300 Objectivists

JoeM's picture
Submitted by JoeM on Sun, 2007-03-18 00:31

"Hell is for martyrs,
and Heaven's for fools,
but Earth is the place where we make our own rules."
-me

As Aaron noted in his review, "300 presents heroes without doubt or apology. There are no anti-heroes to be found, none just going through the motions, no muddled or conflicted 'heroes' succumbing to this or that weakness or folly. The rhetoric of Leonidas and others inspire, touting reason, freedom, and deriding the mysticism not only of the East but of the Greek's own gods and Oracle. Their confidence is unshaken, resolve unrelenting, and words matched by actions to the last stand. Not just imagery, not just presentation, but heroism and sense of life make this film awesome."

After seeing the film myself, I can truly say, "Well said."

This film is nothing less than a rallying cry to stand up and speak out for what's right. When at the end of the movie, there are not 300 but tens of thousands of Spartans spurred on by the brave few who dared to take a stand, I couldn't help but feel the same. I was hoping for a standing ovation in the theaters (but didn't hold my breath, being a sparse crowd on a Saturday matinee a week after the opening.) But more realistically, it's not surprising given that the nation is war-weary and disillusioned, which makes the timing of this movie all the more poignant. The parallels between the story and real life are there for those who want to see it (and forget about history; this story IS of our time.) I can imagine that in the past, when the hero's wife gave her rousing speech, the audience would have cheered. But like her audience in the movie, she is only met with blank stares and lies, much like the apathy of our age. But here's an interesting thought: Frank Miller, the author of the original comic, is known for dialogue such as: "I'm no Ayn Rander, she didn't go nearly far enough!" And like Rand's characters, the Spartan Queen does not rest her argument on the acceptance or denial of her audience, she takes matters into her own hands, sticking the sword in her enemy and exposing the Judas-like betrayal. The same of her husband, Leonidas, who does not wait for the "disease ridden mystics" who would have Sparta bow down before the Persians to preserve a tradition. Neither would sell their souls for the proverbial "30 pieces of silver." No compromise, no unearned guilt, no surrender.

This movie should be nothing short of a rallying cry for Objectivists.

I want to say that this movie should be nothing short of a rallying cry for Americans. But America does not mean what it once did. The ideal that America stood for is heading for the history bins, an ideal that have been sold for more than a few pieces of silver. America has gained the world and lost its soul. It's too big, too bloated, too unorganized, too lazy, too fat, too pampered, too cynical, too jaded. What it lacks is the Spartan lack of fear. Leonidas learns that "fear is constant" and that it must be faced, and "heightens his senses." America has realized that fear is constant, but dulled its senses with modern-day breads and circuses. America has abdicated self-determination to the "diseased-ridden mystics," the anti-industrialists, the bribes of slavery. America has heard King Xerxes's appeal, that Leonidas cruelly asks her to stand, and has decided to kneel. Her Republicans are no Leonidas; they are groveling along with the Democrats. The Libertarians are like the Arcadians, "more brawlers than warriors."

Objectivism is the equivalent of the 300 Spartans. Its army is relatively small, it is unsanctioned, it is alone among thousands. And its proponents are surrounded on all sides. Seeming allies, such as the Republicans, are nothing more than Arcadians, who, while greater in number, lack the fortitude to make it in the long run. Yet we have more potential warriors among us. I say potential, because there is the risk of this mighty army to cave to the pressure. "The helmet is stifling, and the shield grows heavy."

What Objectivism needs is to look to the Spartans in spirit. The Spartan lifestyle may be extreme, but it is instructive. Historically, the Spartans trained their bodies and minds against the elements, to bear pain, to stay hungry, to never surrender. Objectivists need to take this to heart. Its proponents must not hide from the fear. They must be true capitalists, yet they must not sell their souls. They must be diplomatic, yet they must not reason with the unreasonable. They must not accept the promises of wealth from self-proclaimed gods in exchange for subservience. They must remember the Spartans of their own inspirations, the Howard Roarks and John Galts, who neither served nor kneeled, who could not be tempted by the Wynands and Tooheys, who could not turn on their own ideals for a comfortable lifestyle. There is "Kira's Viking," who also neither submitted or yielded, who was fiction yet truer than any iconic heavy metal barbarian. There is a story of an "ideal” who visited those who proclaim to love her. Some betrayed her; some did not even recognize her. Some accepted her on the condition that she cease to be an ideal.

Objectivism is not a game or Platonic fiction. It is a method, a philosophy for living on Earth. When you meet the idea, how will you greet her?

Will you count yourself as one of the 300?


( categories: )

300 Lesbos

JoeM's picture

Geez, leave it to South Park...missing the point completely, of course.

****************************************************************************

Spaceplayer Sight and Sound

I'm with you, Julian. It's

User hidden's picture

I'm with you, Julian. It's hard for me to imagine how anyone couldn't have enjoyed that movie. I have to say, if someone didn't like 300, they probably just aren't my kind of folks. It's a kind of measure, I think.

Kelly

Thanks to the Wellington crew

JulianD's picture

I would like to thank the Wellington folk who came to the screening of 300 last week. It was a thrill to see a movie promoting some of the ideals we advocate. I am surprised that some people are critical of the 300. But to watch a movie like this in today's context was indeed refreshing, and I suspect it will be many years before a comparable movie comes along. That weekend I watched a documentary of speeches by President Reagon, and although one can point to his inconsistencies and advocacy of statist policies, it did allow me to imagine what is possible and the way things should be. I thought that was the purpose of art. 300 also provided me this pleasure for all 116 minutes. Thanks Joe for your excellent review.

Julian

Right,

Richard Wiig's picture

it doesn't mean a vote for beating Islamofascists. However, it does equal a vote for resisting them, as flawed as the resistance is, and it equals a vote, if not for naming them outright, at least for recognition of them for the threat that they are. That cannot be said for the left. The left will open the doors and welcome them in like brothers, while at the same time starting an education campaign to convince everyone that they are brothers. If that's what you want, then vote for the left.

Richard

James S. Valliant's picture

A vote for Republicans hasn't meant a vote for beating Islamo-fascists (or even naming them thus) or (still less) capitalism, either -- just a vote for slightly less socialism, right?

John

James S. Valliant's picture

I know that it's not fair to pose a rhetorical question to someone's last post, but:

Isn't it interesting that the Left needs a "new" secular religion? What was wrong with the old one?

Body counts are an interesting thing. Religion and the Greens both already have 'em. While the Greens have racked up quite a big number with malaria and the like, the religious types still have the biggest numbers, so far, even if we just count the last century.

My last post on this thread

John Armaos's picture

Since we have veered off topic to the original post (sorry Joe), this will be my final post on this thread.

James you said "Let me suggest that how and why one holds an irrational belief makes all the difference in the world. It's the difference between the honestly mistaken and the dishonestly mystical. Our hopes of convincing the first are much better than those of convincing the latter."

Is there really an epistemological difference between different "irrational" beliefs? I would've thought "irrational" would convey the necessary qualification that it is something based not on reason but instead dogma. I don't know how someone basing their belief on something that is not based on reason would be easier to convince? I'm also not convinced greens are "honestly mistaken" whereas religionists are "dishonestly mistaken"? Most environmentalists having been subjected to scientific dissent regarding their environmental beliefs automatically reject such a dissenting scientist as being "bought off by the oil companies". Picking up on what Richard said, Communism, a very secular belief regarded to be based on "science", has been responsible for killing 100 million people in the 20th century alone. Environmentalism, like Communism, is the new secular religion. It is already responsible for half this amount dead in the 20th century alone. And I'm underestimating that figure, I'm only taking into consideration the banning of DDT.

Now, considering the very real death toll we have seen with Environmentalism, and there's no evidence the greens will be convinced otherwise anytime soon, how many more deaths will be attributed from further stifling of the economy? Will restricting C02 emissions even further not result in artificially high fuel costs? Resulting in higher food prices? How many people will die from say a 10% increase in food? Most of the third world depends on American food. Will 4 million dead from a 10% increase be tolerable? What of the increased poverty in America? What of the deletirious effects on the economy? It is truly an anti-life idealogy that has a tremendous amount of death already attached to it. Environmenatalist's also want to ban genetically modified crops and advocate organic pesticide free farming, an extremely expensive form of farming with highly carcinogenic crops.

And we haven't even touched the Democrat's appalling treasonous efforts to stop the war in Iraq and appease terrorist regimes.

I'm sorry but I don't find abortion, right to die, and the cessation of government funded stem cell research (let's make that clear, most Republicans are for stem cell research anyways and those against advocate cutting government funding, which is a good idea considering any government funding into a scientific endeavor yields terrible results) all that much to be concerned about when compared to pacifist, spineless, terrorist-appeasing Democrats that want to destroy our economy completely.

Abortion, right to die, banning gay marriage, or stoping government funding of science, will not result in tens of millions dead, and tens of millions more needlessly impoverished from the environmentalist crusade.

James

Richard Wiig's picture

You said: "Environmentalism is, for many on the Left, more of a pseudo-scientific affair than a religious one."

Perhaps so, but it's completely irrelevant. In the days when communism overan much of the world, leading to the murder of millions, you wouldn't have found a follower that would have said they were following a religious movement with a mystic/altruist base. They'd have told you it's all scientific.

"Most moderate Republicans I know describe themselves as "strong environmentalists," as do many Left "science" types. For the committed, and at its roots, it is a religious matter -- but not for most of its rank-and-file suckers -- so far, at least."

They can paint themselves in whatever way they want, but it's the nature of what they support that matters, and no amount of color splashing will change it. You seem to consider the splashing of colors to be more important? Perhaps I'm overlooking something.

"I find it curious that you give Republicans no greater blame on issues like abortion, stem-cell research, right-to-die, etc. -- despite this stuff being their almost exclusive territory -- while, at the same time, giving them absolutely no blame for environmentalism -- for which they are in many cases leading the charge."

I don't know that they are leading the charge. They are surely following, chasing the green liberal vote? I don't excuse the Republicans on any of the issues above. I just don't agree with you that the left is disintegrating, or that Islam is as minor a threat as you paint it, and I think focusing on the "secular" aspect (a color splash) of the left, as if that somehow works in their favour, is a mistake.

"Ya know, there is another "religious" ideology out there apart from environmentalism -- and one that minces no words about it being "religious."

Curious indeed."

Sure, they don't hide the fact that they're religious. I consider that a good thing, because you know exactly what they stand for and what they want. The left, on the other hand, hide the fact that they are equally religious, and hide what they stand for very well. A vote for the left is not a vote for less religion and more secularism, I believe it is a vote for more.

John

James S. Valliant's picture

Let me suggest that how and why one holds an irrational belief makes all the difference in the world. It's the difference between the honestly mistaken and the dishonestly mystical. Our hopes of convincing the first are much better than those of convincing the latter.

James

John Armaos's picture

James, I'm sorry I just don't understand why you make a distinction between an irrational belief in a pseudoscience and an irrational belief in a supernatural entity? It doesn't matter one whit if someone thinks he's following a scientific authority when one would ignore scientific scrutiny, dismiss any evidence that contradicts their belief, and continues believing their pseudoscience dogma.

James: "Do we look like

JoeM's picture

James: "Do we look like "Spartans" in the face of today's actual Persians -- or cowering slaves eager to be bought and sold?"

See my latest blog on the "Fatwa."

Joe

James S. Valliant's picture

If only the Republicans would go as far as Persia...

Isn't it a question of what it takes to defend civilization in this case -- and of what being "bought off by the Persians" actually consists? Do we look like "Spartans" in the face of today's actual Persians -- or cowering slaves eager to be bought and sold?

John

James S. Valliant's picture

Relying on what one thinks is a legitimate "scientific" authority is altogether different from overt dogmatism. Most of those taken in by the Greens fall into the first category, so far.

What's the difference?

John Armaos's picture

Richard wrote: "Environmentalism is, for many on the Left, more of a pseudo-scientific affair than a religious one."

They are conceptually the same. It's called dogma. So the question is which is worse? It would also be absurd to think there is no distinction between the Republicans and the Democrats on the issue of environmentalism, which environmentalism today is far more debilitating to man's freedom than any trivial concerns over a theocracy from the Republicans. The right to die? Abortion? These matters affect a tiny minority of the populace. Although I do agree these incursions even to a small minority are intolerable, environmentalism has been credited for banning a safe pesticide (DDT) and has as a result killed 50 million people in the 20th century alone. Environmentalism has also increased cancer rates by advocating the abolition of artificial pesticides to which crops have developed more cancerous natural pesticides in there place. (Go figure that organic food is more cancerous and deadlier than genetically modified food) Environmentalism affects everyone, making homes skyrocket in cost due to unavailable land from wetlands issues, and stifling the economy in general.

I'm sorry but the Hsiekovian's are not looking at this rationally.

300 and the Fatwa Connection

JoeM's picture

Hmmm...it just dawned on me today, thanks to Phil's reference to Diana's review, the connection between the Fatwa issue and the particular criticism of 300 in her review, namely the issue of Leonidas and the Elders. Peikoff, Diana, et. al condemn the support of the Republicans for fear of the "imminent theocracy," as we know. So it follows that Diana would take issue with Leonidas for even consulting with the Elders in the movie concerning the war, even if he ultimately circumvented their decree. Ah, you might say, but the Elders DIDN'T want to go to war. (They were paid off by the Persians, I believe.) You might say the Republicans, despite the mysticism, went off to Persia as well, to which the "Hsiekovians" would say that, by fighting a limited war with the military's hand's tied, and bowing to multi-cultural pressures, are also "paid off" by the Persians.

Ominous Paralles, indeed. Eye

Richard

James S. Valliant's picture

Environmentalism is, for many on the Left, more of a pseudo-scientific affair than a religious one. Most moderate Republicans I know describe themselves as "strong environmentalists," as do many Left "science" types. For the committed, and at its roots, it is a religious matter -- but not for most of its rank-and-file suckers -- so far, at least.

I find it curious that you give Republicans no greater blame on issues like abortion, stem-cell research, right-to-die, etc. -- despite this stuff being their almost exclusive territory -- while, at the same time, giving them absolutely no blame for environmentalism -- for which they are in many cases leading the charge.

Ya know, there is another "religious" ideology out there apart from environmentalism -- and one that minces no words about it being "religious."

Curious indeed.

I'd hardly call them more secular.

Richard Wiig's picture

"the Left has been disintegrating -- in almost every sense -- for decades. And they remain notably more secular."

Environmentalism is pretty much a religious affair, and they, the left, are clearly aligning themselves with Islam against their common enemy - freedom and capitalism. I don't know how that can amount to being "more secular".

> Phil is trying to make too

PhilipC's picture

> Phil is trying to make too much stew out of one onion. [Robert W]

Actually, I think there was some meat and potatoes in there too.

Pretty Childish

James S. Valliant's picture

One can enjoy the film, vote Republican -- and still get sick at ugly and empty bile! Is there really any great mystery about the absence of Diana or Fred or any of the fine folks from ARI? I hate to say it, but the only "poison" in this instance was served up by the host.

Which reminds me, Linz: 1. The threat of (more) religiously motivated legal oppression in the U.S. is a very real one (in our lifetimes). 2. The Republicans are leading the charge for such "reforms," while the Democrats are merely me-tooing the issue. If one believes that the threat from the Religious Right is as serious as the threat socialists (at least once) represented, the correct response would, of course, be a systematic opposition to Republicans. Certainly, the "differences" between the parties in this "war on terrorism" (?!) are not a sufficient reason to vote Republican (as I have observed on many other occasions at this site). 4. Anyone who believed all this and who did not follow Peikoff's voting advice would, of course, be a stinking hypocrite (and demonstrably ignorant of Objectivism). Finally, and obviously, all this "lunacy" does not need to "come from Peikoff" in order to be reasonably maintained.

Agree with them or not, Linz, your apologies are long overdue.

OK Kelly,

Robert's picture

I agree, you're utterly correct. I withdraw the comment.

Diana would have to be a bimbette to not appreciate the deeper aspects of 300. I know that she isn't a bimbette, far from it.

But that leaves Phil's explaination for Diana's mistake unanswered. You see, it sounded to me like Phil is trying to make too much stew out of one onion. But as I recall, Phil likes to stew over Diana so that probably has something to do with it.

Women and 300

User hidden's picture

Robert, I hope you were kidding! What could hold a woman's attention better than heroism, bravery, glory, tragedy, victory, people putting values into action against great odds, rational words that we hardly ever hear spoken in today's world, evil being destroyed, deep love, friendships based on shared values, and as you said, beautiful men (and women) to look at? Women are rational creatures too, and we love freedom and heroicism as much as men. If your average woman (and I assume you meant Objectivists too since you were speaking of Diana) is bored during 300, she needs to be kicked to the curb.

Kelly

300

Olivia's picture

As far as film making goes I prefer them to be esthetically more realistic than this film was, but it fully concretized the theme it set out to - "where numbers count for nothing."

Ahem...

Robert's picture

"She's not actually -seeing the movie- or reality when she does this. She's seeing words floating away from their actual referents in reality."

"...As if she were a psychological expert and could read his mind..."

Carefull Phil, you're sounding like a sooty pot here.

Diana may indeed be guilty of equivocation as you say or she may just be flat out mistaken. I wouldnt be surprised if she didn't watch the movie that closely. Aside from the gratuatous half naked men-shots, there isn't a hell of a lot about 300 that would hold the average lady's attention for all 117 minutes.

Grotesque Rationalism

PhilipC's picture

> "First, Leonidas was supposed to be uncompromising..."Yet he compromised from the very start, not just by submitting to the mystical demands of the Ephors, but then by circumventing their demands without directly challenging them." [Diana]
> "The greatest army the world had ever seen was -- at that very moment -- marching on those Greek City States still resisting the Persian Empire and Diana criticises this fictional Leonidas for deciding not to waste any more time and act decisively to stop them" [Robert W]

Robert correctly points out the -practical- real world irrationality of what Diana was suggesting as a 'contradiction'.

But what I want to discuss is the extreme rationalism of her argument. It is all a semantic argument. It all hangs on what the word 'compromise' means. She uses it as a floating concept, independent of the life and death nature of the situation, divorced from the actual events taking place in reality.

Even worse, she is equivocating, relying on two entirely different meanings of the word 'compromise':

1. The Objectivist sense in which it is a major ethical failing, to betray one's -moral- principles (Howard Roark building the skyscraper the bank wanted instead of sticking to his own artistic integrity.)

2. And the other sense, the one which actually applies to Leonidas's actions: "something that somebody accepts because what was wanted is unattainable" [Encarta dictionary].

There is no breach of artistic integrity in going off to prevent a dictator from conquering and killing and enslaving you and your family and people.

If there were, the moral and the practical would be in conflict. What Diana is doing here is *abandoning Objectivism* on this issue and advocating a *Christian ethics of sacrifice* for the sake of not 'compromising'.

I will be dead and my people have to bow down to Persia or be dead. But, gee, I didn't "compromise".

Rationalism is the mistake of taking concepts and constructing floating castles in the air with them, shifting their meanings, connecting them to -each other- and not back to concrete events in reality. Or in this case, allowing their meanings to float and shift so that you are treating two different concretizations of the word as if they meant the same thing. It is anti-inductive, anti-empirical. A "word game".

She's not actually -seeing the movie- or reality when she does this. She's seeing words floating away from their actual referents in reality.

......

Aside: Peikoff was correct in his Understanding Objectivism course and it has been my experience as well having tried to beat common sense into many of them that the people who are the -worst- rationalists and the worst at applying Objectivist jargon *in context* are philosophy graduate students.

What is so upsetting is that I've seen DMBH do this many times before:

--The voting for Democrats across the board thing as an intrinsic good, dropping the context of what Republicans actually believe as 'concrete bound'.
--Calling Bush not stupid or mistaken but "evil". As if she were a psychological expert and could read his mind and dropping all issues of context of knowledge or possibility of innocent error as 'concrete bound'.

She is *poison to Objectivism*, which is above all about being connected to this earth, to this reality in an Aristotelian (not a Platonist) way.

She is one of the worst rationalists or Platonists I've seen in about ten years. I just wish she would either grow up intellectually real fast. Or go find a religion and leave Objectivism alone.

Compromise?

Robert's picture

"First, Leonidas was supposed to be uncompromising...

"Yet he compromised from the very start, not just by submitting to the mystical demands of the Ephors, but then by circumventing their demands without directly challenging them."

This is such bullshit.

In this movie the options are clear:

Under the Persian yoke there would be no chance of challenging the mystical malaise afflicting Sparta. The Persians were the more pressing problem, deal with them first or everything Sparta is and could be would be lost.

The greatest army the world had ever seen was -- at that very moment -- marching on those Greek City States still resisting the Persian Empire and Diana criticises this fictional Leonidas for deciding not to waste any more time and act decisively to stop them??!??

What the fuck was he supposed to do? Sit around the debating chamber attempting to debunk the deterministic premises behind the primacy of the Oracle at Delphi while the Persians sacked Sparta unopposed? Jesus H. Christ!

This fictional Leonidas did all he could to rally his nation to the cause in the time available, and when he failed, he took those men he could and opposed the Persians. And for this 'crime of compromise' his character in this stylised play is criticised? Context dropping anyone?

Objectivists are often heard to quote Winston Churchill. I wonder if those who do understand the lesson in his often issued order: "Action THIS DAY!" And I believe that "He who hesitates is lost" was another favourite of Churchill's.

Diana appears to be advocating that Leonidas should ignore the prowling lion until he's successfully chased down and slapped the annoying mosquito.

To live and die in U.S.A

JoeM's picture

"The movie was not about Sparta. It was about the heroic spirit of human beings to fight and even die for their values."

Shine on, Kelly.

Speaking of dying for values, I knew it was only a matter of time before I saw an Objectivist critic (on another board) bring up the issue of martyrdom, as if any support of the movie requires one to rush out in a suicidal fashion. Talk about concrete-bound. I should probably go blow up a few housing projects as well?

No, concrete-bound critic. The call is not to die for freedom. It's to fight for freedom, and not to die, but to WIN, even at the risk of death. Live free or die.

Or would you rather have us "Better Red than Dead?"

Also, so what if Sparta

User hidden's picture

Also, so what if Sparta didn't have perfect freedom? Umm, no one else did either. Athens and Thomas Jefferson had slaves. Do they suck too? It really bugs me when people judge the people and cultures of the past as bad because they didn't think like we do. We have had Ayn Rand; Leonidas did not. It took her to teach me about what freedom really is, and I don't think I should damn the Spartans for not figuring it out either. We can celebrate Aristotle's advances in spite of some hideous views about slavery, women, and intrincism. We can celebrate Aquinas despite his religion. Why can't we celebrate the great things about Sparta as well, without throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

But, I will say again. The movie was not about Sparta. It was about the heroic spirit of human beings to fight and even die for their values.

Kelly

Ive just seen 300 today and

michael fasher's picture

Ive just seen 300 today and thought it was briliant.The film like any art work is a selective portrail of reality according to the values of the artist so the Spartans were a romantisized representation of the virtues of Greek culture.That true virtues are shown as virtues and vices as vices is the whole point of what great art is all about seperating the two out and distilling to purity of the great virtues and actions rather than a muddy mixture of vices and virtues in flawed naturelistic heroes.

"Stanton" ...

Lindsay Perigo's picture

... is blocked. He's appeared now as "Guy Stanton," "xxxxx" and "Stanton." No photo. No access.

John

JoeM's picture

I wouldn't get too hopeful that "Stanton" will be open to discussion; he's obviously got an agenda in his trolling. That said, I've enjoyed your defense of the movie both here and on RoR, especially against the Nazi comparisons.

"Hsiekovian"

Lindsay Perigo's picture

From Linzisms:

Hsiekovian = A subscriber to the batty view promulgated by Leonard Peikoff, supported by Diana Hsieh, that 1) should the Republicans remain politically dominant they will establish a fundamentalist Christian theocracy in America "within our lifetime"; 2) the only way to avert this threat is to vote Democrat across the board; 3) anyone who doesn't get this is deficient in his understanding of Objectivism and the role of philosophy in history; 4) anyone who gets it and doesn't vote Dem across the board (or who abstains from voting altogether) is acting immorally in that instance. When it's charitably posited that they are endorsing this lunacy only because it emanates from Peikoff, since no sensible person could possibly subscribe to it independently, Hsiekovians tend to throw hissy fits and flounce off. (Note—spelling with extra 'h'—Hsiehkovian—optional.)

Stanton wrote:

John Armaos's picture

Stanton wrote:

"All for the cause of floating abstractions."

No they weren't. You just want to evade the points I made in my post that clearly demonstrate there was a clear concretization of differences between Spartan society and Persian society made in the movie. I notice you conveniently ignored them.

EDIT: Just wondering what Hsiekovian means? I'm relatively new to these forums so forgive my ignorance.

Saw the movie last night

Kasper's picture

I don’t think he was compromising at all. The King was loyal to his own country, Sparta and the values of Freedom, Glory and Honour. Not just the values that objectivists find virtuous but the culture of Sparta itself. Meaning he followed procedure but then also acted as a leader and went ahead despite the prophecies of those priests. The film was fantastic and I’m glad I saw it at a young when cynicism hasn’t got the better part of me. As was said previously, the film did not apologize for itself, it was consistent, driven and romantically heroic. Such purity is rarely seen on screen these days. Even James Bond was a clumsy dork in his role in the latest ‘Casino Royale’.

Oh dear. Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear!

Lindsay Perigo's picture

The person who votes Dem-scum across the board is criticising Leonidas for "compromising"?

I haven't read Diana's review, but could probably write it myself if I chose to go into that rationalist literalist mode. As with Bush, who's damned to Hell for not being Galt, it seems 300 must be damned to Hell for not being Atlas. And Fahrenheit 9/11 eulogised at the same time.

Hmmmm. I wonder if those Hsiekovians who love Ridley Scott's movies will now denounce him?!

Phil, you said it perfectly.

Linz

When might we expect the belated denunciation of Titanic I wonder? Didn't the Pope excoriate that one as well?

Diana's Review

JoeM's picture

Phil, I don't think Diana's review was "immature"... Her primary criticisms were, like Stanton's, concerned with "floating abstractions." But unlike Stanton's trolling, Diana did give concrete examples, such as:

"First, Leonidas was supposed to be uncompromising. He wasn't swayed by the appeals of Xerxes (and the deformed Ephialtes) to be reasonable by submitting to Persian rule. Yet he compromised from the very start, not just by submitting to the mystical demands of the Ephors, but then by circumventing their demands without directly challenging them. The fact that he did so begrudgingly, as a necessity of Spartan political life, shows him to be open to compromise in the name of necessity. So why not compromise with the Persians too? Just because, I guess."

Far from immature, it shows an active mind at work. I don't doubt that there are things about the details that could have been better logically on its own terms, and I'm sure the background did present an obstacle in doing so. Although I LOVE the style, I don't pretend the writing is ATLAS SHRUGGED.

However, unlike Diana, I don't agree that the "better elements" are "innessential," l, and I take the opposite of her stance, because, to paraphrase her, I've already seen much criticism for the movie, including from Objectivists." Without downplaying the importance of HOW something is said, in this case, I'd say 300 is much more about WHAT is being said. The essential of the movie is, "how far are you willing to go to create and defend your ideal?"

For her full review, go to http://www.dianahsieh.com/blog...

So Many Rosary Beads

Stanton's picture

PC: “Their fierceness. Their uncompromisingness. Their fortitude. The storm and thunder of battle. The titanic struggle. The blood and dust and fierce clashes. The magnitude of the almost impossible, foolhardy seeming task. The visceral sense of an army so mighty their arrows would darken the sun.”

All for the cause of floating abstractions. (See below.)

PC: “Their unwillingness to have their persons or their society bow down to accept the yoke of conquest.”

M: "A truly inspiring call to arms, and a fierce, uncompromising cry in defence of reason and freedom."

There wasn’t any reason or freedom in this presentation of Spartan life. As dramatized in the film, their society was communal, sadistic, and militaristic. Sure it presented women who could talk out loud, but that didn’t change the fact that they had no say in the upbringing of their children. An obvious contraction between freedom to talk and freedom to do, i.e. a floating abstraction. Or, have you forgotten that the Queen had to fuck her way to talk to the assembly? So much for the one solid value that Leonidas was fighting for.

LP: “The concept of honour is alien to them [the world at large]; heroically pulling together for a cause is unimaginable to them.”

What is the point of honoring a sadistic state? The Spartan society, in this film and in history, was not defending the values that we know of as ancient Greece; those were Athenian.

I think this film touches a cord in those that feel rage and know/feel they are powerless to affect change. Hence, they hold on to these empty abstractions about freedom; desperately polishing them like so many rosary beads.

Guy

Nitpicking and Tunnel Vision about "300"

PhilipC's picture

People who criticize "300" for minor flaws or overlooking of points from history miss the point of a romantic, idealistic, highly stylized 'graphic novel' movie. The purpose of the movie was to portray the -spirit- of the brave defenders of the pass at Thermopylae.

Their fierceness.

Their uncompromisingness.

Their fortitude.

The storm and thunder of battle.

The titanic struggle.

The blood and dust and fierce clashes.

The magnitude of the almost impossible, foolhardy seeming task.

The visceral sense of an army so mighty their arrows would darken the sun.

Their unwillingness to have their persons or their society bow down to accept the yoke of conquest.

Their well-earned, magnificent and glowing pride in what they were doing (as captured best by the wonderful, full-throated, majestic portrayal of the great Leonidas).

This is not supposed to be a recital of Herodotus. it's a freakin' MOVIE!!!

It -takes off- from history and departs from it in some minor details. It's romanticism like the Odyssey, not naturalism or the actual event-by-event report of the Trojan War by an embedded journalist. And the style of a graphic novel in a movie. (Whether I like that style more or less than a more realistic one is something I submerge when I try to appreciate the movie for what it was, not try to too closely nitpick frame by frame as if I were a director.)

All issues about the exact nature of Spartan society (as nitpicked by the more than usually immature and tone-deaf Diana MBH on her blog in her disgustingly stupid naturalism-saturated review and moralistic denunciation of the film) or the color tinting of the frames (talk about minutiae!) or the amount of gore are thunderingly and obtusely irrelevant in the face of the *titanic and uplifting HEROISM* of this movie.

is it necessary to remind people that what is most desperately missing in our culture is the sight of a hero?

It would be like reading Cyrano and complaining that the dialogue was stilted and that destroyed the play for you.

Or seeing Michelangelo's David and saying his fingernails were too large or you would have chosen a different color of marble.

Or listening to a beautiful piece of music and letting it be destroyed for you by saying it was a couple minutes too long.

Jesus H. Fucking Christ.

It's the **Sense of Life**, Stupid!!

The final line:

Mitch's picture

"Today, we rescue the world from mysticism and tyranny!"

A truly inspiring call to arms, and a fierce, uncompromising cry in defence of reason and freedom. This unapologetic, take-no-prisoners dismissal of those who initiated force and threatened Spartan freedom should be a lesson to our spineless leaders of today.

If you call yourself an Objectivist, don’t compromise and vote democrat, BE one of the 300 and free the world of the irrational! This movie IS a rallying call. Can you hear it?

A Command to Rise

Lindsay Perigo's picture

Well, I got to see it last night with a bunch of other Objectivists, and I appreciate Joe's review all the more for having seen it. It's wonderful. I scratched my head in blissful disbelief that some of the lines could come from a contemporary cinema screen. It should be a rallying call for Objectivists, and all Americans, not to mention all of us the world over who enjoy the fruits of reason. But Objectivists in particular. And there's the rub. Generalising now, Objectivists as much as the rest of the population are soft, flaccid, complacent, smug, corrupted by pomo-wankerism. They equate indulgent strutting with individualism. The concept of honour is alien to them; heroically pulling together for a cause is unimaginable to them. Encountering warriors, they pull them down with the avidness of the most zealous tall poppy-cutter. Solidarity is dismissed as collectivism, copping a spear for a friend as altruism. Too many Objectivists, as much as libertarians and Republicans, are Arcadians. Does Objectivism need a good injection of Spartanism? I believe so.

Linz

"Those are universal

John Armaos's picture

"Those are universal attributes of any good solider, whether American or Nazi, they do not tell you wither their cause is just. Would you appreciate a film praising the “courage, bravery, and honor” of a Nazi?"

Why would I? I know what the Nazis did. So are you comparing Ancient Greece to Hitler's Nazi Germany? For shame.

"The movie, cheaply, took for granted the history of the Greek underdog–so 90% of their work is done for them"

Ahh, so you regard this as "cheap". Whatever the hell "cheap" means. I didn't know people weren't aware Greece was the birthplace of western civilization? Of course the film did conretize the evil ideals espoused by many collectivist/statists/mystics. The Persians held slaves whereas King Leonidas assembled a volunteer army, King Xerxes was hedonisic and narcissistic, Persia intitiated force, King Leonidas despised the Ephors and the old superstitions of Sparta, the council of elders resembled a parliament or legislature which the King had to answer to (a seperation of governmental powers) as opposed to the outright tyranny of Xerxes, they indicated gender equality (Spartan women unlike Persian women were allowed to speak) but none of that to you apparently is concretization? So your contention with the film only is that it did not concretize the good abstract ideals of freedom and liberty (at least to not a thorough level as an Ayn Rand novel) but you decide to completely ignore every other abstraction that was concretized.

But hey, it's certainly your prerrogative that you didn't like the film. But it's absurd to dismiss the entire film as an expression of "impotent rage".

It would be also equally absurd to expect such a deep and thorough level of concretization of ideas from a two hour action movie. At least the film was not morally relativistic and did have some concretizations of some ideas, both good and evil.

Yes, and the Spartans were

JoeM's picture

Yes, and the Spartans were willing to pay the cost, that's why it was no object, no obstacle. Similar to the way John Galt was willing to die before being forced to live against his own mind. He wouldn't sell out for the proverbial "30 pieces of silver."

"Price no object." Every

Guy Stanton's picture

"Price no object."

Every object has a cost.

"So was freedom and liberty

Guy Stanton's picture

"So was freedom and liberty concretized in the movie? Perhaps no."

Good. My point.

"Was courage, bravery, and honor conretized? It most certainly was."

Those are universal attributes of any good solider, whether American or Nazi, they do not tell you wither their cause is just. Would you appreciate a film praising the “courage, bravery, and honor” of a Nazi? The movie as a movie, did not concretize any value worth fighting for. The movie, cheaply, took for granted the history of the Greek underdog–so 90% of their work is done for them, and supported by people such as yourself.

I, I just watched the film and responded to what they gave me to experience.

On with the show

JoeM's picture

The "show" was the dedication to those values. How one does not compromise one's values. "Price no object."

Of course Mr. Stanton, it is

John Armaos's picture

Of course Mr. Stanton, it is well established historical fact Ancient Greece was the birthplace of liberty and reason. Also, many historians regard the Battle of Thermopylae and the Persian Wars as a pivotoal point in history that spring boarded Greece and thereby subsequently the rest of Europe into a new age of reason. If those 300 Spartans had not defended Sparta to the death (defending what you value was certainly concretized quite well and not the least bit a floating abstraction) it may not have inspired the rest of Sparta and the rest of the Greek city-states to fight for what they believed in. These 300 Spartan inspired the rest to fight. Without them, would there have been a Renaissance? Would there have been an Age of Reason?

So was freedom and liberty concretized in the movie? Perhaps no. Was courage, bravery, and honor conretized? It most certainly was.

And I don't understand what you mean by "impotent rage"? Would you have preferred these professional Spartan soldiers offer the Persians teas and crumpets? Maybe showing strength and bravery in a time of war to you is impotent rage? I'm sure the United State Marine Corps would chew you up and spit you back out. What would you do in the heat of battle? Cower in the corner and cry at all the macho rage going on around you?

While the shouts for freedom

Guy Stanton's picture

"While the shouts for freedom and reason were simplistic, keep in mind the purpose of art is not to teach, but show."

My point exactly. It didn't "show" what you wrote about.

Photo please Guy

Lindsay Perigo's picture

If you're intending to stick around. Newbies have a two week grace period.

Guy

JoeM's picture

While the shouts for freedom and reason were simplistic, keep in mind the purpose of art is not to teach, but show. I understand the concern over "floating abstractions," but if one understands and is committed to those concepts in real life, it's perfectly fine to appreciate a simplistic representation of them in a movie. But I think, for those with an understanding already, the value of the movie is in the dedication to those values. "Price no Object."

The pathetic struggle of

Guy Stanton's picture

The pathetic struggle of stupid men in leather thongs who fight for floating abstractions. Freedom, independence, rule of law weren’t dramatized, while a their culture of sadism, mysticism, and corruption were. The lighting, the setting, the make up, landscape, buildings, and atmosphere were monotonously colored dirty brown throughout the entire film. The only value dramatized was the lovemaking between the King and Queen. She gave away her honor, which we could only kindly understand of the most retarded of people.

The psychological theme was impotent rage. Perhaps, an appropriate theme for virtual Objectivists?

Definitely Friday now ...

Lindsay Perigo's picture

Stay tuned for details.

Friday

Olivia's picture

would suit me if it were a later viewing, say 8ish or 9ish in the evening. I can't wait to see this film - excited already. Smiling

Claudia

Lindsay Perigo's picture

Check your SOLO Mail. Smiling

I'm in Wellington this

Olivia's picture

I'm in Wellington this weekend - arriving Friday. Would be keen to come along to see 300, though Saturday would be better. Will try to bring some of Glenn's T-shirts with me, if they're done on time. Linz, Julian or Mitch, could you send me a private email with your cell phone number(Drunk?

I'll be there...

Mitch's picture

with bells on Smiling

Definitely a starter!

Lindsay Perigo's picture

Very good idea. Carry on Hoolian! Smiling

Wellington Soloists

JulianD's picture

I propose that on 5 April (or the 6th depending on numbers) when this film is released in NZ that we meet and see this film. I am in Wellington that day so if anyone wants to join me then let me know. I suspect Linz you will be a starter.

Julian

Another Take

James S. Valliant's picture

Here's a conservative's take on the film and Leftist hatred for it.

Finally saw it

Landon Erp's picture

I'm with Bob, excellent review of an excellent film. It's very rare that I find something that inspires me as much as this film did. Shot after beautiful shot, line after beautiful line the film hit me all at once as a tribute to everything that is great in human society and in the human spirit.

Also I think there was something telling in a line Xerxes says "Leonidas is cruel, he asks you to stand. I am kind. I only ask that you kneel."

---Landon

Inking is sexy.

http://www.angelfire.com/comics/wickedlakes

Returning to Leonidas

F L Light's picture

Leonidas in doubly leonine
Devotion to defense would not repine.

http://theeleutherian.blogspot...

Pomo. Wanker.

Jameson's picture

... Newsboy is the architype.

Bring back "Open Pulpit" with Pope Perigo I say!

Newsboy

Ross Elliot's picture

"Yet flibbertgibbity fops like Newsboy whatever his name is and that ilk get guys like Bob Jones on for interviews - because Bob has outrageous opinions and they find that edgy, cool and thrilling."

Newsboy's political views are pretty obvious. And he revels in mocking, albeit subtly, the "right". In fact, he's just a fresh-faced, faux-radical reincarnation of the tired old liberals of the 60s like Helen Clark and her ilk.

Re the production techniques

Ross Elliot's picture

From the 300 Wikipedia article:

"Employing the digital backlot technique, Snyder shot at the now-defunct Icestorm Studios in Montreal using bluescreens. Butler said that while he didn't feel constrained by Snyder's direction, fidelity to the comic imposed certain limitations on his performance. Wenham said there were times when Snyder wanted to precisely capture iconic moments from the comic book, and other times when he gave actors freedom "to explore within the world and the confines that had been set". Headey said of her experience with the bluescreens, "It's very odd, and emotionally, there's nothing to connect to apart from another actor." Only one scene, in which horses travel across the countryside, was shot outdoors."

Good story or not, I really do have a problem with the massive use of digital imagery as a substitute for actual cinematography. I mean, if you want a stage play, have a stage play. If you want a completely virtual world, make something animated. But if you're making a film, film *something*.

The film cost $60 million. Would it have been any more expensive using real locations with digital enhancement where necessary?

Sticks and ends. :-)

Lindsay Perigo's picture

Ah, Glenn, gotcha.

Shall we play the game again? (Evil cackle.)

Wrong stick. Wrong End.

Jameson's picture

Though I can see how you'd take it that way...

I mean my computer is displaying this: instead of the new... very hearty, benevolent and clean cut Lindsay.

Until I saw Claudia's updated shot of you on her computer I thought you'd reverted back to your original...

Please, don't let me stop you pulling Phil's ample aerola. Smiling

Grimness Rules. Not OK.

Lindsay Perigo's picture

What happened to hearty-benevolent-man?

Pulling Mistress' ample tit. Smiley faces are really a waste of time, aren't they?

Awwww...

Jameson's picture

What happened to hearty-benevolent-man?

--edit--

Evidently my home computer loves Lindsay’s old photo so much it won’t give it up. Claudia’s computer has uploaded his new one but I’ve still got Placido Domperigo.

Keep up, Phyllis!

Lindsay Perigo's picture

Last to get it as always. Smiling

ok I see it now.

PhilipC's picture

ok I see it now. working-class chipmunk.

What new photo? I don't see

PhilipC's picture

What new photo? I don't see one...I see the same bowtied chipmunk as usual..

Why thank you Claudia! :-)

Lindsay Perigo's picture

I love your new photo Linz ... very hearty, benevolent and clean cut.

I figured the bow-tie one, taken in 1999, was getting so old (young) it amounted to faking reality. Smiling

You're right...

Jameson's picture

what about a Hoplite baseball cap?

Hoplite helmet

Robert's picture

Considering the hoplite helmet covered 99% of the wearer's face, just what are you trying to imply? Laughing out loud

I concur Claudia...

Jameson's picture

all that's missing from Lindsay's new photo is a Hoplite helmet and sword!

Same types as in advertising.

Olivia's picture

Yet flibbertgibbity fops like Newsboy whatever his name is and that ilk get guys like Bob Jones on for interviews - because Bob has outrageous opinions and they find that edgy, cool and thrilling.

However, what you're saying is that its the network bigwigs who don't want the boat rocked - but surely they could be persuaded by the promise of good ratings? It's amazing how many people I meet who have heard you - just briefly - on the radio and admire what you say and think its high time that someone said it. Or have heard you and disagree with what you say, but would like to hear more anyway because there's something in it.

On another note, I love your new photo Linz ... very hearty, benevolent and clean cut.Smiling

The film "300" is being released here in the UK...

Marcus's picture

...on friday...and is advertised as being from the makers of "Sin City", based on another Frank Miller cartoon.

I must say that "Sin City" was about the sickest film I ever saw (Quentin Tarantino was a guest director of course) and I was close to leaving the cinema and emptying my stomach. I wrote a whole review about that on SOLO.

The UK reviewers are also not endearing because they are raving that "300" is just as good as "Sin City"! Anyway, I will probably not rush out to the cinema to watch this new incarnation (supposedly using the same special effects as "Sin City"), but will cautiously wait until it is played on TV to see what all the fuss is about.

Claudia

Lindsay Perigo's picture

I've learned not to assume anything. I think the tides are turning and people are wanting to see a more kick-ass approach - sure, not your Aunty Beryls and Uncle Bobs, but the X-gens, saturated in cynical slobbery a la Mikey Havoc that it is, are ripe for a wake up call of Lindsay's political calibre. Anyway, he may not even be remotely interested... are you Linz?

Of course I'd be interested. Unfortunately it's not just a matter of my clicking my fingers & the TV channels standing to attention. The industry is dominated by cowardly PC types who find my views anathema. It's a wonder I get even the small amount of radio work that I do. There's no question that a programme such as you mention would rate its socks off, but the moguls would rather pass the opportunity up than rock the PC boat.

Linz

Actually Joe

Olivia's picture

the beauty of your post is that you didn't give too much away at all, but still managed to convey the real guts of the film. No easy feat!

Claudia

JoeM's picture

Thanks, Claudia. I tried not to give too much away, but probably gave away more than I should have without a spoiler alert; I originally didn't realize that it didn't open til later in NZ.

Ross

Olivia's picture

I've learned not to assume anything. I think the tides are turning and people are wanting to see a more kick-ass approach - sure, not your Aunty Beryls and Uncle Bobs, but the X-gens, saturated in cynical slobbery a la Mikey Havoc that it is, are ripe for a wake up call of Lindsay's political calibre. Anyway, he may not even be remotely interested... are you Linz? Smiling

Joe - I'm sorry for jumping in on your thread below and not mentioning what a brilliant post it is. Like Jameson I was avoiding reading its entirety as I don't want to spoil the surprise of 300. But to hell with it. You've made me want to see it even more. I hear your passionate call to not compromise the ideal and I love you for it. Smiling

I particularly like the distinction you draw attention to between brawlers and warriors.

Heroes nonetheless...

Jameson's picture

In John Lewis’ review of Barry Strauss’ “The Battle of Salamis. The Naval Encounter That Saved Greece -- and Western Civilization” he concludes with this interesting point:

… But a criticism is in order: "The Battle of Salamis" has not demonstrated its subtitle, that it saved Western Civilization. Greek democracy was hardy, Strauss maintains, and had they lost, the Athenians might have gone to Italy, or even returned and driven the Persians back, even if they had not formed an imperial democracy. If this is so, how did the heroes of Salamis save the West? If the Athenians had maintained their independence and their rational self-government, then the essence of the West would have been preserved, not destroyed by a despot such as Xerxes. Although the Athenian democracy that followed was a target for the criticisms of Socrates, Plato and Aristotle, one would be hard pressed to make philosophy dependent upon these political developments. Had the Athenians fled to Italy, the seat of philosophy might have followed to their new oasis of freedom.

Well, Claudia...

Ross Elliot's picture

...we can only assume that Lindsay, or his agent, *has* proposed/pitched such a show to the networks, forcefully and relentlessly.

Don't you think?

Saw this...

Olivia's picture

...O'Reilly (or Cavuto) was interviewing the president of The Anally Retentive League of Iranian Idiots of America--or something like that--who said that 300 painted the Persians (=Iranians) in a bad light.

O'Reilly told him to get over it as it happened 2,500 years ago. Can anyone say "Mohammad cartoons"?

and immediately thought how much I'd love to see Linz with his own show on tv here. There are a lot of similarities between Linz and O'Reily... personality wise I mean. Smiling

An event to picket

JoeM's picture

Phil, we'll send WM as SOLO envoy to picket. Smiling

> The fact that an

PhilipC's picture

> The fact that an Objectivist hero is not looking for glory is no reason for others who recognise his heroism not to bestow it! Whatever happened to love of the good for being the good?

I want to thank the Academy...and I just have a few notes here in my pocket.........

Linz, I said OF COURSE WE

JoeM's picture

Linz, I said OF COURSE WE WANT TO REWARD THEM! That's why it's a catch 22. Smiling
Actually, maybe Catch-22 isn't the right idea...I'm thinking more like an O. Henry story.

Giuseppe's Catch 22

Lindsay Perigo's picture

The fact that an Objectivist hero is not looking for glory is no reason for others who recognise his heroism not to bestow it! Whatever happened to love of the good for being the good? Is that love supposed to be mute?! Smiling

There are way too many mean spirits in the Objectivist world who, contra Rand, can't bring themselves to proffer praise when it's due. Not here, I trust! Read your own article!!!! Smiling

Linz

"We owe them, big time." Too true...

Jameson's picture

Thanks Greeks.

Marcus ...

Lindsay Perigo's picture

What I am wondering is how you can directly claim that the Greeks created western civilisation. Surely after the Ancient Greeks were defeated themselves by the Romans and then others, it needed other philopshers in Western Europe to propogate and further develop their ideas in order to get Western Civilisation as we know it today?

You've answered yourself. Smiling

But Linz...

Marcus's picture

...you wouldn't dispute that Plato created Platonism or that Ascetism (as a philosophy) came to be hugely popular in Ancient Greece?

What I am wondering is how one can directly claim that the Greeks created western civilisation? Surely after the Ancient Greeks were defeated by the Romans and then others, it needed other philopshers in Western Europe to propogate and further develop their ideas in order to get Western Civilisation as we know it today?

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