Even the great ones can fall to teh wingnuttery

11 03 2007

“300″

Interesting article at AlterNet about “300”, the largely CGI movie based on Frank Miller’s book of the epic Spartan stand at Thermopylae, where 300 Spartans held their ground against unimaginable numbers of Persians.

If you’ve kept up with Miller’s decline into a black-and-white understanding of human complexities, you won’t be surprised to learn that

300 will likely be a masturbatory experience for the Ann Coulter crowd.
Cruel, militaristic Sparta is the ideal; weak, artsy Athens is mocked,
particularly in a scene where Athenian soldiers are revealed to be
potters, sculptors, poets. Brave men who leave what they love to defend
their country? Bah! Weaklings, according to this flick. As a tribute to
a particular world view, 300 could play on a double bill with Leni
Riefenstahl’s Triumph of the Will.

It’s actually pretty sad for me, since I used to be a big fan of Frank Miller. I loved The Dark Knight Returns because it was so edgy, and really breathed life into the Batman myth at a time when Batman spent at least a dozen panels per comic getting in touch with his inner child (or sobbing, I forget which). Jim Aparo (aarrgh!) was drawing Batman with only two facial expressions: shocked and shocked to the core. Compare Aparo’s paint-by-numbers art with the range and gritty realism of Miller’s pencils, and the choice is clear. And Miller’s razor-sharp dialogue brought the noir into superhero comics.

But over the years he’s slowly but surely revealed himself for the misanthrope he is. All his characters are Manichean and stiff, and Sin City the movie was the worse for it. I shudder to think of what 300 is like.

Update: It turns out Miller has been veering hard right since 9/11. Check out this post (1/07) on Little Green Footballs.

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2 responses

11 03 2007
uncle joe mccarthy

wait,

just because miller waxes poetic about the flag and patriotism he is now a wingnut?

sin city was an ode to film noir…it was noir on roids

300 was miller’s attempt to make a cinematic comic….it was apolitical, and remains so today

so the denizens of lgf wish to embrace miller as one of their own…so be it…that will only increase the film’s profits

but i highly doubt that the man who created “give me liberty” and opined in dark knight that superman was a stooge of the american government, suddenly veered right as a result of 9/11…he is too intelligent to do that

i

11 03 2007
plum

Joe, did you listen to that NPR interview at that LGF link? A rough transcript of some bits:

our country is up against an existential foe that knows exactly what it wants, and we’re behaving like a collapsing empire. All collapsing empires collapse from within.

Ok, let’s talk about who we’re up against, because for some reason nobody ever talks about them or the sixth century barbarism they represent.

Where I would fault President Bush the most is that in the wake of 9/11 he didn’t mobilise our military … against our common foe.

[I explain my thoughts on this] mainly in historical terms… The country that fought Okinawa and Iwo Jima is now spilling precious blood but so little in comparison, it’s almost ridiculous, ant the stakes are almost as high as they were then. Mostly, a lot of people say, why did we attack Iraq, then?

Well, we’re taking on an idea. In the same way that nobody questioned it when we took on Japan after Pearl Harbour.

Q: But [Japan] did declare war on us, right?

MILLER: Yeah, well so did Iraq.

From the “existential” threat to the conflation of Iraq with 9/11 to the comparison of the war on terrorism with WWII to the depiction of “the enemy” as composed wholly of barbarians to the criticism of Bush for not being bloodthirsty enough, Miller hits all the high points of modern American right-wing authoritarianism. More importantly, he recites talking points that he appears to have lifted straight from blogs like LGF. Does he read wingnut sites? From this interview, you’d have say it’s more than likely.

This interview also makes it quite clear that Miller is highly political, and of the authoritarian stripe.

You say that the anti-government Miller of Dark Knight is too intelligent to have veered right. Read that graphic novel again and compare it to “300”—which I regret having wasted money on—and you’ll see that the characterization in the first work is far superior to “300”. These days, Miller is no more than right-wing agitprop.

That’s my real beef with him: he’s not producing art anymore but glossy political pamphlets.

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