Tuesday, August 11

Ya Just Can't Beat The Classics, Vol. XIV

LAST month sometime I was flipping channels while just about to crash, and I stumbled onto the last fifteen minutes of The History Channel's History of Sparta and Those Cute Leather Miniskirts Their Buffed and Oiled Half-Naked Warriors Wore which, I'm thinking, had been produced to coincide with the release of The 300, the remarkable piece of deafening cinematic drivel Richard Roeper of the Chicago Sun-Times called "the Citizen Kane of cinematic graphic novels", apparently because both movies are about the performance of symbolic oral sex.*

Note that, so far as we can tell, Roeper did not go outside and throw himself in front of a CTA train upon completing that sentence, which, for us, will forever mean there isn't enough public transportation in Chicago.

And I'm half-watching, half-falling asleep; they've made it to Thermopylae, the climax, if you will, and suddenly I see Professor Victor Davis Tiberius Drusus Germanicus Hanson. And not just that (he had, after all, penned the Introduction to the book, which is the Anna Karenina of comics); I hear him say:
(it would be a) terrible thing. The noise of people screaming, people defecating, people urinating, people falling down, people being trampled, spears breaking...

and I don't think I need to mention that about halfway through the thing I was wide awake, and reaching for the controls so I could record it just to get the quote.

And, okay, it's edited; they pull in a bunch of people with teaching positions and cut what is said to fit the way the story is to be told. And I don't really want to make too much of the fact that the man's a political lunatic; to me the salient curiosity of Victor Davis King Emmanuel Mmmbop Hanson is that he holds a university teaching position while publishing Simple Moral Lessons You Can Make Up From Military History over and over again. Still, it wasn't a voice-double making with the poo and pee comments, and while gore and mire are a very real part of the experience of war--even war as imagined by people whose sole experience of it comes from rewriting Herodotus, and who passed on the opportunity to foul their own skivvies when the chance came--well, urination? People urinating around me describes most of my Saturday nights from 1971-1977, and much of the rest of those weeks as well.

Anyway, I just rediscovered the thing on the DVR list, and watched it last night, and while Professor Hanson's comments, if any, on the fact that about a third of the Spartan lad's training was likely spent as a human scabbard for an older man's weapon, they did quote him on Bizarre Spartan marital customs:
So we do have incidents--very strange incidents--where men invite younger men, who they think are better than they are, to have relations with their wives...

Which, dammit, was never the story of a single one of my Saturday nights, but which, despite the general deflation of age, we will note that if you, a Professor of Ancient History, find this "very strange" you might wanna stick with the fecal material. Which, no doubt, you will.

*Do I have to explain this?


James Stripes said...

You oughta read VD Hanson's Carnage and Culture if for no other reason than I'd like to see the string of expletives it would inspire.

One little quibble with your facts: VDH is at the Hoover Institute. Is that really a teaching position? I thought it more of a so-called right-wing think tank where they pay him to write books and articles and even a couple of blogs. It might be that they let him teach an occasional class (I'm not sure on this point), but teaching is not central to the mission of the Institute.

Shay said...

One of the side effects of sudden death is the loosening of the sphincter muscles. When ya gotta go, ya gotta go.

Doghouse Riley said...

The program identified him as a Professor of History, Cal State Fresno; his Wiki says he held the position "until recently". I don't hold you or your profession accountable, Dr. Stripes. Really.

MR Bill said...

Dude, I so want you to explain the symbolic presentation of oral sex in that unites Citizen Kane and 300...\
I'll get popcorn.

Doghouse Riley said...

Sorry, MR Bill, but you won't have time. Charles Foster Kane dies with Rosebud on his lips; rosebud is rumored to have been Wm. Randolph Hearst's pet name for Marion Davies' love button. As to the oral sex quotient of 300, do I have to explain it?

MR Bill said...

300 was pretty much the gayest movie ever made, behind Top Gun.
And thanx. I never would have known.

Brendan said...

@James Stripes:

so-called right-wing think tank

Actually, I think that's better put as "right-wing so-called think tank."

LittlePig said...

Olives and dates are full of good ol' soluble fiber, so I imagine during a hard day of oiled-up slashing a gent might have to say "King's X, Xerces old boy, I'm afraid I have to break for the loo..."