April 8th, 2007


Beagles & Spartans

I finished Peter S. Beagle's collection The Line Between. How dare these stories be merely good? Unremittingly well-written and above average. "Two Hearts" won the Hugo, but I didn't think it rose above the above-average average of the anthology. I'm not sure if I'm praising with faint damn or damning with faint praise.

Becca and I saw 300 in IMAX. Boy was that a disappointment. Yes, the swords got stabbed into people and the blood went pssssssssssssh in slow motion. Yes, the Oracle makes up for any number of shirtless men with erect nipples I was forced to endure. Nevertheless, even though I knew going in that it was not going to be big on historical accuracy, you would think the screenwriters would take efforts to make the story more better instead of more dumber. Leonidas explains quite clearly the tactical advantages of fighting in a tight hoplite phalanx in a narrow defile when facing an overwhelming number. Yet, almost their first move is to push the Persians out the end of the defile and start spreading out onto the open ground.

And you can just imagine how Dr. Pookie felt, since she has a doctorate in hard-nippled hoplites. The film was her choice, since she felt obligated to see it, but I think she was in a lot more pain than I. After all, the 'real' Oracle (as reported by Herodotus) didn't demand that Leonidas stay home during Lacedemonian Easter; rather it gave Leonidas a choice similar to Achilles':

O ye men who dwell in the streets of broad Lacedaemon!
Either your glorious town shall be sacked by the children of Perseus,
Or, in exchange, must all through the whole Laconian country
Mourn for the loss of a king, descendant of great Heracles.

But even more, I think she missed out seeing the Spartans combing each others' hair before battle, in order to look their best in death [7.208-209]:
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Fuck that, let's have a war-rhinoceros!