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  • فيلم و سياست. فيلم هاليوودی سيصد درباره جنگ ترموفيل هنوز در تهران موضوع گفتگوهاست. مدرکی دال بر رنسانس ناسيوناليسم ايرانی.
    شنبه*شبی ولرم است بر پشت*بام خانه*ای در شمال تهران. چراغ*های شهر دوازده*ميليونی می*درخشند، رشته*کوه البرز سايه*مانند در تاريکی جلوه می*کند. تکه*های مرغ بر روی منقل قرار دارند، ودکای خانگی ارزان هست و ويسکی جانی واکر رد ليبل. پاسداران می*توانند هر لحظه مهمانی را که مدعوينش گروه رنگارنگی از هنرمندان، مهندسان و تاجران است برهم*زنند و همه حضار را به زندان بياندازند: مصرف الکل در جمهوری اسلامی اکيداً ممنوع است.
    موضوع گپ*ها رکود اقتصادی است و کارت هوشمند سوخت، قيمت*های سرسام*آور املاک، طرح مبارزه با بدحجابی و فيلم سيصد. داريوش، تاجری موفق در اواسط سی*سالگی، چندی پيش يک فراخوان اينترنتی عليه فيلم را امضا کرده است. ميگويد: «اين توهينی به ملت ايران است».
    موضوع روايت هاليوودی از داستان مصور فرانک ميلر جنگ ترموفيل در سال ۴۸۰ قبل از ميلاد مسيح است، که در حين آن گروه کوچکی از اسپارت*ها در برابر نيروی برتر ايرانی مقاومت کرده بود. پادشاه يونانی لئونيداس توسط کارگردان فيلم زک اسنايدر به عنوان يک ايده*آليست بزرگ*منش معرفی می*شود و کورش، پادشاه ايرانيان، مثل رهبر يک قوم وحشی بربرها.
    از ماه مارس که فيلم در ايالات متحده روی پرده رفت، در تهران غلغله شد. محافل دولتی اعلام کردند که فيلم سيصد «جنگ روانی و فرهنگی است». در تلويزيون دولتی گفته شد که «برادران وارنر صهيونيست» سعی دارد که «يک جبهه تبليغاتی عليه ريشه*های تاريخی و قديمی ايران» برپا کند.
    هياهو همچنان ادامه دارد. آخرين شماره ماهنامه شهروند به اين فيلم اختصاص يافته است. در يک مقاله فيلم با «بدون دخترم هرگز» اثر بتی محمودی همپايه خوانده می*شود و اين اشاره نيز فراموش نمی*شود که حتی در فيلم «ضدآمريکايی» سيريانا صحنه*هايی وجود دارد که در آن*ها جوانان ايران پارتی*های آن*چنانی برگزار می*کنند که يک مأمور سيا به آنها دعوت شده است.
    سيصد در ايران به موفقيتی نادر دست يافته است: توافق بين حکومت و اپوزيسيون، گروه*های متحجر و طرفدار غرب، پير و جوان، راننده*های تاکسی و دانشجوها. يک روزنامه حال و هوا را به خوبی توصيف کرده است: «سيصد عليه هفتاد ميليون».
    شاه خود را با کورش مقايسه می*کرد
    اما انتقاد پرهياهوی مقامات رسمی در ايران نشانه*ای هم برای قدرت يافتن ناسيوناليسم ايرانی* است: چرا بايد يک حکومت اسلامی از يک پادشاه ايرانی زمان پيش از اسلام حمايت کند؟ ستايش امپراتوری هخامنشی بيش از همه از سوی محمد رضا شاه پهلوی صورت می*گرفت که در پيش مقبره کورش به عنوان «شاه شاهان» تاجگزاری کرد، لقبی که در امپراتوری کهن ايران رواج داشت. پهلوی تقويم اسلامی را نيز با تقويم جديدی جايگزين کرد که شروع آن از پايه*گزاری امپراتوری هخامنشی بود.
    ايران بعد از انقلاب نمی*خواست کاری به کار عهد کهن داشته باشد، از نابودی مقبره کورش در آخرين لحظه جلوگيری شد، نام تيم فوتبال تهران از «پرسپوليس» به «پيروزی» تغيير يافت.
    اما اين همه در اين بين تغيير کرده است: «پيروزی» مدتی است که دوباره «پرسپوليس» نام دارد، از خود تخت جمشيد به عنوان يکی از آثار ديدنی تمجيد می*شود، علی لاريجانی، کانديد رياست جمهوری مورد حمايت آيت*الله علی خامنه*ای (مذاکره*کننده ارشد مذاکرات هسته*ای) برای يک پلاکارد تبليغاتی جلوی تصويری از خرابه*های تخت جمشيد عکس گرفت.
    حکومت مذهبی بايد می*پذيرفت که بيش از همه جوانان به زمان پيش از اسلام علاقه نشان می*دهند. کريستوفر دبلگ Christopher de Bellaigue، ايران*شناس بريتانيايی در New York Review of Books می*نويسد: «اين علاقه تا حدودی نوعی واکنش به اهميتی است که در مدارس ايرانی به يادگيری زبان عربی و فرهنگ اسلامی می*دهند».
    نام*های پيش از اسلام محبوبند
    در تهران تعداد زيادی کتاب*های جديد به فارسی درباره امپراتوری هخامنشی، ساسانيان و زرتشت وجود دارد، اسامی پيس از اسلام مانند داريوش و يسنا بسيار محبوب هستند و نشانه*ای ديگر از رنسانس ناسيوناليسم ايرانی. حکومت جمهوری اسلامی اينجا نمی*خواهد کنار بماند.
    نظر داريوش، ميزبان مهمانی شبانه نيز همين است. اما عصبانيت او از سيصد دليل ديگری دارد: برای او شاهان هخامنشی در شمار بهترين حاکمانی هستند که ايران داشته است - «در کنار محمد مصدق، نخست وزيری که به دست انگليسی*ها با کمک سيا برکنار شد». شاهان پرسپوليس برده*داری را نفی می*کردند و اولين منشور حقوق بشر را نگاشتند. داريوش می*گويد، بايد در غرب اول انجيل را بخوانند: «حتی يهوديان از ايرانيان تنها به نيکی ياد می*کنند. کورش شاه بود که به يهوديان اجازه داد از اسارت بابلی به اورشليم بازگردند». مشکل تنها اينجاست که تاريخ*نگاری ايرانی درباره اين برهه زمانی وجود ندارد، بلکه تنها اظهارات نويسندگان يونانی. داريوش می*گويد: «آن زمان*ها هم رسانه*ها در حق ما بی*انصافی می*کردند» و می*خندد.



    Comment


    • The '300' stroke

      FOR THE WORLD AT LARGE, the sign "300" may not mean much beyond a mere number placed solemnly between a double quotation marks. But given the prevalent Hollywood hegemony over the globalised pop culture, that anonymity should not remain the case for long. Why should the world care about an oversize American comic book being made into a jumbo- sized videogame look alike, CGI-virtuoso, cinematic spectacle (released theatrically in March and then late this July on DVD), has scarce anything to do with a testosterone-infested infantilised culture of teenage mutant computer wizards giving wild momentum to their belated adolescent fantasies and more to do with the fact that precisely that very orgiastic nucleus of violence is at the roots of a very real -- though still unreal -- predatory empire wreaking havoc around the globe.


      On the face of it, Zack Snyder's 300 (2007) is just a bodybuilders' wet-dream version of a foundational myth, of how "the West" began -- albeit the muscularity of its sculpted takes on military prowess bespeaks a bit too noisily the moral obesity it seeks to hide and yet manages to expose even more obscenely. Ever since its original narration by Greek historian Herodotus, the Battle of Thermopylae (480 BC) has increasingly assumed a symbolic significance far beyond its original import. Not just in Thermopylae, but also in Marathon and Salamis did the Greeks put up splendid resistances to the predatory expansionism of the Achamanid Empire. Much later in history, these battles assumed disproportionate and entirely ahistorical significance -- the farther the myth of "the West" (as the presumed centre of universe and the colour-coded sign of white man's civilising mission around the globe) developed the more these battles assumed almost metaphysical and supernatural significance. Small s***mishes at the farthest frontiers of the shapeless, graceless, and gargantuan Achamanid Empire at the time, battles such as Thermopylae, Marathon, or Salamis increasingly assumed ahistorical, prophetic, and even divine significance in the making of the myth of "the West" as the Christian God's gift to humanity.

      The increasingly ahistorical significance of these battles between the Ancient Greeks and the Achamanid Empire corresponds squarely to the expansion of European colonialism and its concomitant self-conception of "the West" as the generic rubric under which Europeans launched their global conquest. The origin of the glorification of the Graeco-Persian wars in modern history evidently goes back to Michel de Montaigne (1533-1592) who first identified the "glorious defeat of King Leonidas and his men at the defile of Thermopylae" as more glorious than "the fairest sister- victories, which the Sun has ever seen." Appalled by the Turkish domination of Greece, Lord Byron (1788-1824) would later join Montaigne in decrying: "Earth! Render back from out thy breast/a remnant of our Spartan dead! /Of the three hundred grant but three/To make a new Thermopylae!" Reporting these earliest records of reading the Battle of Thermopylae ahistorically, the British popular historian, Tom Holland says "no wonder, then, that the story of the Persian Wars should serve as founding-myth of European civilisation; as the archetype of the triumph of freedom over slavery, and of rugged civic virtue over enervated despotism." (Tom Holland, Persian Fire: The First World Empire and the Battle for the West, 2005: xviii).

      What Tom Holland calls "European civilisation" for the rest of the world spells out as a predatory form of colonialism. No wonder then that the shared sentiments of Montaigne and Byron about Thermopylae were soon to be picked up by grand officers of the British Empire. John Stuart Mill (1806-1873), for example, spoke on behalf of the entire British colonial character when he said that "the battle of Marathon, even as an event in English history, is more important than the battle of Hastings." Giving philosophical momentum to European colonialism, Hegel (1770-1831) had already chimed in that "the interest of the whole world's history hung trembling in the balance".

      The Persian Wars in general and the Battle of Thermopylae in particular were not to remain outside the purview of the direct beneficiaries of European colonialism, namely the rising European bourgeoisie and its preferred cultural outputs. European Orientalist opera was to have a ball with Xerxes and the battles of Thermopylae and Salamis. Francesco Cavalli (1602-1676) in 1654, Giovanni Bononcini (1670-1747) in 1694 and most famously George Frideric Handel (1685-1759) in 1738 had much fun putting the Achamanid king to song and dance. Although in Handel's Serse, the Persian emperor gets to sing one of the most beautiful arias of the opera, " Ombra mai fu ", one only needs to compare it with Aeschylus's Persians (472 BC) to note the vast difference in the manner in which the Greeks themselves saw and empathised with their adversaries and the way the Europeans of the Baroque period began to stage their "Orientals".

      The Orientalist opera became integral to the artistic and ideological make-up of the European bourgeoisie. The more European bourgeois historiography became self-conscious of its colonial globalisation the more the minor s***mishes between the Achamanid Empire, the very first globalised empire the world had ever seen, and its tiny Greek borders assumed extravagant, ahistorical, and entirely mythic significance. The more European imperialism, it seems, was modelling itself on what it called the Persian Empire, the more it claimed the embattled heritage of a tiny archipelago it misappropriated as its point of civilisational origin.

      John Stuart Mill's glorification of the Persian Wars was premonitory of its further celebration by other British colonial officers. It is not accidental at all that Lord Curzon (1859-1925), just before he became the viceroy of India, visited the ruins of Xerxes Palace with a certain sense of dual identity. "It might have flattered the British Empire," as Tom Holland puts it, "to imagine itself the heir of Athens; but it owed a certain debt of obligation to the mortal enemy of Athens, too." (Ibid: xxi).

      Following the footsteps of European ahistorical historians, Orientalist storytellers, and British colonial officers alike, Adolph Hitler positively adored the Battle of Thermopylae. "To the Nazis", Tom Holland has pointed out, "as it had been to Montaigne, Thermopylae was easily the most glorious episode in Greek History." This is not all. It gets even better: "The three hundred who defended the pass," Tom Holland reports, "were regarded by Hitler as representative of a true master-race, one bred and raised for war, and so authentically Nordic that even the Spartans' broth, according to one of the Fèhrer's more speculative pronouncements, derived from Schleswig-Holstein."

      Thermopylae has indeed made very strange bedfellows of European historians, poets, philosophers, colonial officers, world conquerors and mass murderers. Such is the fate of European self- delusional reading of history. Soon after Montaigne, Lord Byron, Hegel, British colonial officers, and Hitler, it was the turn of the British novelist William Golding (1911-1993) who in the early 1960s wrote his famous essay on the event, "The Hot Gates" (1965), where he declared, gleefully, "a Little of Leonidas lies in the fact that I can go where I like and write what I like. He contributed to set us free."



      Comment


      • Reporting all these creative adoptions of the Battle of Thermopylae with a sense of historical duty, Tom Holland himself is not immune to bizarrest forms of ahistorical fancy footwork. "Had the Athenians lost the Battle of Marathon," the British historian firmly believes, "and suffered the obliteration of their city, for instance, then there would have been no Plato -- and without Plato, and the colossal shadow he cast on all subsequent theologies, it is unlikely that there would have been an Islam to inspire bin Laden" (Ibid: xxii). I am not making this sentence up. This splendid show of analytical logic and historical perspicacity is by an otherwise very respectable and popular British historian.

        As the decade of Thatcher-and-Reagan dawned on the world, a new lease on life was given to the Battle of Thermopylae. Throughout the 1980s and then 1990s and beyond there was a resurgence of books on the Battle of Thermopylae. The British historian Ernle Bradford wrote his Thermopylae: The Battle for the West (1980), as did Steven Pressfield did his Gates of Fire: An Epic Novel of the Battle of Thermopylae (1998 and so did Paul Cartledge his Thermopylae: The Battle that Changed the World (2006) -- and it is right here that we need to place Frank Miller's pre-9/11 comic book 300 (1998 with colours by Lynn Varley, on the basis of which Snyder made his post-9/11, CGI virtuoso, adaptation 300 (2007).

        At the centre of all these narrations and re-narrations of the Battle of Thermopylae is the constitution of a Homo Militaris, a militant mutation of the political and the civic into the Spartan site of a malignantly militarised humanity. What we see in Frank Miller and Snyder's 300 is nothing but the latest edition of a long and arduous degeneration of factual memory into fanciful nightmare, where history keeps repeating itself in ever more violent and vicious ways.

        THE NARRATIVE FUSION at the creative core of 300 -- in which Snyder deliberately seeks to recreate the visual mood and the mimetic Verfremdung of Miller's comic book -- is fully at the service of the fact and fantasy that here come together to make 300 work on an excessive dosage of testosterone-infested adolescent hype.

        One has to look at Miller's original double-page format -- imitated in the film version mostly through bluescreen shots -- to understand why it is that coast-to-coast in theatres around the United States the enthused (mostly teenage) audiences were offered the chance to look at Snyder's spectacle at mega-sized IMAX formats and partake in the spectacular extravaganza. The point here -- in Miller and Lynn Varley's palettes, in Snyder's testosterone- infested vision, in Larry Fong's meticulous angular execution, in William Hoy's spellbinding cuts, in Snyder and Kurt Johnstad's muscular dialogues, and in Tyler Bates heavy metal score -- is to overwhelm and dwarf all human measures, all historical proportions, all boundaries of the ordinary, and thus to place the experience in the daunting spectrum of some frivolous, violent and deadly juvenile culture.

        The questions of why now and why this are far less important than what precisely this furious phantasm of playful power, this imperial self-projection of mythological might, entails. It is of course ludicrous to imagine, as does the Islamic Republic and much of a spectrum of so-called "Persian diaspora" in the United States, a conspiracy behind a comic book turned into a Hollywood production. There is no conspiracy. That is how things work in the imaginal making of an empire. Instead of degenerating into such conspiracy theories, it is far more important to excavate the archeology of an evidence that in its varied layers embraces not just Miller and Snyder and the millions of their teenage mutant audience participating in a collective orgy of violence, but that extends to embrace their elected president, vice-president, and above all the American warlord Donald Rumsfeld. What Miller and Snyder have joined forces to do for a whole world to see is the juvenile criminality at the bottom roots of the US Empire. There has always been something juvenile about the American imperialism. If it is vile and violent it is not despite the innocence at the heart of in this case what after all is just a comic book but precisely because it is rooted in nothing but the phantasmagoric labyrinth of that innocence. This is how an illusory empire operates. Those soldiers trained as killing machines and sent off half way around the globe to maim and murder people in Iraq or Afghanistan do so not out of any ideological conviction, political stand, moral principle, or civilisational sense of superiority -- but by virtue of having all been fed on this dosage of violently playful comic books, videogames, and films -- to the point that what they see in front of them in Afghanistan and Iraq and shoot to kill are not human beings but in fact comic strips, videogame images, Sunday matinee double features -- the delusional fantasy of an otherwise deadly real world. When US soldiers are inside their tanks, when US pilots are flying their fighter jets, when US marines look through their night vision goggles -- they do not see human beings when they pull the trigger. All they see are videogame figurines, of the sort they have been shooting at in videogame arcades, reading about in comic books, cheering at in films such as Snyder's 300. It is the same testosterone -- in different buckets.

        The peculiar manner in which the visual Imperium of 300 operates in the post-9/11 George Bush led imperialism is by an act of emotive reversal, projecting the American imperial practice back in time and space to something called "the Persians" and instead assuming the identity of a band of Spartan soldiers that now speak and act on behalf of "the West" -- the imperial provenance of American identity. In this emotive swap, the US as "the West" wants to have its cake and eat it too -- act as the Achamanid (what they call "Persian") Empire did but assume it is a small band of Spartans defending freedom and democracy against a horde of foreign invaders. Flaunting and flexing the most deadly military machinery in human history, the US can now partake in the delusional feat that Miller and Snyder have cooked up for it to see itself as a small band of guerrilla fighters resisting a predatory empire. Here "the Persians" mutate and stand for (among other things) what the terrorising propaganda machinery of the US empire calls "Islamofascism".

        Cinema is a miraculous (for those who abuse it treacherously) medium. It reverses angle on you (the filmmaker) without your even noticing it. Snyder has gone through all this trouble and these expenses to demonise an ancient and forgotten empire only to give a perfect picture of the empire in which he lives and which he, however inadvertently, serves -- just lower the loud volume of 300 and watch it and ask yourself between Bush and an anonymous leader of Iraqi resistance who has more claim to Xerxes and who to Leonidas?

        Leonidas' mission in Snyder's 300 is an act of suicidal violence -- a suicidal violence that if performed by white people in remote corners of history is heroic but if by Palestinians or Iraqis then it becomes sign of barbarism. So what Miller/Snyder effectively want is yet another example of having their cake and eating it too -- stealing the strategy of suicidal violence from those desperate measures of resisting imperialism of one sort (US) or another (Israel) and cast the enemy as imperial. It is a complete reversal of fact to make spectacular fantasy -- stealing resistance of the poor coloured folks and white--identifying it, while projecting your own imperial barbarity to some remote point in history and calling it The Enemy, "The Persians". This is a remarkable act of reversal, a projection backward. You become the enemy you abhor and you catapult the abhorrence you are to your enemy. 300 thus amounts to a CGI-engineered sense of tragedy and valour for an otherwise carnivorous empire that has just inflicted unfathomable pain and suffering on millions of Afghans and Iraqis.

        What Snyder actually portrays (for the whole world to see) is the best picture of the US army in action. That monstrosity that Snyder pictures marching towards Thermopylae is the American empire -- and that band of brothers that stood up to that monstrosity are those resisting this empire: they are the Iraqi resistance, the Palestinians, Hizbullah. Thermopylae, in 300, becomes a floating signifier. "The West", Miller and Snyder, have no control over it. 300 is thus too smart a thievery for its own good. It is a robbery completely -- from beginning to end -- caught on closed caption camera. Today the Palestinian, Lebanese, and Iraqi resistance to US/Israel imperial warmongering have a far more legitimate claim on being the Spartans of their time than Americans, British, or Italians do.



        Comment


        • The reversed projection of Miller-Snyder, now seeking to provide the Bush-Cheney project with an ideological hegemony they otherwise lack, ipso facto casts a claim on the absolutist militarist culture anachronistically attributed to the Spartans -- all narrated around their presumed infanticide practices, where children deemed useless to the military culture were killed at birth. This is Fukuyama's "end of history" thesis in a nutshell -- where the only citizens worth living are citizen soldiers. There is a scene in Snyder's 300 where King Leonidas makes fun of a regiment of Greek soldiers that has come to help him in the battle. He asks the Greek soldiers what their professions are. They respond by stating their ordinary professions before they became soldiers. He then turns to his soldiers and asks them the same questions, and they respond in unison that they are all nothing but soldiers. This is not just the end of history. This is the end of humanity. This is the US military projected back into history -- a professional and heavily privatised army entirely divorced from the will and wishes of a polity and a democracy that does not have to invest its own sons and daughters in its military adventurism.

          THE REACTION OF THE ISLAMIC REPUBLIC to 300 was at once banal, hypocritical, and entirely irrelevant to the psychodynamic synergy that 300 had generated in the imperial denomination of its origin, the United States. The officials of the Islamic Republic, including President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, opted for the usual conspiracy theories. That "Americans" are launching a psychological warfare against them as part of "their" opposition to the Iranian nuclear programme. Meanwhile, they sought to abuse the situation and posit themselves as the defenders of Iranian national pride when their heritage and identity was under attack. Never mind the fact that over the last three decades, the Islamic Republic has done everything to eradicate the non-Islamic aspects of Iranian culture (whether nationalist or socialist) and most recently started viciously cracking down on a nascent civil society and women's rights activists.

          It is imperative to keep in mind that the reaction of Iranians to 300 in the United States was mainly by the computer and Internet savvy young generation. The youthful disposition of this demography is crucial in our understanding of its visceral disposition. The reaction of young Iranian-Americans to 300 was swift, bitter, and traumatic. They immediately launched an online petition and led a Google-bombing campaign against 300. "It is a proven scholarly fact," the young Iranian-Americans declared solemnly in their online petition, "that the Persian Empire in 480 BC was the most magnificent and civilised empire. Established by Cyrus the great, the writer of the first human right declaration, Persians ruled over significant portions of Greater Iran, the east modern Afghanistan and beyond into Central Asia; in the north and west all of Asia Minor (modern Turkey), the upper Balkans peninsula (Thrace), and most of the Black Sea coastal regions; in the west and southwest the territories of modern Iraq, northern Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Israel, Lebanon, Syria, all significant population centres of ancient Egypt and as far west as portions of Libya..."

          The traumatic response of young Iranian-Americans was perfectly understandable. Born either in Iran before their parents left their revolution- and war-stricken homeland, or else immediately upon their arrival in the United States, these young Iranians were told to identify themselves scarcely as "Iranian" but principally as "Persians". "Persia" was a safe and sound fantasyland; Iran a war torn abode of terror and fanaticism. No one knew where exactly this "Persia" was. Too many Americans knew where Iran is and had an allergic reaction to it. Soon after the Islamic Revolution of 1979 and the American Hostage Crisis of 1979-1980, the expatriate Iranian communities in the United States began to identify themselves as "Persians" and termed the language they spoke as "Farsi". The mutation of "Iranian" into "Persian" and "Persian" language into "Farsi" was the most immediate response of the traumatised Iranians living in the United States while their compatriots were holding Americans hostage in their own embassy. For almost three decades, these young Iranian-Americans painted themselves into the Persian corner of their parents captured imagination. Persia and Persian were now cool; Iran and Iranian were too barbaric, rugged, ugly. Ayatollah Khomeini was Iranian, so was the Islamic Revolution, bearded men, veiled women, hostage taking, airplane hijacking, transnational terrorism. "Persia" was a whole different story. Persians had fluffy and cool cats, delicious and expensive caviar, and colourful and precious carpets. Along with cats, carpets, and caviar, these young Persians were led by their parents to exoticise themselves and stage their identity on the exotic angle of American Orientalism, rather than the rugged realities of their homeland. This young generation went to school in the United States and then to college, and thus its emotive and imaginative universe were by an large American in culture and disposition, with a little bit of "Farsi" to their fantasies, a pinch of saffron or a bite of Qormeh Sabzi under the palate of their McDonald's taste buds. Their annual Noruz get together, the Anglicised spellings and vocalisation of their names, and even their embarrassment that their parents came from an Islamic Republic notwithstanding, for all intents and purposes this young generation was American, yet another variation on the theme of other hyphenated-Americans, and it thus spoke its English with a decidedly American accent, and was fully at home in American culture. Three decades into this story, suddenly comes a Miller and a Snyder and smack from the very heart of the pop culture with which the young Iranian-Americans deeply identified blasted them out of their ghettoised slumber with a visceral demonology of unsurpassed racism -- portraying them and their "Persian" ancestors as beasts, as subterranean creatures, as monstrous apparitions, as the very definition of evil. Young Iranian-Americans were stripped of their hyphenated hypothesis of who and where they were. They could no longer partake in the youthful fantasies of their generation. They were denied emotive catharsis with who and what they thought they were. In Snyder's 300, they were, they had become, the other of themselves, the denial of themselves.

          Thus the origin of the outlandish fact of young Iranian- Americans, at the prime of their idealist hopes for a better world, unabashedly identifying with a predatory empire called the Achamenids. The sad pathology of boasting about how civilised the Persian Empire was (it was no such thing -- no empire is) -- or how expansive its domains were -- reflects the even more troubling fact of these Iranians in effect identifying with the imperial adventurism of their host country, the United States of America. What has been categorically absent in Iranian-Americans reaction to 300 is even the slightest sign of a critical angle on the Achamanid Empire itself, the very first global empire that set the standard for carnivorous warmongering, military expansionism, colonial domination of other peoples and lands. The fact that the arrested intelligence of adolescent fraternity brothers like Miller and Snyder has given free range to their testosterone-infested fantasies does not mean that the Achamenids were God's gift to humanity. All empires are terrorising propositions.

          "Persians" are fond of saying that Cyrus the Great set the Jews free from Babylon and wrote the very first human right declaration. What nonsensical pieces of absolute gibberish! Cyrus did no such thing. He set the Jews free from Babylon very much the same way that the US army set the Iraqis free in Iraq, and the declaration of human rights he presumably wrote (predated by Codex Hammurabi by more than 1,000 years) is the precursor of the constitution that Paul Bremer wrote for the Iraqis. The "respect" that the Achamenids had for other people and cultures was limited to permitting them to obey their imperial rule any way they wished and in terms domestic to their political cultures. The biblical narratives of Jewish freedom from Babylon are the signs of a grateful people left alone to practise their faith within the boundaries of a global empire, and as such is no indication of the magnanimity of Persian Kings. No human being must be left to the magnanimity of any king. Freedom is the inalienable rights of all humans, ancient or modern, and should never be contingent on an emperor's goodwill. Where ever the Achamenids went they coroneted themselves in the manner of local customs, by way of seeking to legitimise their otherwise predatory conquest of other people's lands. And any people who resisted them -- as the Greeks rightfully did -- were murdered and their houses set on fire. The fact that the history of Thermopylae, Marathon, or Salamis has been appropriated and abused by European colonial historiography, or that it is now the subject of a visual orgy of violence, does not mean that the Achamenids were bringing peace and prosperity to the ungrateful Greeks. Whatever their own problems were (such as not just practising but in fact theorising slavery), the Greeks had every right to defend themselves against a carnivorous empire seeking to gobble them up.



          Comment


          • "Persians" are fond of saying that "our enemies wrote our history," meaning the Greek did. And if so, whose fault was that? At the same time that the Achamenids were giving the world Cyrus and Darius and Xerxes, delusional monarchs and warmonger emperors, the Greeks were giving the world Plato, Aristotle, Herodotus, and Aeschylus, and forming the very first republics. What sane person would leave the company of Greek philosophers, dramatists, historians, scientists, for the frightful company of Cyrus the Great, or Darius the First or Xerxes the Last? Cyrus, Darius, and Xerxes were the George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, and Donald Rumsfeld of their time. The real Spartans, the real Greeks, people who resisted the Persian Empire, do not belong to the barbaric tradition of modern European colonialism, Fascism, or imperialism. They ought to be rescued from such abuses and recognised as the real forefathers of Third World revolutionary resistances to European colonialism and now American imperialism.

            Too much in a hurry to defend the gargantuan Achamanid Empire, too much enamored by the might of the US Empire, the expatriate Iranians have categorically failed to watch carefully and see who precisely are these "Persians" that Miller and Snyder have exorcised out of their nightmares. The term "Persian" in both Miller's comic book and Snyder's gory tale is much in need of decoding. Iranians of "the Persian Diaspora" persuasion are presuming too much thinking that it refers just to them. Having opted to call themselves "Persian" ever since the American Hostage Crisis of 1979-1980, Iranians have failed to watch carefully and read Snyder's "Persians". They are not just Iranians. Look at them carefully. They are also Arabs, Indians, Turks, Afghans, South and East Asians and Latinos. They are also gays, lesbians, and transvestites. Snyder's "Persians" are the nightmares of the White Christian America, the semiotic summations of all their undesirable elements -- all the racialised minorities, all the vilified foreigners, all demonised in the interest of a white gang of patriarchal warriors who do not hesitate even to kill their own children if they fail the military standard of thuggish buffoonery. Look also carefully at the graphics of Miller and the cinematography of Snyder. The Spartans are not just that. There is a blatant Christian Christological disposition about King Leonidas and his soldiers. In one final frame where King Leonidas and his Spartan soldiers are lying dead after the battle is over there is a powerful portrayal of a crucifix that unmistakably invokes the European tradition from Michelangelo to Titian, Tintoretto and El Greco. Miller and Snyder's King Leonidas is the alter ego of Christ running amuck. There is a Dantean demonology about the manner in which Miller and Snyder depict the entirety of the world they hate for being other than white, male, Christian, and heterosexual (the only woman in 300, Queen Gorgo, is a cut in her warmongering between Margaret Thatcher, Golda Meir, Maryam Rajavi and Condoleezza Rice -- all coming together to provide the German Gestapo ideal of womanhood).

            But we, the demonised minorities that Snyder sees like monsters swarming around him, can look back through his own camera and reverse his angle. To this "Persian", that weird looking giant coming down from his throne to meet with the leader of the resistance looks amazingly like Bush going to Iraq for a quick visit -- and those obsequious "immortals" bending to accommodate his feet on their backs remind me of the members of the US congress abrogating their constitutional responsibilities and consenting to an immoral and illegal war against Afghanistan and Iraq. Fearful of all the racialised minorities in and out of the United States -- Jews, Muslims, Asians, Africans, Latinos -- gathering storm around his white-washed racism, Snyder has quite unbeknownst to himself given a perfect picture of the way the world sees Bush's army. He could not possibly have been more accurate.



            Comment


            • Best parody ever

              [ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X8TNCRzkvug"]YouTube - 300 Trailer- Best Parody EVER[/ame]
              نه غزه نه لبنان جانم فدای ایران


              در زندگی زخم*هايی هست که مثل خوره روح را آهسته در انزوا می*خورد و می*تراشد.
              صادق هدايت؛ بوف کور

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              • junior member
                junior member
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                Last edited by home; 08-17-2007, 08:19 PM.

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                • اين ها اگر بى غرض بودند سربازان ايراني را به اون شكل هاى وحشتناك تصوير نمى كردند. حداقل استوديو هاى ايتاليائى اين اين مسائل را رعايت مى كردند و در چند فيلم كه در رابطه با جنگ يوناني ها و ايران ساختند صرف نظر از درست بودن متون تاريخ شان سپاهيان ايرانى شكل طبيعى داشتند

                  The Giant of Marathon ( 1959)

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                  • قسمت دوم فيلم ضدايراني 300 هم در راه است

                    در حالي كه فيلم 300 با اعتراضات گسترده ايرانيان داخل و خارج كشور با گرايش*هاي سياسي مختلف مواجه شد؛ ساخت قسمت دوم اين فيلم كه تصويري كاملاً غلط، هدفمند و مغرضانه از فرهنگ و تمدن ايرانيان ارايه مي*كرد نيز در دستور كار قرار گرفته است.

                    به گزارش خبرنگار شهاب*نيوز، ساخت قسمت دوم فيلم 300 در حالي با نام «جنگ خدايان» قطعي شده است كه تهيه*كنندگان آن يعني «مارك كانتون»،«برني گلدمن» و «جياني نونري» اعلام كرده*اند با «تارسم سينگ» براي كارگرداني اين فيلم به توافق رسيده*اند.

                    فيلم 300 از چند هفته پيش از اكران با خشم و اعتراضات گسترده ايرانيان داخل و خارج كشور مواجه شد كه تاكيد داشتند اين فيلم پروژه*اي مغرضانه و هدفمند براي تخريب هر چه بيشتر فرهنگ و تمدن ايران *زمين و دامن زدن به «ايراني ترسي» در كشورهاي غربي است. فيلم 300 بازگوكننده حمله سپاه يك ميليون نفري خشايار شاه به يونان است كه در گردنه ترموپيلا با مقاومت 300 جنگجوي يوناني مواجه مي*شوند. اين فيلم به گونه*اي حيرت*آور، هزاران روايت و سند تاريخي درباره فرهنگ و تمدن ايران در آن زمان را ناديده مي*گيرد و ايرانيان را موجوداتي به شدت غيرمتمدن، كم*خرد، غيرانساني، غيراخلاقي، خشن و حتي از نظر چهره* نيز زشت، ترسناك و هيولايي معرفي مي*كند.

                    تهيه*كنندگان قسمت دوم فيلم 300 يا همان «جنگ خدايان» تاكيد كرده*اند پروژه جديد نيز با همان تم و محتواي فيلم 300 يعني ستايش از سپاهيان يوناني و البته با تاكيد و تمركز بيشتر بر جلوه*هاي ويژه ساخته خواهد شد. با اين وصف، ايرانيان مقيم داخل و خارج كشور بايد منتشر باشند در شرايطي كه رسانه*هاي بين*المللي با سرعت و قدرت در حال ارايه تصويري خشن، حامي تروريسم، ضد دموكراسي، ضد مدرنيته، جنگ*طلب و ... از ايران هستند؛ يك پروژه هاليوودي جديد نيز به كمك رسانه*هاي غربي آمده و احساسات «ضدايراني» شهروندان آمريكايي و اروپايي كه طي چند سال اخير به شدت تشديد شده است را بيش از پيش تحريك نمايد.




                    Comment


                    • The Battle of Thermopylae is one of history's most celebrated last stands and has been the subject of three movies, one of which included this year's rather lackluster affair, 'Meet the Spartans'. Savaged by critics and viewers alike, this spoof seemed to focus more on today's glitterati and other topical events than the conflict between the city-states of Greece and the might of the Persian empire. The comedy's plot centered around lampooning the subject matter of 2007's controversial Warner Bros.' movie '300', while apparently trying to capitalize on its $400 million worldwide success.

                      Essentially an adaptation of the comic book series written and illustrated by Frank Miller, '300' was highly provocative due to its portrayal of Xerxes the Great, the Persian and Greek warriors and events of 480 B.C.E. Interestingly enough, Miller was inspired to write the comics after viewing the first cinematic and most historically accurate version of the battle, 1962’s 20th Century Fox movie, ‘The 300 Spartans’. However, what has unfortunately been overlooked due to the controversy surrounding the revisionism of '300' is the best-selling novel by Steven Pressfield entitled 'Gates of Fire'. Published in 1998, it was considered to be favored over '300' as the next movie about Thermopylae to be released for the big screen. Before several of the merits of 'Gates of Fire' are outlined, the series of events which led to the production of '300' should be mentioned in order to gain an understanding of why the superior novel wasn't chosen by Hollywood.

                      Retracing these steps must begin with the worldwide success of 'Gladiator' which won several Oscars and for one brief and glorious moment seemed to revive the 'sword and sandals' genre. In an interview in 2000, George Clooney professed his admiration of Pressfield's novel by stating that 'Gates of Fire is an amazing story. Gladiator was my favorite film of the year, but I think Gates of Fire is a better story.' Clooney's approval of 'Gates' was confirmed as his production company Maysville Pictures purchased the rights to the enormously popular novel, which at last count had sold over 600,000 copies and was in its 10th printing.

                      Shortly thereafter, the Hellenocentric movies 'Troy' and 'Alexander' followed in 2004, to less than stellar results. With budgets of approximately $175 million and $155 million, respectively, their ticket sales weren't what was expected. 'Gates' as it was estimated, would have cost between $170-$200 million, therefore, it may have been too much of a gamble, especially in light of the uninspiring box office receipts of the aforementioned movies.

                      In comparison, the budget for '300' was relatively smaller at $60-$70 million as a result of its liberal use of computer generated imagery. This allowed the entire movie (with the exception of one scene) to be shot in the studios, while a small cast of actors and extras were reproduced exponentially using CGI techniques. Employing sets that were recycled throughout production, the '300' budget was a fraction of the cost, therefore, less burdensome financially. Even more ominous was director Michael Mann's departure, which allowed Warner Bros. to catapult ahead with their version of the Battle of Thermopylae.

                      However, these reasons should not detract from Pressfield’s tour-de-force which became an instant classic in the category of military novels, in addition to recommended reading by many colleges and universities across the world. Extensively researched, Pressfield's sources included the works of authors whom he graciously acknowledged such as Paul Cartledge, Victor Davis Hanson, Donald Kagan, John Keegan, J.F. Lazenby, etc. These academics who had written about Sparta, Persia, ancient warfare, weapons and armor, etc. were without parallel and it was the inclusion of their materials, which translated by Pressfield, provided an extra element lacking in Miller's graphic novel '300'.

                      What made 'Gates of Fire' more compelling than '300' was its description of the fighting which made the reader feel like a participant rather than an observer of the battle. While it did glamorize war to an extent, it also described its brutality, fear, anxiety and a myriad of other emotions which must have been felt by warriors from both the Greek & Persian armies as they faced off against each other in the narrow pass of Thermopylae, which approximately 2,500 years ago was only 50 feet wide.

                      Multidimensional characters added depth to Pressfield's novel and while the focus was on the Spartan warriors, the army of Persia was portrayed much more differently than in '300'. One passage in particular illuminated the vast difference between 'Gates of Fire' and '300'. This was the initial meeting between the Spartan envoys and a group of Egyptian marines from Xerxes' navy on the island of Rhodes, months before they clashed at Thermopylae. The repartee between these warriors blended a mixture of respect and admiration, which eventually yielded to the grim knowledge that war would be inevitable and under other circumstances, these future combatants may have been friends. The camaraderie and gestures of goodwill that were extended resurfaced several months later when the Egyptian captain Ptammitechus, nicknamed affectionately by the Spartans as 'Tommie', tried to intercede before the battle. It was by his own request in a last ditch effort to prevent hostilities from beginning, that he acted as an ambassador to the Spartans whom he had befriended earlier.

                      Miller's '300' brought quite a bit of notoriety to the Battle of Thermopylae, albeit for several of the wrong reasons as it was renounced by the Persian and Greek communities, in addition to scholars of the battle. While its success and highly stylized look has not gone unnoticed, it has been viewed as quite inflammatory due to its neglect of the other Greek contingents that heroically fought with the Spartans, as well as the courage of the Persian army. It is for these reasons that 'Gates' should be applauded, as it offered a much more balanced and objective view. Steven Pressfield's book showed that this epic three day battle where bravery was glorified, didn't need embellishments such as ogres, a hunchback, an androgynous king, etc. Perhaps one day 'Gates of Fire' can share the marquee with the other movies about Thermopylae and help remedy some of the injustices which have recently been perpetrated on screen.



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