The Missing Points in 300


I never intended to watch the controversial semi fiction movie: 300.  But yesterday, when I dropped my daughter and her friends at Magic Mountain, I had a few hours to spare before taking them back home.  It was raining, and I was not in a reading mood.  So I did not even look at a couple of exciting books I had with me. 


I went to a nearby shopping mall browsing in different stores until I noticed a movie theatre.  Believe me it was the first time in such occasions when I did not have to make a decision which one should I watch.  It had to be the infamous 300.  The question was whether I should pay $8.50 for a movie against my historical identity.  I thought it was pathetic.  I am already paying many fold taxes in this great land of democracy that is in effect financing unnecessary wars one of which they plan against my own motherland.


Well, that is how it works here.  In a discussion about this same movie, I mentioned how devious it is that all they are looking for is publicity.  It does not matter whether you are against it or not.  Publicity is simply a marketing tool.  It makes people paying for it because they want to see it for themselves.  A classic example is Mohammad Ali, the old boxing champion.  He was controversial and divisive amongst boxing fans.  They either loved him or hated him.  So neither group would have missed his games making his financiers laugh at them all the way to the bank!


Anyway, I joined only 14 other people who watched it in that particular time of the day.  The guy in the front row of mine was so exited about it, and when it was over we had a little chat about it. Here is what I remember about it in writing format:


John:  That was a great movie.  Wasn’t it?

Mohamad:  How so?

John:  Great special effect.  It was all made in a warehouse.

Mohamad:  Yes, I was told a major portion of it was made in a warehouse.  BTW, I am Mohamad.

John:  Nice to meet you, I am John.  Where are you from?

Mohamad:  I am from Iran.  I am Persian.  (I immediately regretted it, because I thought it would definitely affect the conversation one way or the other).  Then I continued:  What do you think about the story?

John:  I think it was good too.  It showed how barbarians … oops…

Mohamad:  It is okay, go ahead.

John:  Sorry, I did not mean to offend you.

Mohamad:  It is okay (Could I say that when I was really offended?), but who is barbarian?  Do you think the guy who pushes a group of messengers and diplomats in the well is anymore civilized?  How do you think any emperor would have reacted to such barbarism no matter what the message was?

John:  I never thought of that.

Mohamad:  That is unfortunate because movies are indeed misleading.  Most of them tell you the truth, but in a way you never get it.  For example, a similar scene is when Persians surrounded Spartans.  Persians could have killed Spartans (as they did it eventually) or put them in chain (like it is the case in almost every single historical movie I remember) and harangue them.  But, they did not.  Persians offered them a way out.  Then again Spartans killed the messenger on spot.


Obviously, Xerxes was expanding his empire, but he was not interested in bloodshed that is something so noble we cannot say about Bush and his cabal of war profiteers two and a half millennium later…

John:  Sorry to interrupt you, but I have to pickup my son from school.  Can I have your business card?  I like to continue this discussion later.


I usually do not carry my business card with me, but fortunately I did have one in my wallet.  So I handed it to him.  He looked at it and said:  Steve?  I thought you are Mohamad.  I said:  Right, Mohamad is a sacred religious name I was given by my parents; it is not even Persian.  Steve is the nickname of my late son I took after him for my business.  That is one tiny indication of how receptive we Persians are to all different cultures.

John:  I am sorry to hear about your son.  I have to go now, but I will call you soon (he did not say later).

Mohamad:  Sure.


I did not get his business card, and I do not have his number to call him, but if he ever calls me, I have a lot more to share with him.  Let’s just hope, he does.  Even if he does not, I am sure he would think twice before he would ever call anyone barbarian.  I read it in his eyes, and his gestures.  I just think he was offended by my remark about Bush and his gang of warmongers.


As far as the movie is considered, in my humble opinion, it was indeed a distortion of historical records that was most likely intended to offend Persians in this psychological war against Iranians.  And I fell right into this yet another trap.  It was not Persians against Islam or Arabs.  They have already tried and failed that.  This time it was crudely designed between two peers of ancient civilizations. 


The materialistic war profiteers are losing ground at home.  Politicians are already ridiculed by public (that is why the Spartan queen kills the politician right in front of other council members).  However, there is a plan B.  You must have heard the slogan of supporting our troops.  Yes, let them get killed so that the like of Halliburton and Bechtel reap the benefit.  That is why nobility is faked for Spartans who did not even consult the great council of their time in such an important issue of WAR. 


If you see no parallel between the subliminal message in the movie and what is going on in our own time, then blame me for conspiracy theory.  A logical inference is to compare American imperialism with that of Persian Empire, and Spartans with IRI of our time.  This was obfuscated in the movie simply because America is only interested in spreading democracy except for countries under the rule of its own puppets!  Nonetheless, I am glad such a comparison is not the issue; otherwise, the benign Persian Empire (in respect to savage warlords of its time) would have been offended even more!  Furthermore, Persians and Greeks are supposed to open up an old wound.  American Imperialism is too gracious to become involved!



Mohamad Purqurian

April 21, 2007