Saturday, November 30, 2013

Male Objectification

It's difficult to talk about the objectification of men in media, especially in gaming. This is not because of denial of its existence by presumed feminazis. Rather, it is because of the overeagerness of certain groups in attempting to suggest that all instances of attractive men are objectification - an argument clearly intended to suggest that the objectification of women is not itself a problem. The goal of such groups is to reinforce the status quo, rather than to actually challenge the way men and women are presented in media. This presents a dilemma for anyone who intends to talk about the actual nature of objectified men, as the spark of discussion becomes the roaring flame of "men are the real victims", overshadowing any attempts at real analysis.
what will make my cause seem legitimate, i know, slurs used against homosexual men
Firstly, though, we need to understand what the concept of objectification actually entails. Objectification is an authorial process that presents a character as essentially lacking any agency or believability, usually for the sake of personal or audience gratification. Zooming out, a character's physique and personality can be entirely tailored such that it comes off as wholesale personal gratification on the author's part. It is not traits or features that are objectifying, but rather the reasons for their selection or inclusion. A character being large-breasted is not objectifying; a character being reduced to "large breasts" as their primary character trait is. A woman being attractive is not objectifying; a refusal to include or depict non-attractive woman is. It is entirely about the relationship between the author and the character.

Since many authors, especially in the world of game development, are straight and male, it's obvious that most instances of objectification are done by male designers with female characters. With that said, it's not impossible for men to be objectified - it's just done far more rarely. People who don't quite understand what objectification means tend to look at attractive men in games and go "yes, that's what objectification is". People compare Conan the Barbarian with Red Sonja - after all, they're both scantily clad. But of course the difference comes down to context and intent, not just "what they're wearing", which makes it a partially subjective and therefore strenuous issue.

But what about the men, though? Surely in all of gaming it's impossible to think that there are no examples of men being victimized, dehumanized, or sexualized. This is true. Male objectification does exist. But it's a little more complicated than certain groups would like it to be. So let's get started.

Men Dying En Masse, Screaming And Gurgling, With Blood Issuing From Their Mouths;
or, Who Will Weep For The Veterans Of Simulated Wars

Games love murder. Damn, do they love murder. Murder is fuckin' fun as shit. Games love fucking killing the shit out of human beings. God damn. And who gets murdered? Most of the time, it's men. Oh, sure, sometimes it's women, but women generally get murdered "specifically" - that is, as characters with actual backstories, for specific reasons. Men get murdered en masse. Men get shot and stabbed and pureed and sliced and diced and burned and frozen without so much as a whiff of regret or a last dying quote. We accept this because, shit, we have to kill somebody, might as well kill the sex we think is capable of fighting back.

And that's it. That's the reason. From a gender standpoint, men are strong aggressors, women are weak and incapable. The same logic that prevents many gamers from accepting female protagonists in action games also affects their view of men in a negative way. The expectation that men are stronger and less emotional is great - that is, if you're coming from a culture that values stoic strength. On the other hand, if you have moral qualms with the expectation that men need to bleed and die for their country, that a real man needs to be a killer, that death is the business of men and they have no right to complain about it...well, it gets fucked, doesn't it?

Masculinity hurts men. More than anything women will ever do, masculinity is what hurts men. Masculinity creates damaging stereotypes and enforces harmful expectations of what men should do. Men can't cry. Men can't run. Cowardice is wrong. Weakness is wrong. Men fight. Fighting is cool. Killing is cool. Killing men is cool, because the men you beat are either weak or cowards, and those things are wrong. Don't be a pussy. Don't be a faggot. Get strong. Get powerful. Kill or be killed; if you're killed, you're wrong. Be the best. Every moment you're not the best, you're losing. EVERY MOMENT. BE THE BEST.

We love killing in games, don't we. We love winning. We love the thrill of superiority, and thanks to protagonist-centric action games, we don't really have to worry much about the agony of losing. We don't have male characters worrying about being brutally killed or torn apart. We have stoic badasses - even survival horror gets characters like Leon Kennedy and Isaac Clarke, not poor whimpering manbabies who would basically deserve to horribly die, am I right? Yeah. Fuckin' badass. Oorah.

Three things fix this. First, we accept women in action roles, both as protagonists and antagonists. Allowing women to join men on the front lines of video game murder eases the burden of war-murder by making it so that the horrendous acts of death are not limited to the male sphere. Second, we accept men in non-action roles; games can be about all sorts of things, not just things where aggressive and assertive characters need to be the protagonists. Third, we stop accepting games where we casually kill people by the truckload. I mean, if you care about not objectifying people, it's pretty obvious that "turning people into gratification-corpses" is one of the most severe types of objectification there is. So let's stop doing that, right? It's fucking creepy.

The Automaton Cannot Love You Back, No Matter What It Is Programmed To Say;
or, Press X To Elicit The Feels

This is going to be a short section because I don't think the concepts are particularly advanced. Dating sims are traditionally designed for both men and women - for every Tokimeki Memorial there is an Angelique Trois, for every Ashley there is a Kaidan, for every Morrigan an Alistair. Dating sims are bad at depicting relationships, and it's for relatively simple reasons: they don't exactly go out of their way to try to depict realistic human behavior or simulate any sort of agency. In games like Mass Effect you can basically say whatever you want to a person and still end up sleeping with them, because otherwise the game's not fun. Both sexes in dating sims end up as automatons, existing solely to dispense sex once enough coins are put into the machine. They're shallow representations of humanity given only enough character to provide emotional gratification when fake-sex is achieved.

Of course, a notable contextual aspect is that men and women are treated differently with regards to promiscuity. A man casually picking up a woman for sex is accepted, whereas the inverse is less so. A man is expected to take the lead in a relationship, while a woman is expected to be the lesser part of the relationship. Terms like "who wears the pants", which are still used in the Year of our Lord 2013, suggest that the gender concepts of superiority/inferiority still hold traction. Male characters are not shamed for having sex, while female characters implicitly - if not overtly - are. While the situation is "equal", that doesn't magically make the results equal.

The solution to this is to stop having dating sims or romantic relationships shoved into games that don't do them well. Stop including characters like Alyx Vance, who fall in love with mute murder-machines. Stop including simplistic dialogue trees that serve to offer no real choice or options of failure. We make characters emulations of human beings to elicit emotional reaction, but part of that has to include the illusion of agency or else you might as well just be having sex with robots.

The Beautiful Boys, Whose Tunnels Are Already Opened;
or, Would You Trust The Greeks To Make Your Games

I'm going to start this section off with a short bit from Grimoire Nier, a guide released alongside the "dual game" Nier. In one version of the game, the titular character was a gruff adult; in the other, the titular character was an effeminate, beautiful teenager. The relationship with the character Yonah is changed; old Nier is her father, young Nier is her brother. Despite these being the only changes, some radically different moments of characterization ensued; things that affected Dad Nier weakly affected Brother Nier far more strongly. They also had different pasts. Dad Nier did jobs around town to make ends meet, since he was a competent adult. Brother Nier, on the other hand, was forced to resort to prostitution to pay the bills; only later, when he was more capable, was he able to take the Dad Nier role of odd jobs and hunting.

I said that extremely casually, but I want you all to understand it clearly. Brother Nier, the effeminate bishonen, was forced into prostitution (with both men and women) as a young teenager. This is a heavy plot point, and it adds an extremely sinister undercurrent to the way he's treated in the game and as a result of his design. Specifically, it affects a line that comes from this interview.

-Which scene does (Novelist Jun) Eishima like?

(Director) Yokoo: Eishima is definitely satisfied with just watching young Nier’s back while he roams the fields, since it’s zettai ryouiki and whatnot.

Eishima: I did get satisfaction from making him run like crazy.(laughs) But you see…when I get really happy watching that, my high school son would just pass by and say “But, haven’t this kid’s tunnels been opened up already?”, popping my bubble.

This is objectification of a male character in a video game. The novelist Eishima knows about and acknowledges the traumatic past of Brother Nier; in fact, she was partially responsible for writing it, although the idea wasn't hers. She even expressed some disgust at it and the tonal dissonance of a "shonen adventure" that also features such dark material. And yet she sees Nier as a piece of meat, a beautiful young man to view sexually, and her reverie is only interrupted by her son - HER SON, mind you - reminding her of his "lost purity". This is it. This is the equivalent to Quiet from MGS5 or the B&Bs from MGS4. This is male objectification. This is a man becoming meat, his agency and feelings and experiences thrown aside for the sake of empty, uncaring lust.

In my last article I talked a bit about the nature of cultural standards - how we expect murder to be treated as a normal part of a story rather than a serious event in the same way that Romans and Greeks would casually depict rape and pedophilia. If our video games were written by the Ancient Greeks, things like this would be incredibly common. Look up Ganymede, whose visage - often engaged as a bottom in acts of homosexual intercourse - is plastered across many a Grecian vase or urn. The idea of not depicting sex acts involving young, beautiful boys would strike the Greeks as being as prudish and "out of it"; not dissimilar from the way many gamers view complaints about sexualized female characters.

Objectification is not found in objective design concepts. It is not found in "bared skin" or "weakness". It is found in design reason and justification. It is found in purpose and intent. When you played Zelda ALTTP, did you notice Link's bare thighs and short tunic? Did it worry you, to think that the designers might be appealing to a pedophilic sort of crowd? What if the designer was a gay man or a straight woman? What if the designers admitted that they designed the character to appeal to gay men and straight women, as Kojima did for Quiet?* What if the author was revealed to have a Vore fetish - would you think differently of scenes where Link is swallowed whole by monsters? The important factor here is vulnerability. An attractive character is one thing, an attractive character designed to be viewed as a "victim" for purposes of sexual appeal is another. This is why Nathan Drake and Marcus Fenix are not "objectified" - because society doesn't view strong men like them in the same way that it views attractive, feminine women. It's not about beauty; it's about the implications, and how those implications affect how people are treated. A character that exists to be emotionally mistreated and belittled for the gratification of the player is objectified; a character who is "good looking" is not.

*I acknowledge that Kojima also designed Raiden to appeal to women, but this decision was far less explicitly about "sex appeal" and additionally less related to sexual vulnerability. If it was, then there would be reason to have concern over Raiden's nude torture scene in MGS2 - but as it is, it came off as a goofy joke, where Raiden is reasonably competent and in-charge even as he's forced to cover his genitalia with his hands. It's reminiscent of the way that, even as a child, Nathan Drake is still a hyper-competent individual at no risk of dying; even at his most vulnerable, Raiden is still a badass ninja who can cartwheel the fuck out of armor-suited guys.

One last note about Quiet: I've noticed people saying that it's ridiculous to complain about Quiet in MGS5 when the game contains child soldiers and torture, both of which should provoke more outrage than "a girl is sexy". Let me teach you something about Tone, readers. Tone is what gives Hideo Kojima the credibility necessary to say that he's going to make a serious game about child soldiers and not be laughed out of the industry. Tone is what suggests that a game presented in a serious and realistic way should be able to handle child soldiers as a reasonable topic of discussion, in a way that will enlighten and inform players. Tone is trust. Quiet being a sexy, unrealistic sniper for the explicit purpose of appealing to the teenage male crowd breaks tone. It means that the game now exists to be fun and enjoyable and lighthearted. Don't worry about the details - this is a goofy game with sexy babes! Everyone knows MGS games are goofy and fun. Now kill those child soldiers we talked about. Kill them. Put a gun in their mouth and blow their fucking brains out. Fucking murder them. This is a serious game. This is a real game. This is art. Okay, now back to the titty babe. You can blow her brains out too if you want. It's all in good fun.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Analysis: 300

What Is The Purpose Of "300" As A Concept

Broadly speaking, there's a huge number of battles in history. There's a smaller, but still sizable, number of famous battles. There's a smaller-than-that number of famous last stands. So why Thermopylae, in particular? Why Spartans (and only Spartans, excluding/marginalizing their allies) versus Persians? And why, specifically, do we root for the Spartans, other than the fact that they're underdogs? Why did all of these things happen in the movie "300", based on the comic by Frank Miller? Why did this happen? Why did this story need to be told?

The answer is threefold. Firstly, because the Spartans are white, despite being olive-skinned, dark-haired Greeks. Secondly, because they're politically similar to us, despite being slave-owning (and frequently slave-murdering) semi-pedophilic pagans. Thirdly, because they're ideal masculine figures of strength and courage, despite that strength and courage coming from a horrifyingly brutal lifelong training regimen.

Let's take it from the top.

Part 1: The Whiteness

The Battle of Thermopylae took place in 480 BC - which is to say, almost 2500 years ago, 500 years before Christ, 1000 years before Muhammad, and 2000 years before the concept of "whiteness" existed. It's strange, then, that we feel naturally compelled to ally ourselves with one group of Aegean pagans against another. Maybe there's a little bit more going on than that. Let's take a look.

Firstly, let's note that in the traditional schema of Western History, Greece is considered an essential forebear, along with Rome. While the Angles and the Saxons and the Normans and the Franks and the Germanic Tribes might all get attention, Western Culture generally thinks of itself as being descended from the Greco-Roman world. The reasons for this are kind of complex, but to sum up a lot of things in a pretty quick way, the Romans admired the Greeks, and Christian Europe admired the Romans. Though Europe was descended from the tribes and peoples who had torn Rome apart, there was still a great deal of admiration and respect for Roman culture. Rome itself was the capital of the Catholic faith, and was considered an absolutely holy city. The Church declared many Romans to be "virtuous pagans", worthy of emulation despite not being part of a Judeo-Christian faith system. Catholic priests did most of their writings and sermons in Latin, and worked to preserve writing and art from the Roman era. The rule of most European rulers was fashioned after Rome, the most notable being the Holy Roman Emperor, but also worth noting are the Czars (Caesars) of Russia.

So that's a lot about Rome. Catholics admired Rome, and Rome itself had admired Greece, fashioning many aspects of their art, architecture and culture around Greek concepts. So through this two-step process we get the modern idea that the Greeks and Romans are our "true" forbears. This reached its peak with Neoclassicism, wherein the prestigious peoples of Europe saw themselves as Greece Reborn, emulating their fashions, artwork and sculpture. As late as the Napoleonic Wars, soldiers would ride into battle with helmets designed in Greek styles. Despite being two thousand years away, and not even being really "white", the idea that Greece = Europe became ingrained in Western culture. Conversely, the descendants of the Persians were the Turks (although that's also much more complex), who were hostile infidels (also more complex) who threatened the unity and stability of the Christian world (see previous).

So with all that said, do you really think it's a coincidence that there are no actual Greeks in 300? Let's go down the list. Leonidas is played by Gerard Butler, not even pretending to hide his Scottish accent. British actress Lena Headey plays his wife, Queen Gorgo. Australian David Wenham plays the film's narrator, Dilios. English actor Dominic West plays that one smug guy who turns out to be a traitor and a rapist.

Huh! How about that. Nobody Greek. Nobody with olive skin and dark, curly hair to distract us from this story about the foundation of European culture. Oh, and they got a Brazilian to play Xerxes, because, you know, whatever, brown skin. And nobody on the Persian side is developed as anything but a lacky to an insane, gibbering emperor, there to be killed by brave, white Spartan warriors. Well, let's move on.

Part 2: The Values

Okay, so maybe it's kind of weird that the Spartans are being used to represent White People in a battle against Brown People. But surely we must empathize with the Spartans - after all, the Greeks are the fathers of democracy! Of republics! Of representation by the people, for the people!

"A new age has begun. An age...of freedom! And all will know that three hundred Spartans gave their LAST! BREATH! to defend it." - Leonidas

But see, then we run into trouble again. The Spartans had a society based on all men becoming warriors, without exception (which makes it hard to explain the totally-fictional skeevy senator dude, as an aside). But naturally they still needed people around to make weapons and harvest crops and stuff - they weren't going to have their women do all that. So they needed slaves. Lots of slaves. Lots and lots and lots of slaves. As in "seven times as many slaves as Free Spartans", according to Herodotus. Yes. Seven times as many slaves as Spartans. Seriously.

Maybe you're thinking, well, slavery back then wasn't like slavery now. It wasn't as bad, and it wasn't drawn along racial lines. And in some regards that's true, but on the other hand you got stuff like the Crypteia. Let's explain the Crypteia a bit: it was both a method of control and a way to train their young boy-warriors and make them into man-warriors. Every Autumn, the Helots became free game, and the boy-warriors were sent among them to kill and steal at their pleasure. In this method, children were introduced to the concept of killing human beings, and the slaves themselves got the pleasure of being constantly spied upon by their murderous masters.

So yeah. Not doing too great on the whole "freedom" front. Oh well, a little slavery and ritual abuse never stopped the American founding fathers. Let's keep going.

"If those philosophers and, uh, BOY-lovers have found that kind of nerve..." - Leonidas

Now this one is kind of nuanced. Most Greek societies practiced pederasty openly, and wouldn't have really seen "boy-lovers" as an insult. The Spartans actually formalized the man-boy relationship into a one-on-one mentorship; where this gets murky is whether or not this, too, was pedophilic in nature. Some writers of the period suggest that while an adult Spartan was definitely meant to have a relationship with a boy, the idea of it being carnal was outright frowned-upon. Worth noting is that Aristotle in particular thought it was part of the reason why Spartan women had an inordinate (in his view) amount of power. So this one actually gets a pass, although for obvious reasons the PLATONIC man-boy relationship is never established in 300 either. Even that would be too close to "oh right the Greeks are pedophiles", a fact that many scholars actively refused to engage until the 1970s, because it was so harmful to their idea of the Greeks being a superior and enlightened culture.

"Immortals... they fail our king's test. And a man who fancies himself a god feels a very human chill crawl up his spine." - Dilios

So, on to the Persians. The Persian Empire at the time of Thermopylae was pretty well-established, coming off the reign of Darius The Great, who expanded the Empire, organized its linguistics and monetary system, codified systems of law, and developed a bureaucracy to manage its many peoples. A bit before Darius was Cyrus the Great, praised by historians for his respect for religious tolerance and his views on human rights, as well as his contributions to the infrastructure of the Empire as a whole. Of course this is not to say that the Persian Empire was perfect or anything - they were still an empire, after all - but they were at least comparable to Rome in terms of morality, and Cyrus especially was studied by the American founding fathers. They were a bureaucratically organized state with a goodly amount of freedoms for their citizens, based around the dualist Zoroastrian faith but with tolerance for other religions and traditions.

So in 300 they make Xerxes a megalomaniac with delusions of godhood standing at the head of a slave-army forced to revere his own divine personage above all, who cannot even conceive of the idea of failure because he is so invested in his persona as a superhuman being. He brings with him an army not just of elephants and alchemists and exotic tactics but also of horrifying monster-people. His Immortal bodyguard, far from being treated as respected, loyal counterparts to the martial Spartans, are instead turned into monstrous orc-men who dual-wield swords and dress like Hollywood ninjas.


"This day we rescue a world from mysticism and tyranny and usher in a future brighter than anything we can imagine." - Dilios

In general, 300 seems to have a major problem with religion overall - or at least the acceptable target of pagan religions. In addition to Xerxes and his whole schtick of religious domination over the free, enlightened Spartans, you also have the Ephors. The Ephors are creepy people who creep all over shit and accept bribes and do other terrible things. It is the Ephors who prevent the entire army from moving to meet Xerxes, not based on legitimate religious reasons but because they took money from the Persians and also so did that senator guy they totally made up.

The only good Spartans are warriors. Everyone else is a limp-dicked communist attempting to undermine our way of life because they're unwilling to make the sacrifices necessary to ensure Spartan freedom and liberty and justice and apple pie and baseball and Do You See Where This Is Going

It's really kind of difficult to not see the movie's contempt for "people who would rather talk than fight", and its inference that these people are actively attempting to support our enemies and destroy our culture. Considering that it was made by and for Americans, aka "the people whose government spends half of the world's military budget by itself", who had been waging a War On Terror aimed exclusively at brown people, it's really really kind of difficult to miss the political implications of this movie.

Where this gets interesting is that the idea that 300 isn't political or racially-charged or whatever. If 300 had been about feminism or anti-war sentiment or something, everyone would realize that it was a political movie. Everyone! Every single person who watched that movie would know it was a Political Movie. On the other hand, most people who saw 300 just thought of it as an action flick. They never questioned the idea that we should root for the Spartans against the Persians. Spartans are badass, and Persians are crazy. I'm sure most of them realized something was amiss historically when the monster-men rolled up, but how many of them do you think went home and learned about the history of the Spartans and the Persians and looked at the whole "white people versus brown people" thing and so on and so forth. How many.

Well, I'm sure a few did.

Part 3: The Manliness

The real reason we root for the Spartans is that despite all the awful shit they did, they are manly as fuck. They are badass. They kick ass. The idea of rooting for a violent person is considered "politically neutral" because "action" is such a common, yet low-key, genre. There's no political implications to Commando or Predator, right? We just want to watch a strong guy kill a bunch of other guys. That's what all guys want. It's universal. Look back on Beowulf or Achilles or Hercules - they were unambiguously heroic, right?

But we're not crazy, either. We don't just murder anyone for the hell of it. We, like the American Government, only want to kill people who threaten us. We want to be violent, but we want it to be morally justified, because murder is wrong and bad. We want to kill, but we want to do it in self-defense. So we dream of that moment when someone steps up to the plate so we can totally ruin them. At least 1464 people on the internet share this dream, according to the top comment on this post. The Spartans, in particular, are fighting for Our Freedoms. They're Our Troops, as it were. Their bloodshed is implicitly connected to your continued freedom-having status, despite any analysis that says otherwise. You can't stop the killing because if that happens then we're not free anymore. You monster.

It is made explicitly clear that the majority of Persians are slave-soldiers, fighting only because of the crack of whips on their back and fear of the retribution of their God-Emperor. Yet all this really means is that they're incompetent, a flailing army of cowards and conscripts driven towards the meat-grinder of the Spartan phalanx (and then later the Spartan freestyle murder competition) to die horrific and undignified deaths. No sympathy is garnered for them despite them being forced into this by a power far beyond their control. The Spartans never make offers to accept defection. The Persians are never humanized despite being the victims of the story. They exist to serve as a group of people that it is okay for the Spartans to kill, under the reasoning that the Spartans are outnumbered, and thus are allowed to resort to any measures.

I'd like to pause briefly and compare this to Metal Gear Rising. In MGR, the "non-lethal" options of previous MGS games have essentially been removed. Sure, you can cut off a person's arm or leg and eventually they'll leave rather than fight you to the death, but there's no "shock sword" or anything like that until you've already beaten the game once. Enemies will constantly taunt you and attack you; later, during a guilt-trip sequence, this is attributed to nanomachines. Inside they are human, afraid and vulnerable, and Raiden is made to feel bad for killing them. Rather than leading him to develop a method to take down enemies without killing them, Raiden simply activates his latent "super-asshole" mode, which gives him a hilarious growly voice.

In the hands of a capable player, it would be simple for Raiden to take down enemies without killing them. Attacking their weapons, for example. Using a weapon that isn't lethal, but makes it harder to take enemies down. Avoiding enemies altogether. So on and so forth. Raiden's power is great, and that's why it's supposed to be fun to play as him - but great power comes with great responsibility. Raiden is so overpowered compared to the enemies he fights that it would be child's play for him to take down enemies in a non-lethal fashion, but the game does not provide any apart from de-limbing them. Thus we are reassured that Raiden has to kill these guys, and because they're assholes, he's morally obligated to do so.


Now think about how many people thought that Rorschach from Watchmen was a good and reasonable character.

Action movies and games and so on don't turn people into murderers. But on the other hand there is a latent culture of violence that really wants to be unleashed. It expresses itself through wars, air strikes, and "anti-terror" operations. It expresses itself through police brutality and the death penalty. It expresses itself through a huge military budget combined with constant complaints about far smaller programs like health care or food stamps. It expresses itself through an ongoing cultural fascination with vigilantes, even when they're entitled rich kids like Bruce Wayne or Tony Stark. It expresses itself through the basic idea of "I want to do violence because violence is cool, but I need to find someone to do it against that's okay to hurt".

People don't think these things are political. They think the idea of challenging them is political. The status quo is normal, not political.

Politics, my friends, is everything. Everything you do is politics. The act of living your life is politics. Politics may mean the difference between whether or not you are capable of living your life. Racism is politics, even when it's academic for one group of people and unavoidable for another. Sexism is politics. LGBT affairs are politics. Violence is political. Jail is political. Budgets are political. Values are political.

Games aren't inherently political, of course. Neither are sports. But as soon as you throw a narrative over it, and establish a Good Guy and a Bad Guy, it becomes political. The Greeks would make dating sims where you find a young boy to fondle, and they wouldn't think of that as political - they'd think of it as normal. The Romans would make bawdy games about slave-rape and call each other Bottoms over their headsets (Romans accepted male homosexuality, but it was considered shameful to "take it" - Julius Caesar himself was dogged by accusations of the act). Culture is defined by normalcy; cultural relativity is defined by re-examining what "normal" means. The things that you think are Fine and Okay and Not Political are things that future generations may revile you for. Or they might think you're not hardcore enough. Who can tell with future generations.

The purpose of 300 is to tell a story that appeals to Americans. It does so by making its protagonists unrealistically white and freedom-driven, and it does so by making its antagonists weak, simpering, pagan, and Brown. It tells a story of violence that we are meant to agree with, because it is violence in defense of our Liberties and our Rights. And it kills a shitload of people, because that's fun, and cool, and we love it.