Monday, October 30, 2006

Accept no substitutes

Because I managed to lose my post about Usagi Yojimbo you’re getting some quick thoughts on Frank Miller’s 300. I've traded bunny samurai swords for naked Greek men with spears.

I liked it. I liked the format and how it fakes the dimensions of a movie screen. I like how the characters are just the meanest motherfuckers Ancient Greece had and they’ll do whatever they can to maintain that reputation. Mix that machismo with a whole lot of naked men who pile up corpses and use that to intimidate their enemies – twice, and you pretty much get 300.

It’s brutal and yet it’s captivating. It’s pointless and yet it’s noble.

What I wasn’t expecting when reading this story is that it is essentially about how storytelling creates the world in which we live. It’s not just the events that matter but the importance of what the storyteller leaves in or omits that matters in our interpretation thereof. Are they noble or foolhardy? Was their sacrifice a noble one or is this simply a story used to inspire the rest of Greece to take up arms against a common enemy?

I had no idea what to expect from this book and I was shocked at how much I enjoyed it. It’s a great distraction that’s worth checking out – but try to figure out what the message is and what the point of the story is. Who is actually telling this story? It has more going on than you’d like to think. I didn’t expect that from a book with a hunchback and multiple head-spearings.

It inpired me to pick Alexander the Great and Greece when I fired up Civ IV on Sunday. Unfortunately, my phalanx units were not so successful against barbarians.

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