1) Via I-forget-who (
maybe M.? definitely M. Bouffant, who showed up to correct my error in the comments, because this blog is nothing if not peer-reviewed), this takedown of Frank Miller’s laughable screed against Occupy Wall Street is couched in an examination of Miller’s uber-popular “300,” which happens to betray his authoritarian mean streak by being completely historically inaccurate.
Look, artists get a lot of leeway. At least in this society of freedom they do. (They sure didn’t get any slack in feudal times, dominated by warrior-caste bullies.) Miller and the makers of the 300 flick were entitled to emphasize the Spartans and their martial spirit, even though their brave “sacrifice” at Thermopylae accomplished absolutely nothing, except to make a fine tale of futile bravado. A one-day delay? We’re supposed to be impressed by a one-day delaying action?
(I’ll admit, it certainly offered a great excuse for ninety minutes of homoerotic prancing! In fact, 300 gets full marks as a lavishly choreographed dance number. And for terrific painted-on abs.)
But there comes a point when artistic emphasis turns into deliberate, malicious omission. And then omission becomes blatant, outright-evil lying propaganda. “300″ not only crosses that line, it forges into territory that we haven’t seen since the propaganda machine of 1930s Germany. White is black. Black is white. Good is defined by the triumph of will.
2) On a related Occupy note, I was trying to think of a way to engage with this Aaron Bady piece about the Occupy Berkeley protests, but it’s probably best to simply let its excellence speak for itself:
As part of my ongoing private project to be less scared of police — because I am scared of police — I said to her, in as level and direct a tone as I could manage, “This is why we don’t trust you.” And she again elected to say nothing. She didn’t have to. The truth of power, in this situation, is that the policy is what the police will use their force to enforce. They don’t have to have a legitimate reason, nor are they embarrassed when it is shown that the “grass is closed” only because someone with authority said so. And the grass only became open because someone with more authority said so. Such people are not to be trusted.
3) Lastly, here’s Edith Zimmerman, on what it feels like to be 28 and on the irreversible path toward irrelevance and death:
Many years ago, my grandmother took me to McDonald’s for lunch, and the toy that came with the Happy Meal was a cricket that chirped when you spun its wings. (A “Mulan”-related toy, if that matters.)
“What do you mean it chirps?” my grandmother asked me.
“Wait, what do you mean?” I asked. “It’s chirping right now!”
Then there were about 30 seconds of me grinding its wings and holding it out as she tilted her head and listened.
“It’s not chirping,” she said.
“Yes it is!” I said.
We were both confused. What’s happening?
But then she decided that I wasn’t making it up and that it was just one of those high-pitched noises that her ears couldn’t hear anymore.
All of these are worth reading in full.