Saturday, April 7, 2007

Xerxes the Fey

So, Victor Davis Hanson, a historian of note, gets emails on the depiction of Xerxes in the movie "The 300."

Among the stranger things is to get are these angry emails from professional Iranians living in the West, usually working in American universities, using postmodern lingo to deplore the "cultural bias" of the 300 (cf. the Mr. Clean-like over-the-top Xerxes strutting with his lisp and body piercings).

Well, the thing here, see, is that "The 300" is a graphic novel put to cellulite celluloid. I mean, yeah, Xerxes looked something like this:

And in the movie, looks like this:

Why, because Frank Miller has a limited amount of space in which to tell a great story. So he uses the visual medium to describe the inner corruption of "the bad guys." Xerxes appearance is less a comment on extreme body modification and more a display of Xerxes inner corruption. To wit, his belief in his own godhood.

I mean, no ones complaining about the appearance of the traitor Ephialtes of Trachis:

At the end of the day, it would be easier if the tyrants, madmen and traitors wore their inner corruption as some outside manifestation, some scarlet hunchback or pierced nasal septum. Pray, that we got that lucky.

Instead, we get the boring and banal:

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