Dress Down Friday


A perfect dress down Friday topic with something for the rest of the week thrown in as well. Personally I’m rather looking forward to seeing 300. It looks like fun and I don’t think it should be taken terribly seriously. Although clearly some people are.

Frank Miller the writer of the original graphic novel never made any great historical accuracy claims about his work, based on the battle of Thermopylae, which has been brought to the screen as a piece of bloody gore par excellence, according to some.

The critics, however, generally hate it and lots have people have got their knickers in a twist.

Former Guardian and now Standard reviewer Derek Malcolm thinks its right wing:

“You get the impression that not only does it come from a position near the extreme Right wing of the spectrum, but that its mixture of homophobia and macho posturing has a very odd smell about it.”

He wasn’t the only one the New York Post also wrote it off in a similar fashion.

Slate went so far as to say 300 was “a textbook example of how race-baiting fantasy and nationalist myth can serve as an incitement to total war”.

The Iranians really hate it, denouncing it as “cultural aggression” and an insult to Iranian culture, but what great timing from them? The 300 on the screens and British sailors abducted at gun point by Revolutionary Guards. There isn’t a PR firm in the world who can dig them out of that hole.

, Socialist Worker is very unhappy (the US lot). It describes the film as “a rank cesspool of racism, sexism, homophobia and freedom-loving pro-war propaganda”.

On the plus while critics have given it a kicking in Greece the punters love it.

As do the moviegoers elsewhere. The Internet Movie Database gave director Zack Snyder’s epic a rating of 8.6 out of 10, based on more than 7,000 votes. Apparently those who have done the math reveal that this breakdowns as 6,000 of the voters being males under the age of 29, and that more than 80% rated the film a perfect 10.

There’s more sense from other places. The Times of India for instance:

“As many have pointed out, 300 is an example of the Bush administration using Hollywood to peddle its imperialistic agenda. Never mind that Christian conservatives, Bush’s bastion, have long nursed a hatred for the decadent, sinful entertainment industry, particularly hotshot young directors and musicians who get their rocks off on gore and sex.

“Never mind that Hollywood itself is so completely Democratic and anti-Bush that the odds of it being used as a propaganda vehicle for the current government are even poorer than Leonidas’s 300 had against the mighty Persian army.”

I’m off to see it tonight. Friday nights are about carnage of one sort or another after all.

Gene adds: Via MEMRI, here’s Iranian TV’s take on 300. (I don’t know why it’s in English– maybe they have a “news in English” program.) They say about what you’d expect them (and a handful of our obsessive commenters) to say.