Dan Savage on the film “300”

City Pages – Savage Love
With nothing but time on my hands this week, I slipped out of the office and went to the movies. Have you seen 300 yet? It’s about a handful of lightly armed ancient Greeks—the Spartans—who take on the mighty and massive Persian army. Some feel the film is homophobic; some feel it’s a conservative, pro-war piece of agitprop.

Homophobic? It’s Ann Coulter on a meth binge.

The Persian army is an armed gay-pride parade, a threat to all things decent and, er, Greek. The king of the Spartans—among the most notorious boy-fuckers in all of ancient history—dismisses Athenian Greeks as weak-willed “philosophers and boy lovers.” The Persian emperor? An eight-foot-tall black drag queen—mascara, painted-on eyebrows, pink lip gloss. Emperor RuPaul is positively obsessed with men kneeling in front of him. Why gay up the Persians? So that straight boys in the theater can identify with the Spartan king and his 300 soldiers—all of whom appear to have been recruited from and outfitted by the International Male catalog.

What isn’t up for debate is the film’s politics. The only times the Persian army doesn’t look like a gay-pride parade in hell, it looks like a crowd of madly chanting Islamic militants. And if the Spartan king has to break the Spartan law to defend Spartan freedoms? Well, sometimes a king’s gotta do what a king’s gotta do. Because, as the queen of Sparta points out, freedom isn’t free. And, yes, she uses exactly those words. George Bush is going to blow a load in his pants when he sees this movie.

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