Sunday, January 11, 2009

'300' and Culture

I went to the campus bookstore to do some reading, and happened to see
a copy of the comic '300'. I took some time to read it. The story is
about the Battle of Thermopylae, specifically the performance and
culture of the Spartan soldiers. It was reasonably historically
accurate, and well produced.

The Spartans made a lot of speeches about how they were fighting for
freedom, and the rule of law rather than the whims of men. They
talked about how they were fighting against the 'slaves' and
'barbarians' under the command of Xerxes. The comic was about how the
Spartans were making a stand to protect the 'light of civilization'
and the 'only free people the world has ever known'.

In reality, the Spartans did not talk like that. They were, in many
ways, the least civilized and least enlightened of the Greek
city-states. But I didn't care. The comic book was a celebration of
Western culture that is all too rare nowadays. It had been a long
time since any kind of popular entertainment has portrayed Western
culture and values as superior, and worth fighting for.

No comments: