300: The Malice of Hollywood



Plutarch preserves the ancient proverb, “who will praise a father, except unhappy sons?” so that we may quieten those who hide behind their forefather’s glory. Which proverb, though, may be used to silence Hollywood? Modern movies draw content from the rich waters of human history, but Hollywood goes further than those unhappy sons of Plutarch. Rather than simply disguise a mediocre production with a glorious tale, Hollywood actively distorts the historical narrative and grossly misrepresents our common ancestors. It is fitting that such a practice be opposed by a nation that takes the time to solemnly commemorate and remember those who came before us.

The most prominent example of this in 2014 is the movie 300: Rise of an Empire. Based on an unreleased comic book, the movie is set in Ancient Greece during the Greco-Persian Wars. Yet, this is not the Ancient Greece related to us in the Classics or revealed in archeological studies. The legends are stripped of countless characters and events, the political and social views are altered to depict modern, Hollywood values, and the tale is told in a manner that would deeply offend those who actually lived it. For our part, those who cherish history are shocked, and those who apply themselves to other fields of study are left deceived.

History comes under attack within the first five minutes of 300, and there is no respite until the credits roll. Although there is no single, agreed-upon historical narrative for the ancient world, 300 depicts a version of events that is thoroughly opposed to any accepted reality. 300 rewrites our past in three deceptive ways: characters are removed, characters are added, and the characters themselves are utterly rewritten. As an example of this treachery, one may focus on the very beginning of the movie, the Battle of Marathon.

First, Hollywood removes the chief actors from this famous battle. Numerous people are erased, including the person responsible for the Athenian battle plan, Miltiades, and the Athenian leader, Kallimachos. The Persian generals are similarly erased from history, Datis and Artaphernes, as is the exiled Athenian tyrant who accompanied them. Gone are the Plataeans, too, who fought and died at Marathon. The very same thing happened in the original 300, where the Spartans were falsely depicted as the only people to remain at Thermopylae and make the ultimate sacrifice.

So, then, who is actually present at Marathon? In place of the Persian generals is none other than King Darius himself, a man who should be countless miles away! If that weren’t bad enough, he is accompanied by the heir to the throne, Xerxes. The two of them watch from a boat; apparently the Persians are attacked immediately upon arriving in Hellas, rather than days later. Why are they there, you ask? Because Darius is apparently annoyed at the “notion” of freedom; never mind the events of the years leading up to Marathon.

Themistocles, at least, was likely present for the battle. However, his presence demonstrates the third point. The Themistocles in 300 is no longer an Odysseus-like character who uses guile and deception, but rather a Schwarzenegger-inspired superhero. His personality is altered beyond recognition, and indeed his physical feats become absurd. Charging out of formation, Themistocles is flanked by people wielding double-headed axes, and he proceeds to carve his way through disorganized Persians until he finally catches sight of King Darius.

Hollywood then performs its ultimate act of sacrilege against the Battle of Marathon, and indeed against the whole historical narrative in general. King Darius is slain by an arrow impossibly shot by Themistocles, thereby inspiring Xerxes to grow ten feet tall and pluck all his hair out. In a few minutes of film, Hollywood distorts the history that led to the Persian invasion of Hellas, blotting out the memory of countless men and women. This is an utter betrayal of Herodotus, who explained the purpose of authoring his Histories as follows,
“So that things done by man not be forgotten in time, and that great and marvelous deeds, some displayed by the Hellenes, some by the barbarians, not lose their glory, including among others what was the cause of their waging war on each other.”

Ultimately, Hollywood’s stunning display of the past is nothing more than a fabrication; the audience leaves deceived and betrayed. Deceived, because they walk away with a misconception of human events and behaviour. Betrayed, because their forefathers have been robbed of honour and dignity. To a people who observe with solemnity the sacrifices of their forefathers, offering pledges of allegiance and national holidays, Hollywood should be considered a deeply offensive institution.

Plutarch held that it is dangerous to make an enemy of a city that has popular playwrights. Certainly, the Iranians appreciate this thought, as they quickly lodged multiple protests against 300 for its portrayal of their Persian ancestors. How much more harmful, though, must it be to live in a city alongside those playwrights. One need only google Xerxes and see the results; instead of finding an ancient depiction of Xerxes, the search engine now displays multiple pictures from this deceptive movie. Hollywood’s ridiculous depictions of the past have poisoned the intellectual well, so to speak.

In our political life, the misdeeds of the entertainment industry should colour our discussions of education, censorship, and media in general. For many viewers, watching 300 is the only occasion in 2014 that they will spend substantial time thinking about the Greco-Persian Wars. While many Americans oppose the idea of outright censorship, it should be kept in mind that we are talking about protecting our history, rather than stopping movie-makers from creating new, fictional worlds. Still, there are less severe options; economic incentives can be offered for historical accuracy, and the creation of offensive movies can be rendered unprofitable. Through the creation of oversight regulations, new jobs may be created for people with history degrees as consultants to the film industry. The current rating systems in place today could be overhauled; Americans warn parents that a movie contains sex, violence, or foul language, but how much more important is it to know that the movie disgraces our ancestors.

Ultimately, if we don’t act to protect the people who came before us and ensure the proper education of our youth, then what of our own history? King Xerxes knew the value of the human experience and its memory; it is said that when he looked down upon the countless soldiers assembled at the border of Asia and Europe, he deemed himself blessed, and then he wept. When asked why he wept, he said,

“I was moved to compassion when I considered the shortness of all human life, since of all this multitude of men not one will be alive a hundred years from now.”

Hollywood is not Herodotus or Thucydides, and none of us will be alive a hundred years from now. Our progeny shouldn’t learn our names and stories from a dissolute entertainment industry.

What would you see done about this situation?

Discussion of 300: The Malice of Hollywood on tHE r H i z z o n E:

#1
first post
#2
Front page please (site says I shouldn't tick the frontpage editor box until speaking to somebody)

edit: ticked it anyway!

Edited by Lykourgos ()

#3
another awesome post by lykourgos
#4
great, great post. a personal favorite
#5
i like the parts with titties and rap metal
#6
congratulations on having attained the personality of a semi-retired american suburban math teacher so early in life. truly the rewards of wisdom are great
#7
Yes, attacking the author is one way to sidestep the big issue facing us, roseweird.
#8
lol who believes in 'historical' 'accuracy' in the Year of Our Lyotard Twenty 'So Pomo' Fourteen
#9

Lykourgos posted:

Yes, attacking the author is one way to sidestep the big issue facing us, roseweird.



what issue

#10
are you going to make a thread on the issue of how hercules name is really herakles. you could set up a speaking tour. "shut up mary i'm not finished talking, i don't care what your father says, its herakles you ignorant american cow"
#11

Lykourgos posted:

Yes, attacking the author is one way to sidestep the big issue facing us, roseweird.



if it isn't clear what i'm saying, it's your faulty personality that allows you to get worked up about this and mistake it for an issue to begin with, and to believe you've written anything worth responding to. perhaps the author is the issue.

#12
popular entertainers are mining mytho-historical material for their own modern ends, creating new permutations of old patterns that become popular among the masses??? lol i'm looking forward to your next thread condemning the follies of aischylos
#13
i know someone who is crazy enough to genuinely believe she is reincarnated egyptian royalty and i can't tell the difference between hear pathology and yours, i mean except the content (egyptian queen, spartan king, but then the greeks sometimes said sparta was an egyptian colony after all)
#14
actually do xena warrior princess next please
#15
why do you all upvote this miserable hackneyed shit, are you just clapping at the funny crazy person
#16

Lykourgos posted:

To a people who observe with solemnity the sacrifices of their forefathers, offering pledges of allegiance and national holidays, Hollywood should be considered a deeply offensive institution.



you don't celebrate the ancient holidays or honor the gods of hellas you ridiculous poseur. if you really cared, you would enlist a large group of inmates to chant the chants and carry the symbols of divinity and sacred offerings in the holiday processions

#17

Lykourgos posted:

Hollywood is not Herodotus or Thucydides, and none of us will be alive a hundred years from now. Our progeny shouldn’t learn our names and stories from a dissolute entertainment industry.



no one is going to be watching this movie in a hundred years any more than they are reading prometheus unbound now.

#18
ugh just shut up lol
#19
I want to suck the dude in the OP's dick.
#20

roseweird posted:

why do you all upvote this miserable hackneyed shit, are you just clapping at the funny crazy person


it has a picture and more than the average amt of words, plus it was written by a self-proclaimed authority figure on ancient greece cum Cook Co prosecutor. what more could you want? everything about it is hilarious + no one read it

#21
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#22

animedad posted:

everything about it is hilarious + no one read it



i read it and it wasn't funny but i see that i missed the joke

#23
lykourgos' existence is less funny to me than it is to any of you because i Care About The Classics
#24
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#25
http://www.history.com/shows/the-world-wars

An assassination in Sarajevo sparks a global war. For the next 30 years, deadly fighting rages across Europe, Africa, China and the Pacific.

Hitler. Churchill. De Gaulle. MacArthur. Patton. Stalin. Mussolini. We know them as legends. But they first learn what it will take to rise to greatness as young soldiers, fighting for their lives on the frontlines.

This is the story of a generation of men who come of age in the trenches of World War I, only to become the leaders of World War II. The lessons they learn on the frontlines shape them as they rise to power—and haunt them as the deadly fighting breaks out again. Some become heroes, forged in courage under fire. Others emerge as the most infamous villains the world has ever seen.

Theirs is one story—the story of a 30-year global struggle. A fight that will either save the world—or destroy it.

Narrated by two-time Oscar nominee Jeremy Renner (The Hurt Locker, The Town), this three-night event series features gripping dramatic scenes, stunning CGI visuals and interviews with contemporary leaders, including John McCain, Colin Powell, John Major and David Miliband, along with noted historians from around the world. The World Wars is a mini-series event that takes viewers on an epic and groundbreaking ride through the bloodiest century in history.
#26
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#27
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#28
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#29

tpaine posted:

lesions


This is my shit.

#30
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#31
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#32

tpaine posted:

conec posted:

lykourgos is maybe the worst poster on rhizzone

you're all awful but he is bad in a very uniquely stodgy way, whereas other top tier shitposters like deadken and emaneulenaeonrgy are at least somewhat cogent and fresh in their repellent crap, lykourgous combines their unwarranted confidence with a really banal dad-like repartee that makes me shiver with embarrasment by proxy whenever i imagine that an adult man sat down to show people his words and they were those words

heh tpaine i like you but sometimes i think, like, ok, here you are on a comedy stalin website, and evne here you hate everyone, and i just wonder is there anyone anywhere that you like. and if the answer is no, i mean, that's really depressing

#33
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#34
tpang has a gf(wife?) i htink that he hopefully likes & loves
#35
tpaine on a rocketship to the moon. he gts off the rocketship. he HATES THE MOON.
#36
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#37
cindy. cindy paine.
#38
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#39
"cindy and clarence," let it echo throughout the ages, because it is truly a love immortal
#40
sorry if that isn't truei don't know what the fuck I'm doin
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