No. 118 (essentialsaltes) wrote,
No. 118

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]:

It chanced that at this time the Lacedaemonians held the outer guard, and were seen by the spy, some of them engaged in gymnastic exercises, others combing their long hair. At this the spy greatly marvelled, but he counted their number, and when he had taken accurate note of everything, he rode back quietly; for no one pursued after him, nor paid any heed to his visit. So he returned, and told Xerxes all that he had seen.

[7.209] Upon this, Xerxes, who had no means of surmising the truth - namely, that the Spartans were preparing to do or die manfully - but thought it laughable that they should be engaged in such employments, sent and called to his presence Demaratus the son of Ariston, who still remained with the army. When he appeared, Xerxes told him all that he had heard, and questioned him concerning the news, since he was anxious to understand the meaning of such behaviour on the part of the Spartans. Then Demaratus said -

"I spake to thee, O king! concerning these men long since, when we had but just begun our march upon Greece; thou, however, didst only laugh at my words, when I told thee of all this, which I saw would come to pass. Earnestly do I struggle at all times to speak truth to thee, sire; and now listen to it once more. These men have come to dispute the pass with us; and it is for this that they are now making ready. 'Tis their custom, when they are about to hazard their lives, to adorn their heads with care.

Fuck that, let's have a war-rhinoceros!
Tags: book, film

  • Less, the something or other to Paris, Red Sparrow

    On the international business trip of mystery, I finished reasing Less, the Pulitzer Prize winning novel by Andrew Sean Greer (and also a NYT/PBS Now…

  • Anza Borrego Trip

    Dr. Pookie and I travelled out to Anza Borrego Desert State Park to see the superbloom of desert wildflowers, much like our 2005 trip to Death…

  • DC

    I went for a quick business trip to Washington DC. Pictures here. The flight out was pretty rocky. Coming in for landing at Dallas, the lady next…

  • Post a new comment


    Anonymous comments are disabled in this journal

    default userpic

    Your reply will be screened

    Your IP address will be recorded