Gay currents in “300”

How to explain the fact that 300 has earned more than $200 million from an overwhelmingly male audience? Does iit mean that “20 million closet cases snuck off to see an illicit fantasy about bare-chested men in Hellenic Speedos,” as Slate‘s Matt Feeney inquires, “or that young men from the vast heartland of this very conservative, Christian, pro-military country flocked to see an unabashedly heroic tale of Occidental, republican military glory?
“To believe the latter, all you have to accept is that, in imagining the sort of heroic figures they themselves would like to be, straight men would project onto them not just excellence but physical beauty. Shouldn’t a guy be able to do such a thing without being called gay?”

  • http://hollywoodgraffiti.blogspot.com atticusrex

    Wow… Just craziness! I am straight, married and whatever and I couldn’t wait to see 300… why?
    1. Read the Graphic Novel it was based on
    2. Loved the movie The 300 Spartans as a kid in the 60’s
    3. It sported a great trailer campaign
    4. It just looked jaw-dropping fantastic
    If this film had been about 300 Amazons would we then be labeled ‘pervs’ if we flocked to see it?
    What’s wrong with a flick being COOL? Like any Tarantino movie or Sin City for that matter?

  • actionman

    yeah….300 made $450 million worldwide because it was…well…FUCKING AWESOME

  • Rod32303

    So, men go see a sensitive adult film like Brokeback Mountain…awesome movie, Jeff loved…and all is okay. Celebratory even.
    They go see a kick ass action movie like 300…Jeff hated…and they get labeled gay.
    Please continue this logic, because it makes so much sense.
    unbelievable.

  • jeffmcm

    So if 300 was ‘cool’ and ‘awesome’ the next question I have is, what about it was ‘cool’ and ‘awesome’? Come on guys, analyze your reactions.

  • Ogami Itto

    “So if 300 was ‘cool’ and ‘awesome’ the next question I have is, what about it was ‘cool’ and ‘awesome’?”
    Obviously it was the scantily clad, sweaty, muscular men. Come on you latent homosexuals, fess up.

  • Hallick

    Sorry to run counter to the stereotype of a “300” fan, but am I the only guy to notice how goddamn sexy the WOMEN in this movie are? Lena Headey and Kelly Craig, huzzah to you both. That’s just two of my “awesome” and “cool”, in that order.

  • mitch

    so, since when is it a requirement for readers to justify their opinions to you, jeffmcm? come on, guy, analyze your reaction.

  • corey3rd

    maybe America was in need of a “feel good” military action that didn’t involve neighbors’ kids

  • Mgmax, le Corbeau

    What it means:
    1) Men went to see an action movie– totally unprecedented!
    2) Yes, those red-state mouth-breathers actually do think the West represents something worth defending, even if the coasts would surrender to the first guy in a suicide belt to land on Malibu Beach or the Hamptons
    3) Looked cool.
    4) Astonishing as it may be to Hollywood, where you can’t make a movie about the 1970s without it being a risky, bold experiment destined for art houses, there are quite a lot of people in this world who actually find history interesting

  • DarthCorleone

    The audience was overwhelmingly male not because of latent homosexuality andnot because of some western warmongering pep rally mentality. In general, men are innately more aggressive than women and thus find more vicarious thrills in the action movie genre than women do. Very simple, obvious explanation.

  • MrThompson

    “4) Astonishing as it may be to Hollywood, where you can’t make a movie about the 1970s without it being a risky, bold experiment destined for art houses, there are quite a lot of people in this world who actually find history interesting”
    …and hopefully none of them are going to 300 hoping to learn anything other than the most rudimentary facts.

  • Mgmax, le Corbeau

    Which makes it different from a Hollywood movie on any other subject how?

  • jeffmcm

    Mitch: because it’s a blog (you know, for discussion) and I found their statements lacking in critical insight.

  • jeffmcm

    Mgmax:
    1. Won’t dispute this.
    2. Why are they watching a movie when they should be in Afghanistan?
    3. Won’t dispute this.
    4. There’s as much history in 300 as there is in the Lord of the Rings movies. It’s escapist fantasy and nothing more.
    The homoeroticism is actually fantasy-identification. Men would like to imagine themselves as these muscular, noble warriors and so that’s what the movie pandered to give them. Same reason people by magazines that promise “Perfect Abs in Thirty Days”.
    It’s a very bad movie.
    (Every time I try to get out, they keep sucking me back in.)

  • Mgmax, le Corbeau

    “2. Why are they watching a movie when they should be in Afghanistan?”
    Because a lot of them were already in Khe Sanh, Inchon or Tarawa.

  • jeffmcm

    Fair enough – some, not most.

  • Mgmax, le Corbeau

    Still, it’s a bad argument, Jeffmcm. I can’t be in favor of American military force/interested in military matters/watch an action movie unless I’m presently serving? Would we apply the same logic to anything else? I can’t think burglars should be arrested, or watch Zodiac, unless I patrol the streets myself? Michael Moore shouldn’t have made a documentary about the health care system, and Hillary shouldn’t have tried to reform it, unless they had medical degrees (or cancer)? The entire audience for Apollo 13 is limited to astronauts? It’s got to be one of the most common dumbest arguments floating around these days…

  • jeffmcm

    It was your dumb point to begin with, Mgmax, suggesting that people liked the movie because they saw it as a statement of patriotic solidarity with western ideals. I just took it to a logical extreme.
    Like I said: it’s an escapist fantasy, and it does not champion Western values, anyway. It champions viciousness, bloodlust, and gettin’ ‘er done.

  • D.Z.

    http://www.newgrounds.com/portal/view/373633
    Anyway, if 300 discourages the policy of firing gay linguists, then that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

  • jeffmcm

    “Anyway, if 300 discourages the policy of firing gay linguists, then that’s not necessarily a bad thing.”
    How could you possibly arrive at this idea from anything that happens in the movie? Did you even see it?

  • frankbooth

    300 fans are really, really sensitive about the “buff guys in speedos” thing.
    But not, you know, SENSITIVE.

  • GayAsXmas

    As you can tell from my nick, I would be amongst the prime audience to consider this film to be homoerotic. And in once sense I did think that – it was a complete glorification of a very specific white male form. I doubt that even the films most ardent hetero admirers would argue against that point. But the film was far too stupid and simple minded to work on the level of even decent gay porn. Rather it was more like Wrestling, whereby big macho sweaty men preen and perform for mostly hetero male crowds, who live their own fantasies of strength and virility vicariously on the screen.

  • D.Z.

    jeff: “How could you possibly arrive at this idea from anything that happens in the movie? Did you even see it?”
    Yeah, I did, and if the soldiers weren’t a little over-dressed, they’d fit right in at the WeHo Gay Pride parade.

  • Mgmax

    What it means:

    1) Men went to see an action movie– totally unprecedented!
    2) Yes, those red-state mouth-breathers actually do think the West represents something worth defending, even if the coasts would surrender to the first guy in a suicide belt to land on Malibu Beach or the Hamptons
    3) Looked cool.
    4) Astonishing as it may be to Hollywood, where you can’t make a movie about the 1970s without it being a risky, bold experiment destined for art houses, there are quite a lot of people in this world who actually find history interesting

  • jeffmcm

    DZ, nobody comes out of that movie thinking ‘gays aren’t so bad’. While the movie is homoerotic, it’s also homophobic, as per the caravan of writhing lesbians that accompany the RuPaul that is Xerxes.

  • Mgmax

    Which makes it different from a Hollywood movie on any other subject how?

  • Mgmax

    “2. Why are they watching a movie when they should be in Afghanistan?”

    Because a lot of them were already in Khe Sanh, Inchon or Tarawa.

  • Mgmax

    Still, it’s a bad argument, Jeffmcm. I can’t be in favor of American military force/interested in military matters/watch an action movie unless I’m presently serving? Would we apply the same logic to anything else? I can’t think burglars should be arrested, or watch Zodiac, unless I patrol the streets myself? Michael Moore shouldn’t have made a documentary about the health care system, and Hillary shouldn’t have tried to reform it, unless they had medical degrees (or cancer)? The entire audience for Apollo 13 is limited to astronauts? It’s got to be one of the most common dumbest arguments floating around these days…

  • Mgmax, le Corbeau

    “it does not champion Western values, anyway. It champions viciousness, bloodlust, and gettin’ ‘er done.”
    Like I said, Western values! Rah! Havent you read your Victor Davis Hanson? Anyway, it champions them no less intelligibly than the tribal Scottish nationalist William Wallace stood for some ideal of “freedom” recignizable to the 20th century.
    “It was your dumb point to begin with, Mgmax, suggesting that people liked the movie because they saw it as a statement of patriotic solidarity with western ideals. I just took it to a logical extreme.”
    Yes, people NEVER flock to a movie because it has some reflection on current events, deeply held values, etc. How foolish of me to suggest something so silly. Next I’m going to suggest that Invasion of the Body-Snatchers is about 50s conformism or Dirty Harry reflects disgust with 60s lawlessness or it was a huge coincidence that Home Alone was a hit in the age of latchkey children. What a maroon I am.

  • BurmaShave

    jeffmcm, I thought you were leaving? Did you and Wells come to a truce on another thread?

  • AbeGoldfarb

    Yeah, I had to check myself before I wrecked myself on a few of the finer points in 300. While I adored the film, I also recognized that it managed the astonishing feat of being both very, VERY gay and astoundingly homophobic. The best films about guys being guys with guys recognize the homoeroticism and either send it up without scorn (see Hot Fuzz, the year’s best film so far, which takes a scene that could have been homophobic and makes it both funny and poignant) or nod at it unselfconsciously (see Mamet’s recent spate of action pictures, which are sort of charming in how relaxed they are with guy-guy dynamics). 300 really doesn’t like gays, treats women largely as window dressing (though it does feature a truly thrilling bit of turnabout), and is also unapologetically in favor of interventionism over any opposition. And no matter how fervently Snyder protests that the film is just totally completely like not at all related to like current events and whatever, it has unfortunate resonances.
    Having said all that, the movie knocked my teeth out with its dick. Which is a good thing.

  • BurmaShave

    Also, as much as I dug the movie (very stupid though, doesn’t hold a candle to even GLADIATOR OR BRAVEHEART), I think this pretty much settles it:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pi2t58CRmbU

  • Mgmax, le Corbeau

    That’s funny. Not as funny, though, as debating whether a movie in which the Phantom of the Opera spends the whole movie without his shirt on might be a tinge swishy.

  • nemo

    “2. Why are they watching a movie when they should be in Afghanistan?”
    “Because a lot of them were already in Khe Sanh, Inchon or Tarawa.”
    Let’s see, a veteran of Khe Sanh 1968 would be about 59; of Inchon 1950 would be about 77; and of Tarawa 1943 would be about 84. If not older.
    The male audience for “300” was overwhelmingly under 30, even under 25. Not too many of them walked in the theater wearing bifocals, hearing aids, and walkers paid for by their veterans benefits.

  • Bocephus

    I’m sorry, but a movie as homophobic as 300 really should not be considered homoerotic. Sure there were a lot of scantily clad muscular guys, but they were Spartan soldiers; it’s not like they should have been fat and hairy, wearing beer hats and sports jerseys.
    In the graphic novel they fought naked. A lot was changed to make this movie NOT appeal to homosexuals.

  • arch451

    The film is an action movie: nothing more, nothing less. It is neither homoerotic nor homophobic.
    Individuals who are comfortable with their sexuality, regardless of their orientation, are usually not homophobic. Typically, homophobia comes from closet homosexuals or closet bisexuals. Thus, homophobia is actually the fear of one’s own sexuality.

  • Mgmax, le Corbeau

    Oh Nemo, you’re such a little pisher.
    DeGaulle: I want American soldiers off French soil.
    Dean Acheson: Does that include the ones in the cemeteries?
    Nemo: Technically, the ones in the cemeteries cannot be considered on active duty.

  • Mgmax

    “it does not champion Western values, anyway. It champions viciousness, bloodlust, and gettin’ ‘er done.”

    Like I said, Western values! Rah! Havent you read your Victor Davis Hanson? Anyway, it champions them no less intelligibly than the tribal Scottish nationalist William Wallace stood for some ideal of “freedom” recignizable to the 20th century.

    “It was your dumb point to begin with, Mgmax, suggesting that people liked the movie because they saw it as a statement of patriotic solidarity with western ideals. I just took it to a logical extreme.”

    Yes, people NEVER flock to a movie because it has some reflection on current events, deeply held values, etc. How foolish of me to suggest something so silly. Next I’m going to suggest that Invasion of the Body-Snatchers is about 50s conformism or Dirty Harry reflects disgust with 60s lawlessness or it was a huge coincidence that Home Alone was a hit in the age of latchkey children. What a maroon I am.

  • AbeGoldfarb

    Err, no, arch451. Homophobia typically comes from people who have been taught to regard homosexuality as the great “other”. It’s an attitude largely born of ignorance. Insecurity does indeed factor into it, but it’s deeply stupid to suggest that the majority of homophobes are in fact gay themselves.

  • Mgmax, le Corbeau

    This seems a good moment to bring back this classic C. Hitchens piece:
    http://www.slate.com/id/2096323/

  • Ogami Itto

    “Yeah, I had to check myself before I wrecked myself on a few of the finer points in 300. While I adored the film, I also recognized that it managed the astonishing feat of being both very, VERY gay and astoundingly homophobic.”
    The line about the boy-lovers in Athens was explicity homophobic (and hypocritical, given Spartan tradition regarding young men), but even a heterosexual male movie-goer can look at the physiques on display in the film and appreciate the beauty of the male form.
    And yeah, Lena Headey was fine, too, just not as fine as Gerard Butler. =)

  • D.Z.

    jeff: “While the movie is homoerotic, it’s also homophobic, as per the caravan of writhing lesbians that accompany the RuPaul that is Xerxes.”
    I don’t think the lesbians are considered “evil”. They are more willing to tolerate the hunchback guy’s presence, thus revealing one of the flaws the Spartan value system which serves to defeat them later in the end.
    Abe: “300 really doesn’t like gays,”
    Hell, you could also argue that the film’s racist, because the Persians are black, but the fact of the matter is that the characters are depicted with a lot more complexity than the average Hollywood script or even Shakespeare’s plays.
    And I’m claiming that, while calling Sin City a cartoon version of gang-land violence. No one’s really “evil” in the film, just trying to achieve their own desires. Therefore, no one in the film is “right”, either. It’s just about who’s luckiest, which is really what life is about, and part of the film’s appeal.
    “and is also unapologetically in favor of interventionism over any opposition.”
    If it was in favor of opposition, than the Spartans would be depicted as winners.
    Bocephus: “I’m sorry, but a movie as homophobic as 300 really should not be considered homoerotic. Sure there were a lot of scantily clad muscular guys, but they were Spartan soldiers;”
    So you’re suggesting that gays can’t serve in the military?
    “In the graphic novel they fought naked. A lot was changed to make this movie NOT appeal to homosexuals.”
    I’m guessing the reason they were clothed was to avoid an NC 17 rating, and because union rules would have prevented them from fighting naked, not because Snyder is trying to flip off gay people.
    Mgmax: “Not as funny, though, as debating whether a movie in which the Phantom of the Opera spends the whole movie without his shirt on might be a tinge swishy.”
    Or how about the closet homosexual who has nazi tendencies in American Beauty? According to these posters, that’s not a “mixed” message.
    Ogami: “The line about the boy-lovers in Athens was explicity homophobic”
    They were making fun of the Athenians liking little boys, not making fun of them liking men their own age. South Park mocked NAMBLA in one episode, but no one called them homophobic.

  • D.Z.

    *in favor of interventionism*

  • http://cjkennedy.wordpress.com/ Craig Kennedy

    Wait, are we really going to let Abe’s “the movie knocked my teeth out with its dick” line go by without so much as a salutory chuckle?
    That’s just not right.
    Anyway. 300. Didn’t like it, but I never really bought into the homoerotic angle (though it amuses me to see how vigorously some of my fellow heteros try and deny it).

  • nemo

    Mgmax, I don’t get your answer at all. jeffmcm raised the question:
    “2. Why are they watching a movie when they should be in Afghanistan?”
    It’s clear he’s asking the question about the audience for “300”, not about every American who ever served in the armed forces during the entire history of the country.
    He’s asking that question in response to your assertion that people who went to “300” are somehow more patriotic than some people living on the east and west coasts.
    Your response to jeffmcm is: “Because a lot of them were already in Khe Sanh, Inchon or Tarawa.”
    It seemed clear from context that you are claiming that the supposedly patriotic audience for “300” are veterans of Vietnam, Korea, and WWII.
    But I guess I’m supposed to read your mind to figure out what you were thinking, instead of what you were saying. Now I’m guessing, just guessing, that you are saying that because some Americans died in Vietnam, Korea, and WWII many decades ago, that somehow makes their sons and grandsons in the 15 to 25 age range who turn out for “300” more patriotic than … hell, I don’t know. That doesn’t make any sense. What the hell are you saying? Be a little clear, if you can.
    By the way, I live in a red state in the Midwest. My great-great-grandfather was a Union officer who spent part of the Civil War as a POW in a Confederate prison camp. My grandfather (now dead) was gassed by the Germans in WWI (he recovered). My uncle (still alive at 84) was wounded in the Battle of the Bulge in WWII. I suspect all of them would have found both “300” and its audience completely ludicrous.

  • Mgmax, le Corbeau

    Why didn’t you take them to see it, you ungrateful grandson? They’re the only reason you’re not watching 300 with German subtitles!

  • Mgmax

    That’s funny. Not as funny, though, as debating whether a movie in which the Phantom of the Opera spends the whole movie without his shirt on might be a tinge swishy.

  • AbeGoldfarb

    It’s good to know the Zelt’s out there, missing the point for all us sinners.
    Coupla things:
    1. The films racism doesn’t exactly cancel out its homophobia.
    2. The film supports interventionism over OPPOSITION TO INTERVENTIONISM. Its scenes of foolish council members who just don’t support the troops are really, REALLY unambiguous. And even if this is source material stuff, context is everything.
    3. NAMBLA isn’t a homosexual organization. It’s a pedophile organization whose members happen to be homosexuals. Equating pedophilia with homosexuality is one of the tools of the ignorant.
    Christ, Zelter, you’d give an aspirin a headache.
    Still, this is a rare case of a film I find reprehensible that I still enjoy the hell out of. When South Park went on their totally unfair Al Gore rip (before they tacitly admitted that global warming was, you know, real) I laughed my ass off. Boy did I not feel good about it, but boy did I laugh.
    By the by, cheers, cj.

  • nemo

    Mgmax, do you have any point to make at all? Are you really trying to assert some connection between real-life suffering and sacrifices endured by real-life military veterans and the adolescent power fantasies of the audience for “300”?
    That doesn’t seem much like patriotism. It’s more like a insult to real veterans and to people in the armed services who are in real danger today.

  • Mgmax

    Oh Nemo, you’re such a little pisher.

    DeGaulle: I want American soldiers off French soil.

    Dean Acheson: Does that include the ones in the cemeteries?

    Nemo: Technically, the ones in the cemeteries cannot be considered on active duty.

  • Sweetbubba

    I’m not surprised the thumbs up/thumbs down vote has broken out with this crowd. As usual, everything’s political. I like the movie for exactly the reasons that I suspect hardcore lefties like Jeff don’t but won’t admit. I like it because it is an allegory of virtues that I admire but that make the “progressive” left uncomfortable, a classic morality tale without irony and a rare example of a Hollywood movie from which clear parallels can be drawn to current events but that doesn’t take the side of the left.
    Sure, you can ague about how it is “art”, and stylized and a representation of a comic and not history, and all that is true and was well done, but that’s not what I really liked about it. I liked that it was a movie in which the good guys were strong and heroic and valued honour and respect. I liked that the movie was a tale of the fight for freedom against tyranny. I liked the message “freedom is not free”. I don’t know or care if the director intended it, but I liked the parallels I perceived to current events. Free men risk their lives to fight an enemy that would destroy not only their own people but enslave all. Their leader fight for freedom against all odds, against the will of mealy-mouthed politicians, despite the corruption of high priests and their duplicitous cooperation with the enemy (I see UN here) and with the brave but hardly adequate support of just a few of those other countries whose freedom is also being defended. The heroes fight willingly and made the choice based on reason unlike the enemy, who are not free and who believe that the their “god” has told them to conquer all other lands. The heroes are patriotic!
    And yeah, as a woman, I liked the men. When was the last time you saw a movie in which the leader was a good, well-muscled unashamedly-masculine man? When was the last time we has a hero? I am sick of the anti-hero, sick of the “little guy” against the “man”, sick of male characters never being allowed to be strong without also exploring their inherent racism and their cowardice and western-bred arrogance or cruelty. I am sick of white/western/modern man’s never ending guilt. Get over it already. Bring back John Wayne.
    Anyway, I think that the guys who didn’t like it are being disingenuous about their reasons. It’s not because the characters were unbelievable or the history wasn’t perfect, it’s because the movie played against the usual leftie Hollywood script. The message was too pure, not enough grey. There weren’t any scenes of the Spartans being gratuitously cruel, or being duped into joining the army. There weren’t any flashbacks of the Persians playing happily with their children and absolutely no examples of dissent being the highest form of patriotism.
    And eye candy for the ladies, let me tell you!

  • Mgmax

    This seems a good moment to bring back this classic C. Hitchens piece:

    http://www.slate.com/id/2096323/

  • D.Z.

    Abe: “1. The films racism doesn’t exactly cancel out its homophobia.”
    The point is that it could be construed as racist and homophobic, but really isn’t, because the characters are a lot more fleshed out, than in, say, Kill Bill.
    “The film supports interventionism over OPPOSITION TO INTERVENTIONISM. Its scenes of foolish council members who just don’t support the troops are really, REALLY unambiguous.”
    The scenes might be there, but if you want to make parallels, you could easily use the situation in Darfur as an example, since the fact that they even bothered debating intervening against the Persians is hardly the same as it has been in our “democracy”, where the Dems just basically gave(and continue to give) Dubya the go-ahead to bomb whoever he feels.
    “Equating pedophilia with homosexuality is one of the tools of the ignorant.”
    But that’s not what the film does; it just trashes the Athenians for being pedos, which was the norm at the time. I hear even Socrates was into the young cock.

  • AbeGoldfarb

    D.Z.: “No, no, no, you’re wrong because….because….Tarantino sucks!”
    Change the fucking record.
    D.Z., your prime argumentative tactic is the bait-and-switch, and it’s astoundingly transparent. Apart from being patently false (Snyder is a better artist that Tarantino?!), your judgement of Kill Bill’s comparative worth as a work of art has nothing to do with the statement you’re supposedly countering. Kill Bill has characters that go from A to B in surprising ways. 300 has characters who can’t change, won’t change, don’t change. But again, what does that have to do with homophobia or racism? Are we saying that no artist with intolerant views is capable of creating something valuable? Think again, asshole. William Friedkin made Cruising, one of the most insidiously anti-gay movies ever, but I still acknowledge his mastery of craft. Seriously, explain your argument here.
    Your tactic holds true for the next two counter arguments: sure, you could say I’m right, but what about Darfur? Same with the pedo argument. Bait. Switch. I’d try to debate you, but you don’t respond, you just rabbit the same few talking points over and fucking over. What kills me is that politically, we share more than a few beliefs. But liberals like you make it hard for liberals like me to be taken seriously. Your fraudulent intellectualism and desperate ignorance of film are without use here. Kindly set aside a few days to find your own dick. Then go fuck yourself.

  • http://cjkennedy.wordpress.com/ cjKennedy

    Wait, are we really going to let Abe’s “the movie knocked my teeth out with its dick” line go by without so much as a salutory chuckle?

    That’s just not right.

    Anyway. 300. Didn’t like it, but I never really bought into the homoerotic angle (though it amuses me to see how vigorously some of my fellow heteros try and deny it).

  • George Prager

    Didn’t see the movie. Could care less about this lame thread but mgmax’s comment struck me.
    2) Yes, those red-state mouth-breathers actually do think the West represents something worth defending, even if the coasts would surrender to the first guy in a suicide belt to land on Malibu Beach or the Hamptons.
    Like NYC did on 9/11? Fuck you, bitch.

  • Mgmax

    Why didn’t you take them to see it, you ungrateful grandson? They’re the only reason you’re not watching 300 with German subtitles!

  • nemo

    “I am sick of the anti-hero, sick of the “little guy” against the “man”, sick of male characters never being allowed to be strong without also exploring their inherent racism and their cowardice and western-bred arrogance or cruelty. I am sick of white/western/modern man’s never ending guilt. Get over it already. Bring back John Wayne.”
    You may think you’re praising John Wayne, but you’re doing him a disservice. John Wayne’s films usually have a lot more complexity going on in them than either his left-wing detractors or his right-wing supporters give him credit for.
    Wayne tends to fool people because he consistently played a tower of strength who was rarely troubled by self-doubt. But the anti-hero? Explorations of racism, arrogance, and cruelty? It’s all there in John Wayne’s films, and Wayne was aware of these conflicting elements when he chose those roles.

  • nemo

    It’s also worth pointing out that John Wayne, with utter conviction, often played soldiers and veterans from both sides of the Civil War. Sometimes he played the Indian fighter, but frequently he played a white who had grown up among Indians or been married to an Indian.
    John Wayne’s films are still worth watching for many reasons. One of those reasons is because they often don’t treat war as a simple unambiguous case of all good on one side and all evil on the other.

  • Mgmax, le Corbeau

    “Like NYC did on 9/11? Fuck you, bitch.”
    George, I had no idea you were voting for Rudy! Good man.
    Nemo, since I have apparently flummoxed you, I will Cliff’s Notes my comments.
    Jeffmcm took the stupid canard about how anybody who has any opinion on the war in Iraq must be in uniform and fighting right now or his opinion is invalidated (of course, the reverse is never true– why aren’t you being a human shield in Gaza, you poser!) and extended it even further– now, apparently, in the people’s republic of exquisite hypersensitivity, you can’t even watch a frickin’ war movie unless you’re in uniform. So I mocked it (hearing in my head the voice of Harve Presnell’s Lou Stasiak) with a little facetious rah-rah (with a little truth at bottom– who the hell is he to presume every last member of the audience didn’t serve? You wanna bet what viewership of 300 was among the military?)
    Which you then took thuddingly literally, and have been beating to death ever since.
    “What the hell am I eating, hoof?” –Lou Stasiak

  • nemo

    “2. Why are they watching a movie when they should be in Afghanistan?”
    “Because a lot of them were already in Khe Sanh, Inchon or Tarawa.”
    The meaning of that comeback is thuddingly obvious?

  • Mgmax, le Corbeau

    “I’m growin’ a pair of jugs just lookin’ at this thing.” –Lou Stasiak, upon being handed a mocha latte

  • D.Z.

    Abe: “Apart from being patently false (Snyder is a better artist that Tarantino?!),”
    Snyder shot 300 in a year, and Tarantino can’t even get the script for the Inglorious Bastards remake off the ground.
    “Kill Bill has characters that go from A to B in surprising ways.”
    Yes, they shift from well-intentioned individuals to criminals carved out of old Hollywood racism.
    “300 has characters who can’t change, won’t change, don’t change.”
    Um, no one in Kill Bill really changed in the end. They’re all still murderers, just with children, much like most Republicans. The characters in 300, on the other hand, do recognize their ideals and values can only get them to a certain point.
    “But again, what does that have to do with homophobia or racism?”
    Homophobia and racism in media usually create a climate of fear and hate towards a particular minority. Hence why Kill Bill is racist, and not 300.
    “Are we saying that no artist with intolerant views is capable of creating something valuable? Think again, asshole. William Friedkin made Cruising, one of the most insidiously anti-gay movies ever, but I still acknowledge his mastery of craft.”
    So you’re saying he was successful at perpetuating the kind of intolerance against homosexuals which kept them from getting the AIDS treatment they needed for yet another half decade? Next, you’ll be praising Griffith for encouraging lynchings until the 70s.
    “Your tactic holds true for the next two counter arguments: sure, you could say I’m right, but what about Darfur?”
    Except you’re not really right, because you’re only looking at one example. Even Jeff Wells was questioning which side was really supposed to represent the U.S., so it’s not as cut-and-dry as you think.
    “But liberals like you make it hard for liberals like me to be taken seriously.”
    Yes, because liberals like myself don’t believe that we need to protect the children from tv or cigarettes, but from guns, while liberals like yourself believe that we need to protect children by bombing them, but only when it’s “legal” to do so.
    Mgmax: “Jeffmcm took the stupid canard about how anybody who has any opinion on the war in Iraq must be in uniform and fighting right now or his opinion is invalidated”
    Well anyone who’s sending other people to die in their place is a hypocrite, anyway.

  • Mgmax

    “Like NYC did on 9/11? Fuck you, bitch.”

    George, I had no idea you were voting for Rudy! Good man.

    Nemo, since I have apparently flummoxed you, I will Cliff’s Notes my comments.

    Jeffmcm took the stupid canard about how anybody who has any opinion on the war in Iraq must be in uniform and fighting right now or his opinion is invalidated (of course, the reverse is never true– why aren’t you being a human shield in Gaza, you poser!) and extended it even further– now, apparently, in the people’s republic of exquisite hypersensitivity, you can’t even watch a frickin’ war movie unless you’re in uniform. So I mocked it (hearing in my head the voice of Harve Presnell’s Lou Stasiak) with a little facetious rah-rah (with a little truth at bottom– who the hell is he to presume every last member of the audience didn’t serve? You wanna bet what viewership of 300 was among the military?)

    Which you then took thuddingly literally, and have been beating to death ever since.

    “What the hell am I eating, hoof?” –Lou Stasiak

  • AbeGoldfarb

    D.Z., I can’t even begin to figure out the proper response to you. Why on earth do you think I support bombings? I’m firmly anti-gun, firmly anti-bombing, and annoyed that smoking will make for an automatic R rating. When I talk about liberals like you, I’m talking about side-stepping, intellectually spurious dickheads who scream about Bush every time they step in dogshit. I think the guy’s an evil cocksucker presiding over the most corrupt circus since Tammany Hall, but hey, what’s my opinion? Apparently, I also think children should be bombed legally and not protected from guns. Or something. What the FUCK are you on about?
    Seriously. What the holy FUCK are you actually talking about half the time?
    And you still haven’t answered my question as to why 300’s characters render it immune to charges of racism. Is the fact that every dark-skinned character is either a depraved fuckmonster or a simpleton lackey actually hiding some coded complexity?
    I won’t argue Tarantino with you, because you’re simply not equipped to. I’m actually convinced you’re delusional at this point, and I feel a bit stupid for continuing the conversation. Nothing you say will actually engage or connect with anything anyone else says.
    So never mind.
    No, wait. Seriously. WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU ACTUALLY TALKING ABOUT?!

  • Mgmax

    “I’m growin’ a pair of jugs just lookin’ at this thing.” –Lou Stasiak, upon being handed a mocha latte

  • D.Z.

    Abe: “Apparently, I also think children should be bombed legally and not protected from guns. Or something. What the FUCK are you on about?”
    That’s just a reference to Clinton and Bush Senior’s no-fly zones…
    “Is the fact that every dark-skinned character is either a depraved fuckmonster or a simpleton lackey actually hiding some coded complexity?”
    The fact that the Spartans are equally vile(i.e. willing to destroy deformed babies) is what makes the film “balanced”. You don’t seem to appreciate the irony that what defeats them isn’t really a stronger opponent which they’ve been training for all their lives, but a smarter opponent who wears body piercings which mutilate the “ideal” physique which the Spartans cherish. The Persians win over people to their side, while the Spartans do things alone as an act of machismo, and therefore lose.

  • AbeGoldfarb

    Thank heavens, an actual response for once. Personally, I think you’re giving 300 credit for a sense of irony it doesn’t possess. The film unreservedly champions Spartan triumphalism. In Snyder’s eyes, the 300 DO win, because of the meaning of their sacrifice. Dramatically, that’s the only reading. Any notion of balance is swept away by the depiction of the Spartans’ purity versus Persian perversion.
    All of this is moot in any case. I’m just relieved you attempted to make sense.

  • D.Z.

    “Personally, I think you’re giving 300 credit for a sense of irony it doesn’t possess. The film unreservedly champions Spartan triumphalism.In Snyder’s eyes, the 300 DO win, because of the meaning of their sacrifice.”
    Snyder’s just interpreting the Spartan POV, not justifying it.

  • Mgmax, le Corbeau

    “In Snyder’s eyes, the 300 DO win, because of the meaning of their sacrifice.”
    That would also be, in the eyes of pretty much all subsequent history and historians.

  • Mgmax

    “In Snyder’s eyes, the 300 DO win, because of the meaning of their sacrifice.”

    That would also be, in the eyes of pretty much all subsequent history and historians.

  • George Prager

    Fuck you, bitch.

  • Ian Sinclair

    I am extremely amused that anyone should care about the opinion of a self-confessed dork like jeffmcm, who is best left masturbating to his beloved torture-porn. As for myself, I thoroughly enjoyed 300 for the same reason I enjoyed Apocalypto: it is a great action picture. Over-analysis of these pictures is strictly for the nerds.