opposing characters side by side:

Check your vision, because it doesn't close to me. The Persian has darker skin than the Spartan.

Rob said...

All the links in the original posting still work, as does the photo link in the comments section. If you can't click on a URL or cut and paste it correctly, that's your problem.

If you had followed the links, you would've found plenty of negative comments from fans and critics alike. If you can't handle the professional critics, deal with the fans' comments instead, since they're saying the same thing. Or do you define a critic as anyone who doesn't fawn over a movie the way you do?

This comment

"Since somehow film critics believe it is their purpose to keep audiences away from films that they as critics did not like, the critics are wrong if they fail to do so."

shows why you may want to take a class in criticism. As I said, the critic's job is to assess how a product compares to the highest standards of the art. When critics write reviews, they're trying to educate the public about the art form. A critic doesn't care how a fan uses a review any more than a teacher cares how a student uses a lesson. Or in your case, how a reader uses one of your stories. Like many forms of writing, criticism exists for its own sake.

In other words, a critic is "wrong" in the same way teachers are wrong if they teach proper grammar and their students willfully ignore it. Which is to say, not at all. Whether the students apply the lesson or not, the teachers have taught it. It's not their job to enforce the rules outside the classroom.

Do these vague comments

"If someone no longer is a willing receptor of Native information/direction at all, then they are operating from their own agenda. They even may be being paid by those forces who can profit by the success or failure of certain Native entertainment venues of same."

refer to me? Ignoring the shoddy grammar (someone is/they are), I'll address them as if they do. I've told you where my income comes from and it isn't from "Native entertainment venues." If it did come from Native entertainment venues, which it doesn't, your point would be irrelevant. Why? Because such venues have nothing to do with movies such as 300. There's literally no connection.

Rob said...

One can be a fan of movies or a genre of movies without liking any particular movie. Duh.

So you've denigrated critics because you imagine they don't take movies as seriously as fans do. And you've denigrated fans because they don't have the critics' "intimate knowledge" of movies. In other words, you've denigrated anyone who doesn't share your gushing opinions. You must be the Native American Gene Shalit, who has never met a movie he didn't like.

Let us know when you have anything to say about the actual criticism of 300. So far, you've contradicted yourself on the issue of criticism while failing to address the issue of racism. Thanks for the box-office update, but that's irrelevant to the issue(s) at hand.