The parable of 300 03.21.2007

300 is a great movie. It’s also a movie that doesn’t even attempt to be historically accurate. And that doesn’t bother me in the least.

But some people claim it’s also a racist movie — a movie that is a parable on the current political climate with the Middle East. It’s the demonization of the Arabs! they cry.

Except it’s not.

In myths and legends across the world, the good is portrayed as beautiful and righteous, and evil is portrayed as dark and grotesque. It’s not a race issue. It’s not a political issue. It’s simply a product of the human psyche — we want to believe that we are good and beautiful, and that our enemires are evil and twisted.

It’s similar to how some misguided souls say Tolkien was a racist because he didn’t use any dark people except as enemies. No, no, no. He set out specifically to recreate one set of mythological themes and elements that he loves. It is not “The World According to Tolkien”, it’s “The Word According to Tolkien When It’s a English/Welsh/Northern European fusion.”

It seems that the primary issue for many people is that they are unwilling — or unable — to view 300 outside of the current political context. They are letting contemporary morality and though inform something that is much more ancient.

It’s a dangerous path to take. You can conclude pretty much anything you want to conclude by applying the right context to the right movie:

The Ghostbusters Marshmallow Man is a parable on the growing obesity in America. If unstopped and unchecked, it will grow to be an enormous problem and affect city-sized popuations.

Right?

No.

It was just a giant marshmallow monster.