Though Spartan in the austerity of his atheism ,
P.Z. Meyers has suffered an Easter epiphany. Watching 300 it struck him that it wasn't about dead white males hell bent for the Elysian Fields at all. Eureka- it's a retelling :
"of the creation-evolution struggle!"
Pharyngula 's patritarch thinks it's "All about how the Spartans are the products of intense selection; the weak are culled from birth through adulthood, resulting in a collection of perfect physical specimens…exactly like all evolutionists...modesty compels us to conceal our awesome physiques beneath our lab coats, in the movie the Spartan products of evolution proudly expose their muscular pectorals, washboard abs...If everyone only accepted evolution, they too could look so ruggedly handsome."
He includes "evolutionist women" in his Olympian leg-pull, but every scientist has a Pantheon, and Biologist Meyer's naturally features bewhiskered worthies like Darwin:
"The manly beards of the heroes also reflected the historical significance of the bearded scientist. Leonidas's beard reminded me of that of Thomas Hunt Morgan, the great geneticist...another burly brawler with a loud Scottish bellow."
Meyers' scene selection favors an Anti-Persian take on the Creation Wars: "The Spartan's opponents...a slavish, poorly disciplined mob...who " like "Charging imaginary creationist war rhinos are " readily" stopped dead" by an Occam's razor armed phalanx of molecular biologists.
Zoroastrians catch hell too--"Xerxes himself reminded me of the flashy degenerates of the evangelical movement, portraying themselves as godlike while indulging themselves in perversions..."
Though Myers' irony is brazen as a Corinthian helmet : " "300 is a subtle movie that requires delicate analysis to expose the full meaning." some paeans to the film seem pretty leaden.Victor Davis Hanson , the Vice President's Classicist ,valiantly hails 300 as a metaphor of Victory deferred in Mesopotamia. Never mind real Greek history, from Athens' failed force projection against the Tyrant of Syracuse to Xenophon's ill-fated Persian Expedition. Herodutus didn't have to do sequels , but what in the name of Apollo and the Muses will Hanson advise Hollywood to do should the audience demand an encore ?
Hanson was a VIP at 300 Hollywood premiere, and his sober review suggest a man too aware of Alcibiades' later career to insist the Iraqi's are hoplites hot to trot for democracy. Everyone would lke to see old Ctesiphon turn into a new Athens--but sniper fire can deter ever the sturdiest ziggarut builders from raising a shining city on a hill. Had Leonidas known of Bremmer walls,the outcome would merely have been delayed.
Perhaps the Neconnoi can get White House domestic affairs guru Karl Zinsmeister. already a Marvel Comics author, ,to rescript Xenophons 10,000 as a World War IV sequel to John Ford's Why We Fight nophon's flicks . It seems a natural as it features a Spartan general arguing with a defeatist Athenian dogsbody named Socrates , who's always asking why invading Persia is a better idea than drinking hemlock ?
Some sample dialog : 10,000 Scene v : After the battle of Cunxata
Xenophon: Cyrus the Tyrant is toast, General Clearchus ! Now how do we .................................get out of Babylon and back to Neopolis in time for the election ?
Clearchus : (coughing blood) Hang a right at the light on the road to Damascus.
Xenophon : Won't the Gods be angry if we cut and run ?
Clearchus : (pulls arrow from eyesocket) Depends which oracle you ask.
.............................................................( Dies,and is carried into the sunset on his shield )
10,000 won't cost a dime more than 300 to make because Industrial Light and Magic can clones the 300 Spartans they already have on disc. The only new talent to cut into the residuals deal will be the rhino's stunt double, and Mel Gibson is reportedly available cheap.