Shorter Victor Davis Hanson:
I welcome the triumphant return of comic book standards of right and wrong in this degenerate age, a time when irritating postmodernist spoilsports constantly insist that moral questions might have complex answers.
He’s talking about the film 300, based on the Frank Miller graphic novel, which is of course the original source for the famous Herodotus version of Thermopylai. Though he begins by noting that “the movie has nothing to do with Iraq or contemporary events, at least in the direct sense,” VDH can’t resist ending with this gem:
Ultimately the film takes a moral stance, Herodotean in nature: there is a difference, an unapologetic difference between free citizens who fight for eleutheria and imperial subjects who give obeisance. We are not left with the usual postmodern quandary ‘who are the good guys’ in a battle in which the lust for violence plagues both sides. In the end, the defending Spartans are better, not perfect, just better than the invading Persians, and that proves good enough in the end. And to suggest that ambiguously these days has perhaps become a revolutionary thing in itself.
If you want to preen yourself on being a vessel of Manly Fortitude because you can compare your virtuousness favorably with that of terrorists, and if you’re thrilled that you can find a rooting interest sufficient to justify getting off on a film where buff naked manly men chop each others’ rippling pecs into salsa, you know, Rock On!
But that hardly makes for “revolutionary” politics or even aesthetics. That’s pro wrestling fandom. Which I don’t have a problem with, really, unless those prone to such fantasies somehow come to think that they have developed Profound Insights into how real wars with real weapons and real blood actually work. Then, we just may have issues…
(I think VDH meant “unambiguously” in the last sentence of that quote, BTW, or else his point about “postmodernism” makes even less sense.)
(Posted also at Whiskey Fire)