It’s 300 week here at Stately Beat Manor! Finally! The graphic novel is currently at #14 on Amazon, a healthy spot to be sure. While this weekend the LA TImes gave it the royal treatment while looking at t’s frankly stunning technical achievements, there are still some textual matters to clear up.

For instance, the website AfterElton, wonders about Frank Miller’s gay themes:

Several things are cause for concern in the graphic novel and, if included faithfully, the movie.

The first is the way the Persian king Xerxes is portrayed in the graphic novel. Continuing a shameful tradition of Persians as perverts, Miller gives us a king who’s all piercings and useless fashion accessories, his head and faced shaved, combining to create an air of effeminacy. In comparison, Leonidas is hypermasculine and appears to be stereotypically straight, with broad shoulders and a full beard and mustache. Except for a predator’s tooth strung on a leather thong around his neck, no jewelry adorns his physique, only weapons and a few pieces of armor.

Judging from stills made available from the film, the movie version looks to be every bit as problematic.

(Having seen the movie we can say: Yes.)

The NY Times cuts to the heart of the political debate that is sure to rise up here and there, even as they cheekily title their piece That Film’s Real Message? It Could Be: ‘Buy a Ticket’:

“Is George Bush Leonidas or Xerxes?” one of them asked.

The questioner, by Mr. Snyder’s recollection, insisted that Mr. Bush was Xerxes, the Persian emperor who led his force against Greek’s city states in 480 B.C., unleashing an army on a small country guarded by fanatical guerilla fighters so he could finish a job his father had left undone. More likely, another reporter chimed in, Mr. Bush was Leonidas, the Spartan king who would defend freedom at any cost.

[snip]Spontaneous debate on the Internet and around the office can be a film’s best friend when, as with a picture like “The Passion of the Christ,” even potential negatives, like accusations of anti-Semitic undertones, feed curiosity.

“Whatever the question is, it’s wonderful for the movie,” said Peter Sealey, a former Columbia Pictures executive who is now an adjunct professor of marketing at Claremont Graduate University’s Drucker School of Management.


  1. Darn. Having body piercings makes you gay? If I’d known that, I would have never ever… darn, too late. Now I am stuck with finding a male lover. Darn.

    And a shaved head and a shaved face makes you effiminate? Please… that whole macho image just came up in full force in the 50s. As for broad shoulders, a beard and running around almost nekkid as a sign for heterosexuality: the guy writing this has apparently never known the gay concept of the Leathermen.

  2. Wait: piercings and useless fashion accessories, his head and faced shaved = perverted? That sounds awfully curmudgeonly.

    The funny thing is that piercings and ornamentation was pretty common in the Ancient Near East. While I haven’t looked at Persia much, other older ANE cultures were all about piercings. That golden calf, that the Israelites made to piss off God and Moses at Sinai was made of the piercing jewelry of the people (men and women alike).