Stephen Speicher

300 (2007)

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201 posts in this topic

Rose,

That's okay. I defined my terms, identified their connection to reality, and demonstrated how they led, in a non-contradictory, fashion to my conclusion. That is all anyone can do in a rational discussion. :angry:

Good day.

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MINOR SPOILER AHEAD

I have not seen the movie. For anyone who has: Does the movie show only the 300 Spartans engaging the Persians at Thermopylae without the assistance of any other Greek tribes?

1. Definitely go and see it. :angry:

2. Yes, the film shows other Greeks besides the Spartans. In fact, there is a very good scene which introduces the some of the other Greeks who ended up fighting the Persians along with the Spartans. But this is definitely a film focused on the Spartans themselves.

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I haven't yet seen the movie, so I can't fully comment on it, but I think it is more than a fictitious story spun out of whole cloth, i.e. a parable. I gather it is largely fictitious, but the battle of Thermopylae was real and this is part of what gives the story its strength. Reality bolsters the movies' theme. It was the reality of the original battle that inspired Frank Miller.

Is heroism like this possible to man on earth? The original battle gives you your answer.

Indeed, the real Thermopylae and Persian War provide ample examples of heroism on earth. If one deals with them as they actually were (even if one limits oneself to the evidence available to us from the archeological and historical record), there is more than enough to admire, to move, to thrill, to excite, to inspire . . . and all of it without exaggeration, overstatement or mythologizing. They also provide crucial illustrations of the ideas and practices in warfare that by the 5th Century BCE began to distinguish Western Civilization from others.

I see a certain irony in the fact that some of 300's most ardent supporters and detractors are making what I view to be the same mistake.

While Miller may have found inspiration for his tale in the Battle of Thermopylae, ultimately 300 has very little to do with Ancient Greece or Ancient Persia or the Persian War specifically: apart from an adherence to the basic outline of the Thermopylae story as it has come down to us (with some significant departures and omissions), the film does not show the full significance of the event within a thoroughly developed portrait of the time, the place and the actual people involved (on either side of the story). As a result, the archetypes illustrated (quite beautifully, as it turns out) -- good vs. evil, heroism vs. cowardice, etc. -- could be placed effectively in any number of other settings with only slight modification of the concretes. In fact, this same archetypal story has been told many times on film: apart from the extraordinary visual-effect technologies utilized in its making, there is nothing particularly new about 300, in my view.

Count me amongst those who were/are excited at the prospect of seeing a film that honors the achievements of Ancient Greece and Western Civilization. Indeed, it's wonderful to see Western peoples portrayed as heroes in the current culture of anti-Western political correctness, and for that Mr. Miller and the filmmakers deserve no small amount of credit. However, because of the film's lack of sufficient contextual development and those gaps that result from the dissociation of ideas (Spartan notions of "freedom", for example) from concretes (accepted Spartan sacrificial practices such as the Agoge, for example), the fact that the heroes of 300 are ostensibly Greek carries no special significance: they could just as easily have been Hindus fighting off Muslim invaders in medieval India, for example, or Tlaxcalans staving off Aztecs in 15th Century Mesoamerica with almost the same imagery and, crucially, much the same dialogue.

In short, it is my view that 300 is not a film that illuminates or advances singularly Greek and/or Western philosophical values or achievements. Put another way: the values of the heroes of 300 do not resonate as specifically or necessarily attributable to Greek or Western Civilization in clear distinction to others.

And with that, I leave 300.

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Correction: the sentence "However, because of the film's lack of sufficient contextual development and those gaps that result from the dissociation of ideas . . . " should have read "However, because of the film's lack of sufficient contextual development and those gaps that result from the apparent dissociation of ideas . . . "

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...the fact that the heroes of 300 are ostensibly Greek carries no special significance: they could just as easily have been Hindus fighting off Muslim invaders in medieval India, for example, or Tlaxcalans staving off Aztecs in 15th Century Mesoamerica with almost the same imagery and, crucially, much the same dialogue.

I have to disagree here completely. It is precisely because of the context of Greece as the 'cradle of civilization' - a cradle from which reason and freedom were born and bred - that there is quite the "special significance" to these great warriors being Greek. All the claims to fighting for reason and freedom against mysticism and tyranny are born out by what Greece did become after fending off the Persians. All the philosophically resonant lines would have been completely out of place in the aforementioned examples. So, no, "much the same dialogue" could not "just have easily" been uttered by Hindus, or Tlaxcalans, etc.. No other such group could have uttered so profoundly and so truthfully:

"This day we rescue a world from mysticism and tyranny and usher in a future brighter than anything we can imagine!"

Those brave 300 did exactly that. They saved reason and freedom from being killed in its cradle.

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In fact, this same archetypal story has been told many times on film: apart from the extraordinary visual-effect technologies utilized in its making, there is nothing particularly new about 300, in my view.
The theme is not new, and the basic plot outline (viewed from 50,000 feet) isn't either. But a story is more than that. It is also the immersion of the audience in the concretes, making real and specific the theme. Specific to this battle is the legend of an overwhelming difference in number, and how bravely those few Spartans fought against those odds. That alone would make this a great movie. But on top of that is the role the battle played in rallying the Spartan army to eventually defeat the Persians. It really did lead to the preservation of Western Civilization; the battle was lost, but the war was won.
However, because of the film's lack of sufficient contextual development and those gaps that result from the dissociation of ideas (Spartan notions of "freedom", for example) from concretes (accepted Spartan sacrificial practices such as the Agoge, for example),
That's not true. The characters in the movie were mixed cases, in that, for instance, the idea of freedom that existed then isn't what we (as Objectivists) would consider free. They are far more rational than the Persians (or any other culture of the day) but still had some mysticism (as we do today). A mixed case is not the same as a floating abstraction.
the fact that the heroes of 300 are ostensibly Greek carries no special significance: they could just as easily have been Hindus fighting off Muslim invaders in medieval India, for example, or Tlaxcalans staving off Aztecs in 15th Century Mesoamerica with almost the same imagery and, crucially, much the same dialogue.
Absolutely not! I suggest reading Carnage and Culture by Victor Davis Hanson, in particular the chapter on the battle of Salamis, which pit the Greeks against the Persians. It is the nature of Greek culture that won the day then, and what mattered for the battle in the movie. Hanson argues that there are particular ways of waging war that stem from the particular nature of western culture that have made wars between western and non-western groups very one-sided, with few exceptions. Traits such as reason, individualism, capitalism, discipline, decisive battle, and citizen soldiers (among others) directly increase the military strength of western nations.
In short, it is my view that 300 is not a film that illuminates or advances singularly Greek and/or Western philosophical values or achievements. Put another way: the values of the heroes of 300 do not resonate as specifically or necessarily attributable to Greek or Western Civilization in clear distinction to others.
I strongly disagree. The film precisely illustrates a clash of cultures and the ramifications for how they fight wars. It is the Greek methods of battle -- of using the phalanx as a unit, for instance; or the ruthless dedication of the Spartan training -- that makes the difference and makes the story worth remembering.

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I thought this was an incredibly done movie. Artistically brilliant, and the dialogue captures some important essentials - some of the final words of Leonidas explicitly identify Persian mysticism as something to be fought. This is the first movie I can recall seeing where I get the impression of complete control over every frame, something Ayn Rand noted about one Fritz Lang film that I've never seen.

We are still fighting the Persians, and I wish there were somebody in the White House with 1/1000 the fortitude of Leonidas to finally finish the job with the capabilities that now exist.

I went to see 300 a couple of days ago, because of your post and others'.

If you haven't seen Siegfried (Fritz Lang), incidentally, it's well worth your time, despite the story (as Ayn Rand implied on page 72 of the Signet paperback edition of The Romantic Manifesto). The film 300 does not measure up, artistically, to Siegfried, in my view, but, nevertheless, it is a noble effort. The reason I say it doesn't measure up is because it relies too heavily on technology--the computer-enhanced color and shadow of the photography--and not as much on the sheer strength of visual composition (though many of the shots are well composed, and there is one that I believe was directly inspired by a shot in Siegfried). But still--I thought 300 was worth seeing.

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Beautiful movie!

Although the Spartan costumes were inaccurate - I think I would prefer seeing half naked men with great bodies :angry: . They reminded me of what an ideal man should look like - tall, proud and great abs :). After seeing the movie, the thought that stayed in my mind was - that is what a man should be and look like - proud of himself and his ability.

Going back to the men's abs, which kept haunting me, I found this video clip of Lena Heady very funny. Where she mentioned that she was surrounded by flesh! (The video is in the 300 website - Making of 300 - Video Journals - 6: Lena Heady). I was so envious! :)

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Going back to the men's abs, which kept haunting me, I found this video clip of Lena Heady very funny. Where she mentioned that she was surrounded by flesh! (The video is in the 300 website - Making of 300 - Video Journals - 6: Lena Heady). I was so envious! :angry:

The URL for the movie became garbled above, so here is the pointer to the 300 website. (The video with Lena Headey is delightful. Thanks, Lu.)

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Absolutely not! I suggest reading Carnage and Culture by Victor Davis Hanson, in particular the chapter on the battle of Salamis, which pit the Greeks against the Persians.

I am fully aware of Dr. Hanson's work as I am of the history of Ancient Greece and the nature of Ancient Greek warfare. But this has been a discussion of the movie, 300, and I do not require Dr. Hanson to tell me what to think on that particular subject.

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I was looking through the comic book 300 today at Borders, and I was surprised at how closely the movie mimics the characters, the scenes and the dialogue--the book was essentially the script for the movie. Roughly 85% of the plot's structure was preserved, and about the same amount of the dialogue was taken verbatim from the book. The only major change was the bigger role of Queen Gorgo in the movie.

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I'd like to respond to a few of the posts, on historical grounds:

to any modern audience, portraying the slavery that supported the soldiers would be understood as a blatant contradiction to claims of freedom, and would undermine the ability of that audience to consider the warriors heroes
In short, it is my view that 300 is not a film that illuminates or advances singularly Greek and/or Western philosophical values or achievements. Put another way: the values of the heroes of 300 do not resonate as specifically or necessarily attributable to Greek or Western Civilization in clear distinction to others.

The first says that the movie took the endorsement of freedom too far, while the other says it didn't take it far enough. And both support their opposite arguments historically! :angry: What Spartans fought for was the idea of freedom, and not abstract freedom. They fought for their freedom. That is the revolutionary notion, that must be appreciated. The Founding Fathers did not fight for the freedom of everyone everywhere, for the huddled masses yearning to be free, but for their freedom, and that of their countrymen. To a group of people already convinced of the value of selfishness and personal values, this should have been the first fact of notice. They Founders fought for a concrete fact, based on the principle that their freedom was worth fighting and dying for, that their life was great enough to only be lived free. The Spartans fought in exactly the same way, to live in freedom (Athenians fought to live in anarchy). All the great fights for freedom in the West have never been abstract, but particular, and not about principles unrelated to them personally, but exclusively related to them personally, and only by extension made into general principles true for everyone.

Finally, to Vespasiano, my reply is this: it is impossible to say about a movie focused on Greeks fighting for freedom, that they are fighting for a banal, mundane notion, that is as present in Tlaxcalans fighting off Aztecs as it is in Spartans fighting off Persians. Certainly, on the one hand, people have fought off oppressors. But the West has not only discovered freedom and liberty, it has also been the most dogged fighter (and "dier") for it. Who among the Greeks discovered the notion of liberty? Spartans. Centuries before the Athenians. Not complete laissez-faire liberty in a package that is most appealing to everyone, but liberty nonetheless, and a supreme achievement in the history of man. The notion of liberty in Classical civilization is one of its crowning virtues, and any movie with members of that culture fighting for freedom is entirely appropriate, while it is the movie about Tlaxcalans fighting Aztecs for liberty that would be anachronistic. The two films would be in no way interchangeable. There's a reason why you have a Roman quote about liberty in your signature. I mean these guys revered liberty in a semi-religious way. Romans built statues and temples to liberty, for goodness sakes.

So 300 doesn't have to go expounding complicated theories on liberty and connecting it with specifically the Greeks, versus some other people fighting off some other invaders. If it's a movie with Greeks, and if there's some fighting for freedom involved, that's all the connection you need.

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What Spartans fought for was the idea of freedom, and not abstract freedom. They fought for their freedom.... All the great fights for freedom in the West have never been abstract, but particular, and not about principles unrelated to them personally, but exclusively related to them personally, and only by extension made into general principles true for everyone.

You seem to using "abstract" here as something disconnected from reality, but the "idea of freedom" is an abstraction. Perhaps it is worthwhile clarifying your meaning, so as not to be misunderstood.

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You seem to using "abstract" here as something disconnected from reality, but the "idea of freedom" is an abstraction. Perhaps it is worthwhile clarifying your meaning, so as not to be misunderstood.

He was so quick his clarification went back in time and arrived 12 minutes before your post . :angry::)

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I'd like to respond to a few of the posts, on historical grounds:
...to any modern audience, portraying the slavery that supported the soldiers would be understood as a blatant contradiction to claims of freedom, and would undermine the ability of that audience to consider the warriors heroes.[...]

The first says that the movie took the endorsement of freedom too far...

How anyone could arrive at this inexplicable interpretation of what I said is beyond my power to determine. So, I will ask FC to please refrain from quoting me, and then asserting that what I've said can (somehow) be made to mean whatever he wants it to mean. If he has something to say, he ought to say it. But I strongly object to such a completely nonsensical misinterpretation of my words being used as a springboard for his ideas, which have nothing at all to do with what I said.

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I'd like to respond to a few of the posts, on historical grounds:

The first says that the movie took the endorsement of freedom too far, while the other says it didn't take it far enough. And both support their opposite arguments historically! :angry: What Spartans fought for was the idea of freedom, and not abstract freedom. They fought for their freedom. That is the revolutionary notion, that must be appreciated. The Founding Fathers did not fight for the freedom of everyone everywhere, for the huddled masses yearning to be free, but for their freedom, and that of their countrymen.

The Founding Fathers did fight for their freedom, as you say, but what made what they did so important is that they fought for the principle that all men should be free, that all men have inalienable rights. They did believe that the principle was universal, and that is vital to understanding the value of the American Revolution.

Thomas Jefferson to Roger C. Weightman Monticello, June 24, 1826. His last letter written:

May it be to the world, what I believe it will be, (to some parts sooner, to others later, but finally to all,) the signal of arousing men to burst the chains under which monkish ignorance and superstition had persuaded them to bind themselves, and to assume the blessings and security of self-government. That form which we have substituted, restores the free right to the unbounded exercise of reason and freedom of opinion. All eyes are opened, or opening, to the rights of man. The general spread of the light of science has already laid open to every view the palpable truth, that the mass of mankind has not been born with saddles on their backs, nor a favored few booted and spurred, ready to ride them legitimately, by the grace of God. These are grounds of hope for others. For ourselves, let the annual return of this day forever refresh our recollections of these rights, and an undiminished devotion to them.

Back to FC.

To a group of people already convinced of the value of selfishness and personal values, this should have been the first fact of notice. They Founders fought for a concrete fact, based on the principle that their freedom was worth fighting and dying for, that their life was great enough to only be lived free.

I agree, and for the wider principle that men have rights!

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Will I ever be able to "escape" this little Peloponesian War (in which, incidentally, the Persians played an interesting role as well . . . on the side of Sparta as it so happens) we have going on here? About a movie?

The inevitable slip up:

Was meant to say:

"What Spartans fought for was not the idea of freedom"

And the 700 or so civilian Thespians (Thespia: now there was an interesting place), who died along side the 300 Spartans and who, tellingly in my view, are omitted from Mr. Miller's take on Thermopylae, did fight for the idea of freedom . . . in a quite real sense. Contrary to some of the views I've read, both the contrast between the city states Sparta and Thespia, for example, and the historical fact that they were able to place above their differences whatever commonality they had between them in order to defeat a common enemy, had they been explored by Mr. Miller in his tale or, at least, by the filmmakers, would have made 300 exponentially richer.

And I was unaware that the kind of strictly regimented autocracy that was Sparta of 480 BCE was Ancient Greece's peculiar and unique gift to mankind. Who knew?

That anyone could take from my posts on the merits of the movie, 300, any disparagement of Ancient Greece generally, I would find positively comical if it were not so thoroughly incorrect. Be that as it may, you are free to characterize my comments in any way you wish (whatever floats your boat as they say) but, once again and for the last time (I promise), my disappointment with this film is that, unfortunately, it simply doesn't rise to the level of its subject.

I will allow, however, for the sake of argument, that if this film inspires people to study the Ancient Greeks and to learn about their incomparable achievements as a whole, then it will have served a useful purpose. It might even inspire someone to make a really great film on the subject.

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Warning: There are spoilers about this movie in this post.

I gave it 10/10 and would have given it 11/11 if I could. Had there been 10 heroic, reason-advocating movies this year, maybe I'd give it a different score. But, I am so parched for stylized, romantic movie making that I cannot help but gush about 300.

  • As a visual art work it is stunning. 300 delivers a completely unique stylization that captivated me. I'm sure I would enjoy looking at this movie without any sound. Even the ending credits are wonderful to see.
  • The story is exciting, expertly written and engrossing. It doesn't matter to me whether or not it is historically accurate. 300 makes no pretense about accuracy (you don't see a "based on a true story" blurb). The theme of reason versus mysticism, heroic courage versus cowardly force is woven into every scene. The portrayal of evil, in particular, reminded me of Ayn Rand's view that evil is impotent. The evil in this story is mystic worship and power lust. It is an evil that wants only for the good to bown down to the bad. When 300 Spartan Soldiers (aided by a noble queen at home) instead assert their self-esteem, the evil force is powerless.
  • When was the last time you heard such direct attacks on mysticism and advocating of reason in a movie? I wanted to scream in my seat! In particular, for me, the hunchback character was a main pivot for the movie's theme. He wants the unearned. Yes, he has come a long way in overcoming his disability, but that effort is not a bill that he can put at the feet of Leonidas. One of the best lines in the movie, which I wish I can remember word-for-word, was Xerxes saying to the hunchback: Leonidas rejected you because you cannot stand tall - all I want is for you to kneel.

I loved 300.

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Will I ever be able to "escape" this little Peloponesian War (in which, incidentally, the Persians played an interesting role as well . . . on the side of Sparta as it so happens) we have going on here? About a movie?

And the 700 or so civilian Thespians (Thespia: now there was an interesting place), who died along side the 300 Spartans and who, tellingly in my view, are omitted from Mr. Miller's take on Thermopylae, did fight for the idea of freedom . . . in a quite real sense. Contrary to some of the views I've read, both the contrast between the city states Sparta and Thespia, for example, and the historical fact that they were able to place above their differences whatever commonality they had between them in order to defeat a common enemy, had they been explored by Mr. Miller in his tale or, at least, by the filmmakers, would have made 300 exponentially richer.

And I was unaware that the kind of strictly regimented autocracy that was Sparta of 480 BCE was Ancient Greece's peculiar and unique gift to mankind. Who knew?

That anyone could take from my posts on the merits of the movie, 300, any disparagement of Ancient Greece generally, I would find positively comical if it were not so thoroughly incorrect. Be that as it may, you are free to characterize my comments in any way you wish (whatever floats your boat as they say) but, once again and for the last time (I promise), my disappointment with this film is that, unfortunately, it simply doesn't rise to the level of its subject.

Well, sorry - you're trapped - and subject to endless misinterpretation of your views, for the sin of having expressed an opinion unpalatable to the (admittedly numerically tiny, if passionate) vocal majority in this venue -- whose passion alone, however admirable in itself, has hardly been sufficient to persuade me that this film is greater than I think it is.

Still, I admit that (compared to current cultural trends, which I often find so repulsive that I can rarely bear to investigate them for more than a moment) this film is much better than the usual run of leftist garbage that one generally sees coming out of Hollywood. So it is something that this country can certainly use right now.

I liked Nicholas Provenso's characterization of the film, which was something like: A 'whoop-ass' movie that gives (some) people a good dose of something they need, which is too often missing in the current culture (which is, I think, an affirmation of the right to self-defense). But I cannot think (unfortunately) that George Bush and his ilk will wake up the morning after seeing this film -- go out there and whoop some ass like they ought to do. And I believe the reason they will not is primarily philosophical, rather than primarily psychological.

But my favorite part of the film wasn't the manly 'whoop-ass' part. It was the relationship between Leonidas and his wife, and also the part where

the woman whoops ass (when Queen Gorgo kills Theron),

, which I mentioned already in a previous post. That woman who played the Queen is beautiful, and played a sympathetic and heroic character.

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Well, sorry - you're trapped - and subject to endless misinterpretation of your views, for the sin of having expressed an opinion unpalatable to the (admittedly numerically tiny, if passionate) vocal majority in this venue -- whose passion alone, however admirable in itself, has hardly been sufficient to persuade me that this film is greater than I think it is.

Still, I admit that (compared to current cultural trends, which I often find so repulsive that I can rarely bear to investigate them for more than a moment) this film is much better than the usual run of leftist garbage that one generally sees coming out of Hollywood. So it is something that this country can certainly use right now.

I liked Nicholas Provenso's characterization of the film, which was something like: A 'whoop-ass' movie that gives (some) people a good dose of something they need, which is too often missing in the current culture (which is, I think, an affirmation of the right to self-defense). But I cannot think (unfortunately) that George Bush and his ilk will wake up the morning after seeing this film -- go out there and whoop some ass like they ought to do. And I believe the reason they will not is primarily philosophical, rather than primarily psychological.

But my favorite part of the film wasn't the manly 'whoop-ass' part. It was the relationship between Leonidas and his wife . . . . That woman who played the Queen is beautiful, and played a sympathetic and heroic character.

LOL! There was a time when, if a movie came out -- whatever it was, I was in the theater on Saturday seeing it. Sometimes it happened that I took in two or three one after the other! Suffice it to say that, like you, my disenchantment with the usual crap took its toll.

I cannot stress enough the fact that, at this point, for me even to venture into a movie theater to see a first-run film constitutes an almost historic event in and of itself although, perhaps, not worthy of its own cinematic treatment. I purposefully didn't read anything about it or check out the Miller book because I not only wanted to see the movie as it is for myself but was actually excited by the prospect of seeing 300. And so, although I did enjoy the film from a certain perspective (as I've already detailed -- and, indeed, the queen's character was as close to a 3-dimensional one as any other in the film), it was with no small amount of sadness -- and a little irritation to tell truth -- that I left the theater ultimately disappointed.

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There are some things wrong with "300", but I do not believe they are big enough, particularly when compared to the vast majority of other films, that they should overshadow the good.

We could have done without monster Persians; the fact that they are obeying Xerxes speaks enough to their character, it does not need further explication by making their spiritual deformities physical. They could have told the story from the point of view of a free city-state like Thespiae instead of the oligarchical semi-collectivist Sparta. There are a number of things which could have made this film a better one.

I, however, am not going worry to long over what "300" could have been, but rather enjoy it for what it is: an excellent highly stylized romanticized telling of the Battle of Thermopylae where heroes laid down their lives in defiance of tyranny.

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(Here's the post again, this time under the correct name)

You seem to using "abstract" here as something disconnected from reality, but the "idea of freedom" is an abstraction. Perhaps it is worthwhile clarifying your meaning, so as not to be misunderstood.

Right, my subsequent post was aimed at correcting this error. What I mean to say was that Spartans, part of a noble tradition in the West, didn't fight for something that was unrelated to them personally, but for something related almost entirely to them personally and only by extension related to others. I'm making a historical point, although the thread is about the movie, because obviously the movie does try to base itself on history, and people have criticised it on those historical grounds.

Also, I wasn't trying to say that abstractions are disconnected from reality, only that sometimes certain abstractions are taken that way. For instance (and not that anyone here has said it), that the Founders decided to fight for Freedom, for huddled masses yearning to be free. But actually they chose to fight and die primarily for their freedom, and only due to generosity (and 3,000 years of Western development) did they reserve some part of their struggle to benefit others, so that rights of others wouldn't be violated. But it's their rights, their life, that they were most intent on protecting. In earlier days Western men were in exactly the same way.

So, one might ask, what's the big deal about a bunch of Greeks fighting and dying for their freedom? It's important because no one else has ever had the courage to do it (aside from those who became inspired by this Greek example at Thermopylae, and other similar instances).

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Will I ever be able to "escape" this little Peloponesian War we have going on here? About a movie?
I don't think it's as dramatic as that... people have strong opinions, and they voice them, but I don't see it as anything other than people having a good debate amongst each other.
And the 700 or so civilian Thespians (Thespia: now there was an interesting place), who died along side the 300 Spartans and who, tellingly in my view, are omitted from Mr. Miller's take on Thermopylae, did fight for the idea of freedom . . . in a quite real sense.
And I was unaware that the kind of strictly regimented autocracy that was Sparta of 480 BCE was Ancient Greece's peculiar and unique gift to mankind. Who knew?
It's not the regimented society that was Sparta's gift, but the idea of fighting for liberty whatever the cost. For centuries, they had been the only society in Greece with that at their conerstone principle, and inspiration for the other Greeks on those grounds. It's not my word that should be taken here, but what the Greeks said themselves about the Spartans. Again, we're getting into a historical debate, and the movie's artistic merit does not depend on these particulars and intricacies. But since people have offered criticism of 300 on those terms, I thought I'd provide a reply to the same. Yes 300 takes some things to exaggeration, but there are other historical facts that it embraces with enormous seriousness, and those should be appreciated. The Spartan fight for liberty is one of those enormous facts, right out of Greek historians.

The disparagement of Sparta as little more than a backward regimented little society originates with the Victorians who idolized Athens at all costs. The Founders and the 18th century intellectuals generally had a different opinion -- Sparta for them was the only Greek state with something to admire. An 18th century British book I am reading, more than once gives charming anecdotes of Spartan life and culture, for interest to its readers.

In any case, I certainly did not mean to misrepresent anything you said (same with Rose Lake), so I apologize if such an implication occurred inadvertedly (and invite correction).

the contrast between the city states Sparta and Thespia, [...] and the historical fact that they were able to place above their differences [...], would have made 300 exponentially richer.
Well now we're talking about particulars not of history, but movie-making. It's up to the director to choose how he best wants to dramatize the theme. The historic point you seem to be making is that since Thespian society was less regimented than the Spartans, and since they made that stand at Thermopylae just the same, that they deserve a much better portrayal. But there's nothing heroic about Thespians historically, and their name is just a footnote of history, aside from their one stand with the Spartans at Thermopylae, where they reached once the standard that the Spartans had set perpetually. After all, it was a Spartan who had led the 10,000 Greeks out of Persian Empire; for centuries it was the Spartans whom all of Greece would give unconditional trust in arbitration of disputes, due to their superlative justice and honesty (again, so the Greeks say). And for Spartans, the heroic stands such as at Thermopylae were almost habitual. So while we may not completely appreciate every tiny particular of Spartan life, I think its fair to let them have their moment to shine in, and be admired.

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Well, sorry - you're trapped - and subject to endless misinterpretation of your views...
Many of the arguments against the views you expressed were not mischaracterizations. Your disagreement with those views does not make them such.
...for the sin of having expressed an opinion unpalatable to the (admittedly numerically tiny, if passionate) vocal majority in this venue...
Throwing terms of faith/persecution at the individuals who have disagreed with your posts does not change the nature of those posts nor the nature of the disagreements. For instance, the fundamental challenge I presented was not against your "opinion" of the film, but against your conception of "Romantic Realism". I claim it is false. As such, contrary to your above assertion, the disagreement was over a matter of fact, not "opinion". Claiming the issue is just a matter of 'taste' is the actual "misinterpretation" here.

Since you seemed to have regained your motivation to speak on the topic, perhaps you would care to now read and subsequently address the argument I presented concerning your conception of "Romantic Realism."

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