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Movie Review: The 300
Thursday, April 05, 2007   By: Mahone Dunbar

Brokeback History?  Homo erotic violence hits the big screen

A long long time ago, in a country far far away, there existed three-hundred gay, Greek body builders. Each and every one of the 300 (as they were known far and wide) had absolutely fabulous abs, ponderous pecs, bulging muscular thighs and beautiful flowing locks. Every day, after meticulously oiling each other’s bodies, brushing their hair 100 strokes, adding coconut oil to make it glisten, and then admiring their reflections in their polished shields, they donned capes and sandals and went for long reflective walks on the beach together. Naturally, these being dangerous times, full of slave revolts, uppity Athenians and the like, the 300 armed themselves with swords and spears.

One day, to the dismay of their leader, Leonidas – who was so spectacularly butch that everyone called him King, even though he was rumored to be bi-sexual – it was learned that a bunch of Persian queers were intent on invading their territory and confiscating their supply of coconut oil. The Persians were – to the man, she-male, cross-dressers or mincing whatevers – evil bitchy Queens. Their leader, a wrathful ho named Ms. Xerxes, AKA, The Bling King – who sported multiple facial and body piercings, wore golden rings, golden baubles, golden bracelets, golden bangles, golden trinkets, a nifty, sheik golden neck harness, and had such a surfeit of jewelry that he even wore a necklace across his face – being jealous of Leonidas, had decided to come to Greece to check out the rough trade, steal the Greeks coconut oil, and . . .

. . . Whoa! Wait a minute. I think I'm reviewing the wrong movie here . . . I must have accidentally wandered into the 12th Annual Piedmont Gay Pride Film Festival by mistake. Hold on a sec. . . . Nope, I checked the marquee. This is definitely the historical epic about the ancient and mythic Battle of Thermopylae.

Jeez. History ain’t what it used to be.

The Battle of Thermopylae occurred in 480 BC and was the Greek equivalent of the Alamo. A small group of brave soldiers died gloriously by sacrificing themselves to hold off a horde of enemy with vastly superior numbers. That’s about all you need to know.

Richard Egan starred in The 300 Spartans, the first cinematic treatment of the battle. My friends and I went home afterwards and had make-believe sword battles with evil Persians the rest of the day. Mr. Egan was decidedly un-Greek of countenance, as were his troops – the same extras who played Indians or Mexicans when the need arose – and such things as the fact that the Spartans were slave holders, merciless butchers of their fellow country men, and probably had more gay sex in a day than occurs at the average bus station restroom in a week – were politely not mentioned. (Else wise, impressionable young minds might have gone home and tried to emulate a different kind of sword play).

Cinema is different today. The violence is realistic, with slow-motion shots to glorify every nano second of blood-flecked faces and fragmented brains flying through the air, and no theme, whether historically accurate or done just for kicks, is too bizarre for tender minds.


This latest movie idyl about Thermopylae has received heavy criticism some, primarily the Iranians, Islamics, their anti-American supporters, and the usual unwashed Third Worlders. First, for implying that the ancient Persians, personified by Xerxes in the movie, were cowards and raging homos. On the latter count, it’s fairly certain that Persian troops were not highly motivated being that they were virtual slaves of the tyrant Xerxes; of the former, the debauchery of god-kings (i.e., anyone with the resources and power to satiate their every sexual desire) be their origin Persian, Egyptian, Roman, Nazi Germany or Hollywood, is a psychological given. If you indulge in excess in every aspect of your life, then sex, being the most important component in human relations, certainly wouldn't be left out. If the king’s every physical whim is supplied over and over, then the king soon gets bored and moves on to the more novel, be it donkeys or small boys. It’s not for nothing that pederasty has been called the "sport of kings."

One criticism of this historical aspect of The 300 is correct; the ancient Spartans would have been the last ones to cast stones at the Persians for homosexual behavior, since it was enshrined into the fabric the Spartan military system. But all this gay discussion is making me queasy – and I'm having the weird impulse to put on a pair of sandals and a cape and go for a jaunt on the beach – so let’s move on.

The second major criticism to arouse our wonder at Middle Eastern logic is the declaration that the movie is a Zionist/US propaganda effort to besmirch the reputations of today’ suicidally fanatic Middle Eastern terrorists who will stop at nothing to take over the world by portraying their forefathers as suicidally fanatic Middle Eastern terrorists who would stop at nothing to take over the world. Wait . . . hell, never mind. Maybe you'd like to try explaining what convoluted logic is to people who are content to wait till they die to get laid and are still pissed off about the Crusades. Me, I'd rather devote my time to trying something a little more productive, like trying to convince bloggers on that evil space aliens are not in control of President Bush.

The 300 was based on Frank Miller’s highly stylized comic book about the Battle Of Thermopylae, which was written in the nineties, well before George W. Bush’s involvement in the Iraq problem, which fact probably just gives Zionist-conspiracy loyalists a more challenging level of spin to deal with.

All that said, the movie is good. It works at a mythic level, perhaps allegorical, but not an historic one. Liberties have been taken with reality; as the pre-movie tags always say these days, "Inspired by a true story." The art direction is reminiscent of the paintings of Frank Franzetta and Boris Vallejo put in motion – they did all those sword and sorcery paperback book covers – and is a clever blend of the pastoral and the marshal: a flurry of decapitations, dismemberments and slashing blades against a backdrop of colonnades, pediments, hazy mountain crags and ultra-blue skies filled with birds of prey on the wing. Think Maxfield Parrish from hell, perhaps. The blend of CGI and live action is so good it’s scary and director Zack Snyder handled the weaving of the two with finesse. The art direction should be an Oscar contender next year – if the movie didn't piss off the leftist Hollywood types too much by offending radical Islamics.

Well, got to go now. Time for my daily walk. Now, where the hell did I put my cape?



Recently, while searching the debris in a bomb crater on the Iraq/Iran boarder, an archaeological team from Emory University found several ancient Iranian artifacts, including a very worn coin from the reign of Xerxes. Using digital enhancement on the coin’s faded surface, scientists were able to accurately recreate the image engraved upon it, which is believed to be Xerxes’ queen, Bulzdyka (see image below). One historian, who asked to remain anonymous, said "This may go a long way towards explaining why Xerxes turned to an exclusive homosexual lifestyle."   


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