The 301 Dalmatians
Armed Liberal at Winds of Change is planning to watch the movie 300 and, reading the reviews, was horrified to discover that "Kenneth Turan of the LA Times was the only one who 'got' the historical context of Thermopylae". Could it be? One of WOC's links was to Dana Stevens at Slate, who posed this objection to the movie:
If 300, the new battle epic based on the graphic novel by Frank Miller and Lynn Varley, 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. ...
But what's maddening about 300 (besides the paralyzing monotony of watching chiseled white guys make shish kebabs from swarthy Persians for 116 indistinguishable minutes) is that no one involved—not Miller, not Snyder, not one of the army of screenwriters, art directors, and tech wizards who mounted this empty, gorgeous spectacle—seems to have noticed that we're in the middle of an actual war. ...
One of the few war movies I've seen in the past two decades that doesn't include at least some nod in the direction of antiwar sentiment, 300 is a mythic ode to righteous bellicosity.
I have no idea whether 300 is a good movie, but Steven's review is an entertaining example of how all events, including those which happened nearly 500 years BC, must be judged according to prisms of contemporary political correctness. Miller had to remember, for example, "that we're in the middle of an actual war". Did he not realize his duty to denounce it? But what if Miller had made a movie about the fight against Hitler? Would it have been necessary to remind the audience that Hitler was a nonsmoking, animal-loving, vegetarian artist? Or had he remade Zulu to include some white faces among Prince Dabulamanzi's impis?
The most interesting thing about those who habitually denounce ethnocentricity and cultural blindness is that they are not without such sentiments themselves, the difference being that their cultural point of view is rooted in the mid-20th century, rather than say, ancient Lacedaemonia.
Now I'm truly surprised that nobody 'gets' the background of 300. Everybody knows it deals with what happened to Hercules after his epic battle with Maciste on his way to a rematch with Conan.