28 November 2011

300 is not about 300

“... for there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.”
~ William Shakespeare Hamlet 2.2.251

The movie 300, as well as the graphic novel upon which it was based, is not necessarily a historically accurate portrayal of the events they represent.  That is not the point.

The point is plain now that Frank Miller has been candid in a recent blog post300 is about the colonizer, the big government, the oppressor—fill in the blank with whatever strong-over-the-weak, rich-over-the-poor, or my-political-agenda-over-yours ideology that you want—gaining their objective.

Sadly, I think most people interpreted the movie, whether deliberately or unintentionally, as the fight of right against wrong, or good against evil (which is of course one way Miller meant it to be interpreted; his idea being that the Persians represent Islam and Islam is wrong, right?).  That’s how I initially read it (minus the Islam is the enemy idea): the small Spartan army of 300 men went bravely to stand against the massive army of the oppressor Xerxes.  Yeah, I know many did read it as being about America against the rise of, as Miller calls it, “Islamicism” (which I’m pretty sure isn’t even a word, but nevermind …).

In a previous post, Miller wrote, “We only complain about propaganda when we don’t agree with it.”  Of course.  Why would we complain about something that promotes our own agenda?  Why would be try to shoot down something that makes sense to our worldview?  So, anyway, we know that Miller is writing/drawing propaganda because he says he is.  Which is fine, because that is what many people are doing, in their own way.  Propaganda is closely linked with agenda: so the mainstream media who are owned and operated by large corporations; the marketing departments of the large corporations, and their advertising—it all is propaganda for each of their respective ideas or products--the things that will fulfill their agenda(s).

Now, we have occupiers who are using the latest and greatest technology, which is developed and sold by large corporations.  Some blatant examples: Apple, Facebook, Twitter.  I am not singling these corporations out from personal malice, they are simply the ones that come to mind, being used by people who I know are involved in OWS.  The occupiers are focusing on the banks and financial institutions.  Why?  Without their having bought the latest gadget, there would be no finance to worry about.  They are overlooking the objects in their hands; they are overlooking the clothes on their backs, the shoes on the their feet.  They want things to change, but they want things to stay the same.  It seems that they want to eat the cake they didn't bake.  They are at once using and condemning the very things they would not want to be without.  This is what confuses me about it.  It reminds me of the Russian revolution, when women who left their villages to work in the cities did not want to return to their villages without having purchased a particular type of coat, called a sak (a status symbol).1  Today, it is the latest iWhatever that is that coat....  This is contradictory and contrapurposive to the entire ideology being propagated by OWS, right?

It seems that OWS is calling for socialism, or maybe even its extreme form communism.  While many others want something closer to fascism.  I know the labels for these ideas are getting tossed around ad nauseam these days (along with Nazi), and that most who use them are not really solid on what they are saying.  Others are trying for anarchy.  Still others would have the US continue to focus huge amounts of resources into the war against terrorism—which is about as successful as the war on drugs, right?2

I’m not an anarchist, a communist, a socialist or a fascist.  Hell, I barely even register on a political ideological scale at all.  This ramble is not to promote one form of political idea over another; this ramble is my way of working through all this shit and trying to make some kind of sense of it.  I’m not jumping into any of these ideologies, because none of them make sense to me. 

Yes, equality would be nice.  But, are we willing to let the government have the power necessary to maintain that kind of equality?  Privacy would be nice, but are we willing to let those who mean us harm free and open access to us, so that they might then bring a new form of inequality and oppression?  I don't think we really know what we want, and until we do, our united-ness will continue to polarize until the US is no longer recognizable.  Wait!  That shit is already happening, isn't it?

I guess my thinking is swayed by Buddhist thought, i.e. looking for the middle path.  But, I’m not a Buddhist, either….

"Women saved because you could not live without a sak. Those who did not have a sak felt they were deprived of their full rights, not fully valued, on the slide. There were endless conversations among the women workers about buying a sak. And if they bought one, they wrote to the village at once, to tell everyone that teh long-desired sak had been purchased." Mikhail Isakovskii, quoted in S. A. Smith, Revolution and the People in Russia and China: A Comparative History, 94.
MY NOTE: it seems that this, along with what I've written above speaks of a sense of entitlement which is prevalent in our time.


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