Saturday, March 17, 2007

"300" as Propaganda by Louis Evan Palmer

Is it pure coincidence that of all the movies that could have been made, based on either fictional or historical stories or that often perplexing mixture of both, that we are now served up a cartoon-based version of the Battle of Thermopylae?

Can there be any doubt that by whatever various dark circuitous routes, the psych-ops folks of the American military and intelligence cyclops have managed to serve up a mass-market propaganda movie that helps prepare the American and world public for a war on Iran?

One of the effects of the world becoming a smaller place is that it is more difficult to get away with the subterfuge, claims or "stories" that you may have formerly gotten away with or to confine the "message" to its target audience.

The movie in question is "300" which is a visually-riveting portrayal of the Battle of Thermopylae and particularly the 300 Spartans of King Leonides' bodyguard. They, the only Spartans at the Battle, are treated as the real Greeks (and men) and the Persians are shown as a monstrous invading horde. For Americans, who are notoriously ignorant of both geography and history, perhaps this is as good as it gets. If so, then America and the entire world is in even more trouble than previously thought.

Military historians like the father/son Dupuy duo state that Xerxes' army entering Greece was approximately 200,000 strong. The movie claims a million or more Persians attacked - allowing numbers from ancient sources to stand when it suits their one-dimensional characters & objectives - in this case, depicting the Persians as a terrfying horde and magnifying the heroic stance of the outnumbered Greeks.

The Persian army consisted of loyal troops from the 20 provinces of its empire and included Greek soldiers & mercenaries from Asia Minor. The Greek army at Thermopylae comprised 7,000 hoplites and archers including Leonides' bodyguard.

"300" strives to glorify war in a typically fascist manner - sacrifice, submission, military values and valour are in the service of the state, in this case, Sparta. A state out of step with the rest of Greece and where the majority of its populace was enslaved; when not engrossed in a military campaign, Sparta lived in constant fear of a slave (i.e. helot) revolt.

Is it also a coincidence that this propaganda piece was released on the eve of the Persian New Year? Probably, it's doubtful the propagandists even knew there was a Persian New Year.

It would interesting to follow at the deepest levels all the money trails for this movie and the decision-making involved in seeing it produced and distributed. This research should go beyond the first line of companies and follow them to their "owners". It must see past the "fronts" and "shells" and discern the hidden hands in helping it get into the mass market. The timing is too attuned to the imperialistic agenda to have just happened. It follows in the mould of the Lord of the Rings and its war-worship but is more specific and harder to treat as an allegory.

Another more ominous purpose in this "message" is in indoctrinating the masses to the idea of "300" as in the "Committee of 300" or the "300" world ruling families. Be on the look-out for more advertising for the "300" as saviours and heroes, a bulwark against the hordes, worthy recipients of dictatorial powers and the like.

300 as Propaganda, The Way It Can Be, Louis Evan Palmer,
Copyright 2007 Louis Evan Palmer lives in Ontario Canada. His short stories have been published in numerous publications.


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