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The battle against ‘300’

Hollywood’s barbaric depiction of Ancient Persia angers Iranians.

As the latest Hollywood blockbuster “300” has taken theaters by storm, the Iranian community in the United States has taken great opposition to the film, claiming it is a vile assault on Persian culture and tradition. The film, which is a depiction of a historical battle in which a small Spartan army resisted a massive Persian invasion, portrays the Persians as nothing more than heartless barbarians. Even though the film grossly misrepresents Persians and their civilization, there are much bigger battles to fight than the content of a Hollywood film.

The biggest problem for critics of the movie has been the visual portrayal of the Greeks as beautiful, brave, honorable men as opposed to the Persians who are portrayed as deranged, ghastly, ruthless monsters. Part of the outcry also lies in how the battle of Thermopylae has been narrated, as there are claims of significant historical discrepancies. If the film is supposed to be purely fiction, the fantasy-like characters should not have names that are based on actual historical figures. Given the timing of the film, it is not hard to imagine that the film is a calculated attempt to demonize Iran at a time of intensifying U.S. hostility.

Warner Brothers, the film’s producer, has been quick to defend the film explaining that it is a purely fictional work, loosely based on a historical event with absolutely no intent to disparage an ethnicity or culture. It is also important to keep in mind that the film is based on a popular comic book and that the main purpose of the work is to entertain audiences, not make any sort of political statement.

Unfortunately, it is a given that there will be some viewers who will unconsciously internalize the savage depiction of Persians. Given the current state of affairs between Iran and the world, however, bloggers and opponents of “300” should focus on the bigger picture. Instead of taking on Hollywood and moviegoers of which the majority are just looking to be entertained for a couple of hours, these critics should be focusing on battling the increasing threat of military action against Iran.

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